GO­ING UP / DOWN

Soccer 360 - - La Liga -

GO­ING UP

Alaves are the only one of La Liga's lesser lights that have man­age to main­tain their form, and re­main in the Euro­pean qual­i­fi­ca­tion spots.

Much of their suc­cess has been down to the prag­matic ap­proach of Abe­lardo Fer­nan­dez, who has built a solid de­fen­sive unit with Ibai Gomez and Ruben So­brino ex­celling in at­tack. Tough tests lie ahead for for­mer Spain in­ter­na­tional de­fender Abe­lardo, but they are fly­ing high as the sea­son ap­proaches half way.

GO­ING DOWN

Atletico Madrid were rocked by the news that striker Diego Costa will be out of ac­tion for three months foot in­jury.

Costa has been get­ting back to his old self in Novem­ber, scor­ing against Barcelona and caus­ing headaches de­fend­ers across La Liga, how­ever he will side­lined un­til at least March af­ter un­der­go­ing surgery.

Diego Sime­one could dip into the trans­fer mar­ket in Jan­uary, or call on Nikola Kalinic or Gel­son Mar­tins to part­ner An­toine Griez­mann in the Los Ro­ji­blan­cos at­tack, but Atletico’s hopes of suc­cess — do­mes­ti­cally and on the Euro­pean front — will rest a great deal on how Cholo and his team cope.

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