Saúl has not had an easy start to the season. If on the first day he failed to overcome Rui Silva from the penalty spot, an inconsequential shot at the end because Atlético ended up beating Granada 6-1, during the previous international break he suffered an injury that had him off the pitch for five consecutive games (Celta, Bayern, Betis, Salzburg and Osasuna).
A total of 450 consecutive minutes off that already represented more than everything he had stopped playing last season, when he was the outfield player with the most participation in the squad (4,246 minutes). On his return, Saúl has once again been indisputable for Simeone, although it has not yet managed to find its peak of form. In front of Lokomotiv he formed in a midfield on many occasions of three with Herrera as pivot and Llorente collaborating in the round trip, where Saúl tried to exploit his arrival in the 45 minutes he was on the pitch, and against Cádiz he started very open on the left wing, helping Hermoso in defense and allowing interior spaces to Koke and João Félix.
Before the visit of Barcelona, the concentration of setbacks in the middle, with the injury of a Herrera who had made a hole in the eleven and after announcing that Torreira has been infected with coronavirus, causes Simeone’s plans to apparently go through returning Saúl to the double pivot with Koke as on that first day against Granada. Two footballers with rojiblanco DNA and with a lot of packaging in these games. In the case of the captain he is in a fantastic state of form and in Saúl’s he looks for another great night to vindicate himself.
And is that the ‘8’, that in Russia he completed 300 games with the first team jersey, is the great expert in appearing in the most important appointments. Barcelona knows it well, after double from Elche at the Camp Nou last season, the two penalties. Also in the Metropolitan Wanda he has surpassed Ter Stegen. And it is that Barça has suffered great performances from Saúl, one of the teams that tried the most to get his services in the past. A footballer you can trust in the matches marked in red on the calendar (He has seen the door in two semi-finals of the Champions League, in the quarterfinals, eighths … to Madrid, Barça, Bayern, Chelsea …). Saúl needs a boost to leave behind the difficult start of the year and there is no better night than this, since whenever there is a great rival in front of him, Simeone knows that better call Saúl.