Atlético Madrid’s faint hopes of a title push are now over, with more than half the season remaining.
On Sunday night, los Colchoneros took on league-leaders Barcelona, simply needing to win to cut the gap to eight points.
However, as usual, Diego Simeone’s side approached the game in a cautious manor, and found themselves 1-0 down mid-way through the first half.
Those inside Cívitas Metropolitano demanded a response that never really came, with Barça, relatively comfortably, seeing out the victory.
That defeat means Atleti have now lost three of their last five La Liga matches, only beating rock bottom Elche since 23 October.
This all leaves Atlético Madrid fifth, needing wins, as they’re firmly in a battle for Champions League qualification.
Segunda División champions Almería meantime start the weekend 15th, just two points clear of the drop zone.
Rubi’s team drew 1-1 with Cádiz to conclude 2022, before starting the new year with a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Real Sociedad.
All five of los Rojiblancos’ victories this season have come at home though, so Atleti know they’ll be in a for a tough afternoon.
Can Almería add to Atlético Madrid’s misery at Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos?