Atletico suffering without a reliable right back

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After another defensive error on Wednesday night, Levante’s opening goal in an eventual 1-1 draw, Atlético Madrid’s charge to the league title is wobbling just a tad. The Rojiblancos, with a six-point advantage and a game in hand over Real Madrid, are still in LaLiga’s driving seat.

On Saturday afternoon, these two teams will meet again at Wanda Metropolitano before Atlético flies to Bucharest for what UEFA audaciously calls a home game in the Champions League.

Anyway, from meeting one of the two with the Valencian hand, here are three talking points.

We will briefly get to Ángel Correa’s incredible miss, but this match made it clear that the return of Kieran Trippier, which is still almost two weeks away, will be most welcome and extremely necessary if the team is to achieve its goals.

For a month-plus, as Trippier finishes serving his outrageous FIFA-sponsored ban on “betting violations,” Diego Simeone has had to mix and match. Trippier’s direct substitute, Šime Vrsaljko, has not persuaded the former World Cup finalists having played just twice for 90 minutes and were hauled off on Wednesday at halftime.

On the right, Simeone decided to play Yannick Carrasco, but because of COVID-19, the Belgian lost time and is more comfortable as the left wingback. Instead, Cholo most frequently turned to Marcos Llorente, a player with the apparent physical ability to play the position, but a player who elsewhere serves the team best.

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