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Guillem Balague on Atletico and Real Madrid and Lionel Messi's injury

Image: Costa: the Atleti striker is on Spain's radar, says Guillem

Atletico Madrid are working as a team and everybody is doing what they have to do.

Guillem answers your questions...

Got a question for Guillem? Then send it in using the feedback form below, and then look out for his answer next week...

Hi Guillem. After seeing Atletico Madrid beat Real - their seventh straight win - do you think they can be genuine title contenders this season? If not, where do you think they need to add to their side to really challenge for La Liga? Thanks, Barry GUILLEM SAYS: I think Atletico Madrid will be contenders for three-quarters of the season but not the last quarter. They have a very strong team but it is all down to physical and mental strength and I wonder if, like last season, the level will go a little bit down. However, this is a good year to scare Barcelona and Real Madrid as Barcelona are not playing really great and Real are already dropping points.

Hi Guillem, I have to admit that I knew very little about Elche at the start of the season but have been really impressed with their recent performances against Real Madrid and Celta Vigo. Could they cause a real shock and stay up this season? Cheers, Paul GUILLEM SAYS: They key for Elche is Fran Escribá in his first experience as a manager in La Liga. He started off coaching in the lower ranks at Valencia and went with Quique Sanchez Flores to Getafe, Valencia, Benfica and Atletico Madrid but has started a new career as a number one. He has started well, bringing Elche up, but a poor decision from the referee unfairly cost them against Real Madrid, something that looks poor on the league. But to get the top games the referees in my country have to be submissive to the authorities and sometimes confuse that with keeping Barcelona and Real Madrid well. If you know you have to keep your boss sweet to keep your job, you sometimes make decisions that will make them happy. That is the case with the referees in Spain and in the Real-Elche game I think the official saw Pepe down and thought it was a penalty and did not see the incident, which was actually a foul by Pepe. This referee, César Muñiz Fernández, will now disappear for a while.

Hey Guillem, I love your column! I'm a Celtic fan - what do you reckon our chances are of stunning Barcelona again this week?! No Messi is obviously a big blow for them and I'm hoping with the atmosphere at Parkhead and Celtic spirit we can repeat last season's win! Sam GUILLEM SAYS: Barcelona are very direct away and don't keep the ball as much but I think we are going to see Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets playing and I am pretty sure they will decide to keep the ball more. Still, they have the same weaknesses as usual and do not defend high up so it is easier to have a go at them. I am sure Celtic will have their chances and that it will be a tight game - and tight games can go either way.

Hi Guillem, living in the USA I don't get to watch as much of La Liga as I would like but I always love reading your column to keep up to date. I am an avid Valencia fan and am becoming increasingly concerned about what is going on there. I have never been a fan of sacking a manager quickly but despite what appears to be 100% backing from the board I really am not convinced that Miroslav Djukic is the best thing for the team. When you listen to reports coming from the dressing room he seems to be polarising or just plain confusing the players. Is there a problem with Djukic or is the problem higher up? I know the team has massive debt and that can't be helping but... Lance W GUILLEM SAYS: I agree that Djukic is not a manager for Valencia and I have been saying it since the beginning of the season. I am not happy with his methods and neither are some of his players. Three consecutive victories is a push after everybody felt scared and they want home results to please the fans, but sooner or later you will see he is not building a team as against Rayo Vallecano they struggled in the midfield. I know the chairman who is visiting us on Revista says he will stay there forever - or until the end of the season - but we will see as I have my doubts.

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