Atletico Madrid currently occupy 4th place in La Liga following a slight dip in form back in December. With Villarreal breathing down Diego Simeone’s side’s neck for the final Champions League spot, the question is will Atleti hold them off?
With the La Liga giants suffering several injuries to key players such as Godin and Griezmann earlier this season, it will come as no surprise that Atletico Madrid currently have five players out of the side with injuries.
Now on the sidelines are Lucas Hernandez, Tiago and Augusto Fernandez, right winger Alessio Cerci and more importantly goalkeeper Jan Oblak who has kept seven clean sheets thus far but is currently out with a shoulder injury.
Alongside these injury concerns, Thomas Partey has been called up by Ghana for the African Cup of Nations; making him unavailable for selection.
A selection headache will not be made any easier for Diego Simeone with a pile of fixtures in the next two months, as Atletico continue their quests for trophies in the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League.
The Argentine tactician must be worried about a few more injuries occurring with the hectic schedule. However, with Atletico in good form at the moment, Simeone will be confident of securing a top four finish.
Madrid have notched up three consecutive league wins to keep the pressure on Barcelona, Sevilla and city rival Real Madrid; who are all above Atletico Madrid in the league.
In their next five league games, before a tantalising fixture against Barcelona (26th Feb), Atleti face three teams who are not in the top half of the league, and they will feel confident heading into these fixtures.
The tricky fixture for Atletico will be against Athletic Bilbao, who are just six points behind Madrid in the race for the all-important Champions League spot.
Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco are all in form and Madrid cannot afford to lose any of these three.
Griezmann is still the main man at Madrid despite reported interest from Manchester United, and his tricky skills still leave the Vicente Calderón astonished at how technically gifted the 25-year-old is.
The Frenchman has 12 goals in all competitions and six assists, but these stats do not even highlight how integral he is to the Madrid side.
Alongside Griezmann is Belgian midfielder Carrasco, who has thrived in his second season in Spain, contributing ten goals in all competitions and three assists.
The former Monaco man is also the subject of some interest from England, most notably Arsenal. Just as important as Griezmann and Carrasco is the stalwart in defence, Diego Godin.
The Atletico Madrid vice-captain is arguably one of the best central defenders in Europe; especially considering that Madrid have only conceded 14 goals this season in La Liga.
Godin will welcome the return of goalkeeper Jan Oblak as Atletico Madrid look to keep attacks quiet with their solid defensive attitude.
Ultimately, Atleti are in a strong enough position to keep tabs on Barcelona and should have enough to keep Villarreal off their backs.
However, with games coming thick and fast, Simeone will want to keep his players fresh and fit to pick up some silverware, either in the form of the Copa del Rey or the Champions League.