Though Álvaro Domínguez appeared in the fold for Atlético’s match in Málaga, the first starting line-up submitted by then freshly-appointed coach Diego Simeone, the 22-year-old has since been supplanted by Miranda in the centre of the Rojiblanco defence.
The Brazilian defender sneaked back into the starting XI against Villarreal because Domínguez had seen his fifth yellow at La Rosaleda, forcing him to serve a one-match ban when we took on el Submarino.
Fans expected Álvaro to return and partner up with Diego Godín the following week when we visited Anoeta, but ‘El Cholo’ opted for keeping Godín and Miranda together, sending the Atleti youth product to the bench, where he has resided since.
This will more than likely change on Saturday when we visit Racing Santander, as now it’s Miranda’s turn to serve a one-match suspension, opening up the door for the canterano.
Domínguez, speaking to Spanish paper Mundo Deportivo, explained that he took no offence at not being picked as a starter in our last couple of matches.
“I fell out of the starting eleven and the team has been playing well,” he said.
“You don’t change things around when everything is working well.”
He continued: “Sometimes, in football, you are dropped because of suspension, other times because of injury and others because of performance. We would all like to be in the [starting line-up] but it’s normal that things aren’t changed when the team is doing well, and right now the team is doing good, very good.”
Like an obedient soldier, the Spanish international then echoed the words of his chief in explaining his squad’s incredible run of five games without conceding a goal.
“It’s not only credit to the back line and the goalkeeper,” he said.
“The defensive work begins with the work of the midfielders and the forwards. Likewise, offensive success begins with the work of those in the back.”
Though Atlético were able to shutout Los Che this past weekend, a game in which Domínguez appeared in as a second half substitute for Godín, the players were upset at not having taken the three points.
“After the match against Valencia, the faces in the dressing room were of disappointment for not having won,” said Domínguez.
“We’re still two points away [from a Champions League spot], it’s very close, but the goal is to continue taking things one game at a time, and in that manner, finish in the Champions [zone].”
Could Perea also return to the starting line-up and make his 301st appearance?
After Godín fouled Diego Alves by launching his face into the goalkeeper’s extended fist thereby almost knocking himself out, the Uruguayan could not continue as he had suffered a muscle injury.
The knock kept the 25-year-old from training with the squad on Tuesday, and should he be unavailable for Saturday, Colombian centre back Luis Amaranto Perea could be in line for his 301st appearance with Atlético.