Antoine Griezmann will make his return to A Stadium Called Wanda on Sunday night as Barcelona get set to battle Atlético Madrid.
Griezmann will get the opposite of a rousing reception as soon as he steps on the pitch, but his is hardly the only storyline to monitor in this contest. Diego Simeone refused to comment on the Frenchman when asked, knowing that much more is at stake.
The Argentine has never overseen a league win over Barcelona, though he has come agonizingly close the past two seasons. Atlético held 1-0 leads into the last 10 minutes of this fixture in both seasons, but conceded late both seasons in 1-1 draws.
A victory would bring Los Rojiblancos level on points with the league champions and move them within three points of Real Madrid. Atleti have not defeated Barça in the capital since Feb. 2010 — and that remains the last time the mattress makers beat the blaugrana in LaLiga.
José Giménez returned to training this week, but he has lost his race to be fit for this match. Stefan Savić remains out, too. Meanwhile, Barcelona will be down four players — three due to injury.
Oblak; Trippier, Felipe, Hermoso, Saúl; Thomas, Herrera, Correa, Koke; Félix, Morata.
2-1 Atlético. Simeone said after Tuesday’s loss at Juventus that “a game with goals” is coming. What if it’s this one?
I don’t have much faith in Atlético’s ability to keep a clean sheet against Ernesto Valverde’s front three, but the visitors’ defense isn’t getting nearly enough attention for its own leakiness. Both sides have conceded in six of the past seven games — Barça have made up for it by having Lionel Messi available.
Every year I convince myself Atlético will finally win this fixture, and every year I’m wrong. But how very Atleti it would be to struggle for weeks — though show incremental improvement recently — then pull off a huge win like this.
My record on the season: 10-9
How to watch
Date Dec. 1, 2019
Location: Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Kickoff time: 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST
Opposition site: Barça Blaugranes
Available TV/streaming: Movistar Partidazo (Spain), Premier Sports 2 (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), Eleven Sports 1 (Portugal), DIRECTV Sports (Argentina), ESPN (Brazil), Blue To Go Video Everywhere (Mexico), QQ Sports Live (China)