The 2020-21 La Liga season has had no shortage of drama, and fans got to see a lot of surprising yet shocking results. The Big TWO slipups have helped Atleti open a ten-point gap on the top of the table with a game in hand. Sevilla have also continued their good form from last season. So we take a look at the season so far and the most influential players for the big four. We also predict what could be in store for them during the remainder of the season.
After finishing 17 points of the top spot last season, Atléti have reigned supreme during the first half of the season. Simeone’s tactics have been on point, and his flexibility with formations has been complemented well by the extremely versatile players at his disposal. Defensive stability has been the team’s backbone, and with several big players, including Joao Felix and Ángel Correa, stepping up in attack, Atléti have been spectacular.
There have been many spectacular performances from the Los Colchoneros players, but none have influenced their season more than Luiz Suárez. The Uruguayan is the top scorer in La Liga with14 goals and has shown his previous employers that he still is the “El Pistolero.” With his contributions, the 34-year-old has been the biggest bargain of the summer transfer window. The arrival of Moussa Dembele will further bolster Atleti’s attack. Could we be looking at a future star?
Now Atléti would be looking to avoid any slipups and secure their first league title since 2013-14. They would look to wrap up the title as soon as possible and go as deep in the Champions League as possible. With an eagerly awaited tie with Chelsea around the corner, they would want to take advantage of their opponent’s problems and go through comfortably.
After a horrifying start to the season, including defeats to both the capital clubs, Barca have gained a lot of ground since the turn of the year. They have won five on the bounce for the first time this season and are now up to second on the table. The club struggled on the creative front after the injury to Ansu Fati, who was by far their best player during the early parts of the season. But Koeman has been able to fit the players in their preferred positions in recent weeks, and hence the results show.
The clinical performances of Messi are quite normal for the Barca faithful, but the good performances of Antoine Griezmann have been a plus point for the Blaugrana. The Frenchman has contributed with goals and assists on a regular basis. The manager has stood by his promise of reviving Griezmann in for not of goals. He would be hoping to keep his scoring touch for the remainder of the season.
Barcelona would be hoping to continue their good run and chase down Atléti at the top of the table. If not, win the Liga, but they would want to consolidate the second spot and finish ahead of their fiercest rivals. After beating Granada in the Copa Del Rey, Barca would hope to secure a record 31st crown. They would also want to tie down their Argentine Magician to a new contract and prevent him from leaving the club on a free.
The defending Spanish champions have had a rollercoaster of a season so far. After narrowly escaping a humiliating Champions League group stage exit, Los Blancos managed to put together a strong run in La Liga. However, they seem to have been faltering since the inception of the new year. Two wins from their last five league games coupled with a shock Copa del Rey exit at the hands of third division side Alcoyano, the crisis bells are certainly ringing for Zidane. Zizou will hope he can lead Real out of this bad run. Otherwise, he may soon be out of a job.
Zidane has returned to his old guard this season, with players like Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, and Dani Carvajal all putting in key performances throughout. However, one man stands head and shoulders above them: Sergio Ramos. The fact that Real have lost all five games he has missed further highlights how crucial he is to them. The former World Cup winner has been in imperious form, and his influence makes the entire team better.
Real will be hoping that Ramos can steady the ship and give them some consistency, especially in La Liga. Los Blancos will be aiming to finish at least as runners up this season, ahead of arch-rivals Barcelona. However, with Atlético Madrid seemingly running away with the league and no longer in the Cup, Real’s only hope of salvaging a trophyless season is the Champions League. An interesting tie with Atalanta awaits…
Sevilla have been an interesting watch so far this season. They play an attractive brand of attacking football and have been incredibly consistent of late. In fact, Sevilla have just one loss in their last 16 games across all competitions. Lopetegui’s men have qualified for the round of 16 of the Champions League and are in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
One of Sevilla’s success’s key elements has been down to the collective performances of their players. The team have had multiple stars stepping up this season, with Jules Koundé, Youssef En-Nesyri, and Lucas Ocampos in particular, performing well. Additionally, Sevilla have now signed Papu Gómez from Atalanta. They will hope he can contribute to their season effectively.
Labeled as Champions League dark horses earlier this season, Sevilla can certainly live up to that name. A disjointed Borussia Dortmund awaits them in the round of 16, and if they manage to keep their current form going, they can certainly give the big boys a run for their money in the quarters. In the Cup, Sevilla will be hoping to go all the way, especially as both Madrid clubs have been knocked out. Consistency in the league will be the aim, with finishing in the top four to secure Champions League football for next season a priority.