GOING UP / DOWN
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.
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.