By Tim Stannard
Barca must walk a tightrope of doom with Lionel Messi one booking away from missing El Clasico
Whatever powers trains these days - steam, coal, diesel, electricity - Atletico Madrid have run out of the stuff. At very much the wrong time. Not that there is ever a good time, really.
Sunday's defeat by Sevilla sees the Rojiblancos still at the top of the LaLiga standings but heading in the wrong direction with just three wins from eight. A once insurmountable lead that lingered around ten points (depending on matches in hand and what have you) could well be cut down to just the single point on Monday.
Remarkably, the team that can do it is Barcelona which had looked done and dusted back in January. However, a run of 12 wins from 13 games in LaLiga (and a draw) now sees Barcelona with the chance to go into El Clasico on Saturday hanging just off the back of Atletico Madrid.
To do that, Barcelona will need to defeat a struggling Valladolid live on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET. In chess, that move could be check. However, if Atletico Madrid - who will be without the suspended Luis Suarez and Marcos Llorente against Betis on Sunday - stumble and Barca prevail in El Clasico, then it's Ronald Koeman's men who will be at top of the standings next weekend with nine games to go.
However, a victory is not written in the stars today as Barca are returning off the back of an international break which can bring about all manner of strange results. The game might also have a baring on El Clasico with both Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong just one yellow card away from suspension for Saturday's game. "It is not the time to rest players due to cards or freshness," noted a brave Ronald Koeman who said both will play in Monday's match.
Barcelona against Valladolid is live today on beIN SPORTS at 3PM ET. That match follows Fenerbahce vs. Denizlispor live on beIN SPORTS at 12PM ET with the Turkish giants having the chance to move into second place in the standings with a win.
Neymar faces long lay-off after tunnel tussle
Where to start with PSG this fine Monday?
Neymar tends to be as good a place as any with an abundance of stories on the footballer's immediate future and also something in the long term.
PSG are hoping the French football gods are kind in terms of the player's upcoming suspension which is being handed out just after the footballer returned from injury, with Neymar having gotten himself sent off against Lille in his first start back.
There is an immediate one-match ban hanging over the Brazilian to see the footballer out of Saturday's match at Strasbourg. The question now is whether further kerfuffles in the players' tunnel with Tiago Djalo, who was also sent off in the same late incident, will increase Neymar's suspension.
The weekend also saw stories that the footballer had both stalled on talks to renew in contract with PSG past 2022 and had agreed to sign on.
Aside from all that, PSG have the small matter of a Champions League quarterfinal match against Bayern Munich to deal with on Wednesday. And while the absence of Robert Lewandowski through injury will be a big relief, PSG have been hit once again by COVID-19 problems.
Marco Verratti was already sidelined having tested positive, but he has been joined by fullback Alessandro Florenzi who has also tested positive and misses the match in Munich according to confirmation from PSG on Monday.
Monday Night Soccer will be looking back at the weekend's best action including the top-of-the-table loss of PSG against Lille on beIN SPORTS at 9:30PM ET.
Hazard set for Real Madrid return. Again.
While PSG are not on the Champions League stage until Wednesday, Real Madrid are being poked into action on Tuesday with a home quarterfinal clash against Liverpool.
And....exciting news! Eden Hazard is back! Again!
The Belgian has been in full training and is set to return (for the fifth time) to Coach Zizou's squad list just in time for the visit of Jurgen Klopp's men. Eden Hazard might well be up for a late substitute appearance in Tuesday's game before injuring himself soon after and missing out in El Clasico on Saturday.
The aftermath of today's Barcelona game and also the Champions League will play a big part of the ever-feisty Locker Room live on beIN XTRA for free today at 6PM ET.