Reigning La Liga champions Atletico Madrid will hope to return to winning ways when they lock horns with CA Osasuna on Saturday.

After a weeklong hiatus, La Liga is set to resume this weekend, with defending champions Atletico Madrid looking to restart their campaign with a win over CA Osasuna in front of their home fans at Wanda Metropolitano.

Diego Simeone’s men have endured a rough patch lately, having failed to win in three of their last four league matches. They have also lost to Liverpool twice in the Champions League. The poor run of form has seen them slip to fourth position in the league table, with Los Colchoneros trailing leaders Real Sociedad by five points.

However, they do have a game in hand, and a win this weekend could be imperative, as they look to keep up with the likes of Sociedad, Real Madrid and Sevilla in the title race.

For their opponents, it is a matter of finding a rhythm after a poor run of form involving two defeats and two draws in the last four league matches. Osasuna had initially enjoyed a brisk start to the new season, but their recent run of results have derailed the progress, with the visitors hoping to avoid another defeat that will throw them out of the top half of the league table.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their highly-awaited encounter at Wanda Metropolitano this weekend.

Team News & Tactics

Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone isn’t expected to make any stylistic changes from his team, despite the return of influential creative players like Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente and Thomas Lemar. He should persist with his flexible 3-4-3 formation that can effortlessly interchange itself depending on the game situation.

The back three should consist of Stefan Savic, Jose Gimenez and Mario Hermoso as usual. The latter will be given the freedom to move forward more frequently, acting as the auxiliary left-back that will look to support Yannick Carrasco on the left flank.

On the right hand side, Savic doesn’t provide such quality. And with Kieran Trippier sidelined, the onus will be on the returning Llorente to offer the creativity going forward. His excellent link-up play, coupled with his ability to whip in crosses from the wider areas could be extremely useful for the Atleti forwards.

As for the midfield, Koke and Rodrigo de Paul should take control of the double-pivot. They are expected to offer stability in midfield while they may also play a crucial role in breaking up the opposition’s build-up in the middle of the park.

Moving forward, Simeone has lately adopted the system of having an additional forward in the final third. Antoine Griezmann has been usually one to start, just behind the two centre forwards, as the Frenchman is more versatile and offers much more defensive output than most other attackers.

Griezmann may join Luis Suarez and Angel Correa to form the Atletico Madrid frontline. Having scored just one in his last three, Suarez will be desperate to be amongst the goalscorers this weekend.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Oblak; Savic, Gimenez, Hermoso; Llorente, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Griezmann, Suarez, Correa

homecrowd-formation-7fokYrkMzCKqdj0qnrUY

Osasuna

Osasuna head coach Jagoba Arrasate has largely switched between 4-1-4-1, 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3 this season. This time around, the Spaniard could opt for a 4-3-3 that gives his team numerical parity with the Atletico defence.

Embed from Getty Images

It essentially means that the presence of three forwards in Chimy Avila, Ruben Garcia and main frontman Kike Garcia could pose pressure on the Atleti back three, making it difficult for them to effortlessly play out from the back.

However, it could ask a lot of work ethic from the two fullbacks in Nacho Vidal and Manu Sanchez, as they look to deal with the marauding Atleti wingbacks. As for the central defenders, they will be tasked with the responsibility of keeping Suarez and Griezmann quiet.

The central midfielders may help out, too, with Jon Moncayola and Lucas Torro, in particular, hoping to screen the back-four, just behind Darko Brasanac, who is set to be given a more attacking role in the team.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Herrera; Vidal, D. Garcia, U. Garcia, Sanchez; Moncayola, Brasanac, Torro; Avila, K. Garcia, R. Garcia

homecrowd-formation-V6MEQTg14ukzGHpSClh4

Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid have won their last six matches against Osasuna in La Liga, scoring at least two goals in each of them (18 in total), their longest winning streak against the Navarrese in the top-flight.
  • At home, Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Osasuna in La Liga, winning all five at home under Diego Simeone. The last Osasuna away win over Atletico in the competition was a 4-2 victory in April 2009 with Abel Resino and Jose Antonio Camacho on the respective benches of both teams.
  • Osasuna have won just one of their last 30 visits to Madrid sides in La Liga, 1-0 against Leganes in August 2019 (D6 L23), failing to score in 10 of the last 13.
  • Atletico Madrid have dropped points in four of their last six La Liga matches – as many as their previous 14 games in the competition.
  • After three consecutive wins between September and October this year, Osasuna are winless in their last four games in the league, losing the last two without scoring – they have not lost three in a row without scoring in the competition since November 2016 (3).

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

SEVILLE, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 25: Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid reacts during the La Liga match between Sevilla CF and Atletico Madrid at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on February 25, 2018 in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Looking to extend his tally. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Antoine Griezmann was subject to a lot of criticism following his late return to Wanda Metropolitano. The forward’s disappointing start to the season raised fueled them further, with the player notably failing to find a single goal in his first league matches for Atletico.

However, in the last three matches, Griezmann has been involved in three goals. He has scored important goals in draws with Levante and Valencia while registering an assist in the win over Real Betis. The former Sociedad starlet will be hoping to further extend his tally as he faces Osasuna on the weekend.

His versatility and defensive output could be useful in Atletico’s second line of press. But most importantly, it is his combination play with Suarez and other attackers that could go a long way in helping Los Colchoneros secure a win in this encounter.

Prediction

Atletico Madrid 3-0 Osasuna

Atletico Madrid are the undisputed favourites in this encounter despite their shoddy form heading into the contest. They have a world-class attacking unit, and the return of some of the creative stars could boost Simeone’s offensive firepower.

Osasuna, in contrast, is currently experiencing a rough patch and have not found the target in any of their last two defeats. They might struggle to find the net this weekend as well, up against an Atletico side that has one of the best defences in Europe. As such, we are expecting a 3-0 win for Simeone’s men.

Leave A Comment...

*