Atlético Madrid could move 10 points clear with a game in hand over Real Madrid on Sunday afternoon, if they beat Cádiz in the south of Spain. But they will have to do it without Yannick Carrasco and Mario Hermoso after the two tested positive for coronavirus.
The duo missed training on Friday after returning inconclusive PCR tests and it was confirmed Saturday they had tested positive. Both players are isolating in their homes and are following protocols laid out by LaLiga to ensure they return as soon as possible.
Carrasco and Hermoso are the latest two rojiblancos to get the virus. Luis Suárez, Lucas Torreira, José Giménez, Šime Vrsaljko, Ángel Correa, Renan Lodi and Diego Simeone have all contracted the virus in the last several months.
The two 2019/20 arrivals have emerged as key pieces in Simeone’s new system. Carrasco plays as a wing-back, and Hermoso as the left centre-back in the three-man defence that has revolutionised Atlético. Last weekend against Valencia, Simeone moved the Belgian to right wing-back in Vrsaljko’s place, the Croatian having started instead of the banned Kieran Trippier. Lodi came in to play as the left wing-back, and it worked well for the second half.
Meanwhile, we should see Felipe, Giménez and Stefan Savić as the three central defenders on Sunday at Cádiz. The gaditanos sit 12th in LaLiga with 24 points, and Atlético beat them 4-0 in November.
Atlético don’t play again until Monday, Feb. 8 against Celta Vigo, when these two most recent coronavirus casualties might be available to return.