Sports Burst - Atletico On The Edge

Reuters

 

by Tim Stannard

 

Atletico in must-win match against Villarreal to end points and goal drought in LaLiga 

 

Being seated just a few meters away from Diego Simeone at a press conference is an experience full of stress-inducing contrasts. But a tingle of glee as well. 

The main man of Atletico Madrid is generally calm and softly-spoken, in comparison to his bathroom-words, traffic-directing antics on the touchline. 

Therefore, there is the knowledge that at any moment in his discourse the Argentinean could leap over the press room desk and go full Chuck Norris on a journalist.

 

Fortunately (or unfortunately), that has yet to happen in Simeone's eight years in charge of the Rojiblancos, but the moments have certainly been getting a little tenser. 

Especially this year, with Atleti having the club's worst campaign for some time (a high bar was set, to be fair). Atletico are in sixth place, six points off the top of the table, on a run of two league wins in nine, having scored just 16 goals in 15 games this season. 

Sports Burst's math has worked out that this is around a goal a game. Not quite the expectation for a team that put nearly half of this total past Real Madrid in a single pre-season friendly. 

Thursday saw Simeone talking to the media with one brave soul suggesting that...gulp...he had lost the locker room. "In the eight years I have been here, it has been said that the group has not been with me every year," was the bullish response from the quaking questioner. 

However, there was a warning to any footballers who are chilling in a supposed transition year for the club. "Those who think that the word 'transition' leads to sunbathing and waiting for the flowers to come out don't know me," growled Simeone. 

Atletico are in action on Friday at Villarreal in arguably the biggest and best clash of the LaLiga weekend. 

Villarreal are very much in the "problems? Hold my pint" brigade with the Yellow Submarine in 18th and on a delightful run of four defeats in five. 

Villarreal v Atletico Madrid is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET.

 

 

Solskjaer in high spirits ahead of Manchester Derby drubbing

 

Well, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in quite the playful mood on Friday. 

And as well the Norwegian might, with suggestions that the manager will be fired by the Old Trafford bosses and replaced with Maurizio Pochettino on hold for at least two days. 

The midweek win against Jose Mourinho (and Tottenham Hotspur) was quite the tonic with Solskjaer talking about the squad's training session on Thursday and revealing that "smiles are back on their faces." 

 

That may not last too long as United now have a Manchester derby against City in the Etihad on Saturday, a team that is also in a happy place after a victory at Burnley. 

But that didn't stop the United boss even having a small joke at City's expense, noting the club's near recent past in the lower reaches of the English football pyramid. "At least we play every year now," joked Ole. 

On a considerably more serious note, Solskjaer also spoke about the headline that has literally made its own headlines around the world - the 'Black Friday' effort from Italian paper Corriere dello Sport. 

"The worst front page I have ever seen," blasted the United boss with the paper referencing Friday's match-up between Inter and Roma and two former Old Trafford players in action, Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling. 

 

 

Chelsea have transfer ban lifted after CAS appeal 

 

The season has just gotten even better for Chelsea. 

An unexpectedly good year, fuelled by an untested coach in the form of Frank Lampard and untested youth players has been topped on Friday with the club's transfer ban being lifted.

Chelsea had been locked out of two transfer windows, starting last summer after breaching FIFA rules on signing young players. However, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has reduced that ban to just the single window, meaning that the club is now free to sign in January. Not that it may want to, considering the success it has had in making do with what it already has in the team's squad. 

 

However, that news could help Olivier Giroud leave Stamford Bridge with the French striker being linked with both Atletico Madrid - they love a grizzled, chiseled forward - and Inter Milan, who love old players. 

The Sports Burst live show will be all over these stories and so much more. Just head to our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET.