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Griezmann, in the guise of Messi against Sporting


Barcelona and Atleti hit the accelerator

Barça and Atlético flexed their muscles with just four days to go before they meet in the first big match of the league season. The emergence of Atlético as credible aspirants (much more so than a side content with third place) enriches the competition. Judging by what we saw from both teams yesterday, Wednesday night’s meeting promises to be something special. Barça paraded their attacking trident, in which Messi continues to deliver so much with the minimum amount of exertion. Leganés’ initial eagerness was snuffed out by the magnificent, imposing quality of Barça’s frontline in which some observers, among them Michael Laudrup, felt Neymar needlessly overdid the swaggering and showboating.

Later yesterday evening, Atlético entertained their people with a brilliant display against Sporting, with Griezmann as leading actor. Just a short ago, the French forward stated that he too wants to eat at Messi and Cristiano’s table. Yesterday he did just that. He scored goals, set up other ones for his team mates, and dazzled. The whole Atlético team was a treasure to watch, maybe becuase this time Simeone dared to do away with his bread-and-butter, iron-and-steel model – one which wins matches but never really treats the eye. This time Koke and Saúl paired up in midfield, flanked by Gaitán and Carrasco. The result was devastating . That was why Griezmann’s movement was even better than we have seen before, and why we saw goals flying in. And needless to say, those in the crowd absolutely loved it.

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Today it’s Real Madrid’s turn; they travel to Cornellà without Bale and Cristiano - the former took a knock to his hip last Wednesday, Cristiano has flu. Fortunately though, making the trip are Lucas Vázquez, James, Morata, Isco and Asensio. All of them can restructure Madrid’s attack, whose only available member of the ‘BBC’ is Benzema, who showed he’s back at his best the other night against Sporting. Despite all of that Madrid travel to Cornellà with a certain degree of mistrust; Quique Flores continues to get his project – one based on a team brimming with experienced veterans, up and running. It’s going to be an interesting game, and more so on the back of the goal fests we witnessed yesterday in Leganés and at the Calderón.