Diego Simeone will look to earn his first league victory over Barcelona since taking charge of Atletico Madrid in 2011 when the two title contenders meet on Saturday.
3. Goalkeeper and Defenders
Jan Oblak (GK) – Since arriving from Benfica to replace now Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, Oblak has grown into one of the finest shot-stoppers in the world.
Juanfran (RB) – A veteran right-back and a trusted lieutenant of Simeone on the pitch, the 33-year-old is still an ever-present in the side and a great defender in his own right.
Stefan Savic (CB) – Deemed surplus to requirements at Premier League side Manchester City after just one season at the Etihad, Savic’s time with Fiorentina has honed his defensive skills and has turned into a dependable centre-half under Simeone’s guidance.
Lucas Hernandez (CB) – One of the brightest defensive prospects in the game, Hernandez is equally capable of playing centrally as he is on the left. That’s good for Atleti right now, because Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez look like missing out with injury.
Filipe Luis (LB) – After spending just a season with Chelsea, the Brazil international returned to his natural home of Atletico and is once again proving to be one of the best left-backs around.
Koke (LM) – An Atletico player since the age of eight, Koke bleeds red and white. A warrior in the mould of his manager, the Spain international gives his absolute best in every game and is one of the first names on the team sheet.
Rodri (CM) – An astute acquisition from Villarreal, the 6’3 central midfielder belies his height with wonderful technique and skill with his feet. A towering presence in midfield, Rodri’s game changes with the partner he has alongside him. With Saul likely to start instead of the more defensive minded Thomas Partey on Saturday, Rodri will likely stay slightly deeper.
Saul (CM) – A deceptively quick dribbler, Saul’s future in the game may be as a goalscoring midfielder. The Spaniard has shown a knack of scoring important goals in his young career and will hope to do the same when they take on Barcelona.
Angel Correa (RM) – Keeping out summer signing Thomas Lemar from the side, Correa’s pace and direct running can often be a valuable outlet to Atletico when they find themselves under defensive pressure.
Antoine Griezmann (ST) – The absolute star of the team, the French World Cup winner raises both the profile and quality of his Atletico side whenever he plays. After both club and international success this year, Griezmann will look to add to his La Liga tally of three goals when they arguably face the biggest test of the season against the Catalan giants.
Diego Costa (ST) – Just like his Brazilian teammate Filipe Luis, Costa has returned to Atletico after a spell at Stamford Bridge. Whilst he was a goalscoring machine in his time with the Spanish club first time around, the goals have significantly dried up since his return. However, despite not scoring at all in La Liga this season, Costa retains the manager’s confidence and trust and the game against Barcelona may just be the platform in which the divisive striker takes centre stage.