By Tim Stannard
Ronald Koeman admits title chances are slim after error-ridden match against Eibar to close a terrible 2020 for Barca
The year's second-to-last headlines of Barcelona's sports papers were not exactly full of hopeful cheer on Wednesday.
"Another disaster" sighed a weary 'Sport'. 'A cursed year,' balled Mundo Deportivo. Both papers were reflecting on a match for Barcelona on Tuesday at the Camp Nou that encapsulated 2020 for Barcelona. Self-enforced mistakes followed by a bit bad luck.
The errors came from Martin Braithwaite and Ronald Araujo for a missed penalty and defensive dithering respectively that saw Eibar walk away from the Camp Nou with a point in a 1-1 draw. The bad luck was a knee injury for Philippe Coutinho that could see the Brazilian out of action for up to four months, in a worst case scenario.
In a season full of 'finals' for Barcelona, the first test was blown to leave the troubled team seven points from Atletico Madrid at the top of the table having played two more games. Sports Burst's rudimentary math skills suggests that the gap could eventually be 13 points if Atletico continue to be a clinical winning-machine.
Sports Burst will assess just how complicated in its live show at 12PM ET on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page and XTRA channel.
Double day of duty for Madrid's top teams
Matters could be getting 'complicated' as soon as Wednesday as not one, but two teams are actually currently seven points clear of Barcelona. Both come from Madrid. And both are playing today in a capital city tag-team of pain for Barcelona.
Atletico Madrid are first up in a city derby against Getafe. Despite the Rojiblancos being at the top of the tree, Diego Simeone's issues are currently 'off the field' with Atleti's rapid divorce with Diego Costa and Kieran Trippier's ten-week ban from all soccer activity.
Atletico Madrid vs. Getafe is live on beIN SPORTS from 1PM ET. That game is followed directly by Real Madrid at Elche with Coach Zizou looking to make it seven wins in a row in all competitions - the response to the Zidane Out! stories from the beginning of that run.
Don't miss out on the best ⚽ in the world ⚡ pic.twitter.com/xy4ZDLNVm6— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) December 30, 2020
The rarely-spotted Eden Hazard is expected to feature in the match, but Isco will be absent. Not because he is being shipped out to Arsenal as cruel punishment for displeasing his coach but due to becoming a father for the third time.
Elche vs. Real Madrid is live on beIN SPORTS from 3.20PM ET, but the whole day of action in LaLiga is kicked off with Granada against Valencia. It's a match that could end with the men from Mestalla in the relegation zone if the day goes very badly indeed on all fronts. That game gets underway from 10:50AM ET.
Will Diego Costa take a leap in Wolves clothing?
With no news yet out of PSG in regards to their new coach - a coach that could see a lot of transfer activity from players currently at, or formerly with Tottenham - Diego Costa has moved to the top of the rankings in winter window gossip.
The sudden break up between the striker and Atletico Madrid that seems to be a little on the rancorous side sees Costa as a bustling, battling, war-scarred forward for hire - a bit of a rusty Mandalorian of soccer. All be it, grumpy, prone to suspensions and injuries.
Wolves are apparently putting their hand in the air and contemplating bringing Costa in as temporary replacement for Raul Jimenez.