Fresh from a rampant derby win last week, Sevilla are in town on Sunday to present Atlético with another testing encounter in the Vicente Calderón.
Míchel’s side have been in inconsistent form but will come into the game full of confidence, and nobody more so than ex-rojiblanco José Antonio Reyes.
Kick-off in the Spanish capital is set for 19:00 CET.
Nothing could seperate the two sides when they met in last season, but Atleti have progressed since then and have higher ambitions than our Andalucian rivals, and will be expecting nothing less than a win come Sunday evening.
However, we haven’t had much luck in this fixture as of late, having not tasted victory in any of our last six meetings.
Incentive is sky high for either side, and with Barcelona taking on Levante immediately after the match, Simeone will hoping for three points to draw level with the league leaders, whereas Sevilla know a win will put them above las Granotas in 4th.
We will be without the important figure of Mario Suárez in midfield though, who will serve a suspension for his red card at Granada last weekend. Otherwise, the squad is at full strength.
The visitors on the hand are without a number of key players, including top scorer Álvaro Negredo, midfield general Gary Medel and Manu del Moral, a former canterano of ours, of whom all are injured.
Midfielders Piotr Trochowski and José Campaña also miss out, so B-team striker Álex Rubio has come in to add more depth to the attack.
All eyes will be on José Antonio Reyes though, who rejoined Sevilla from Atleti in January after a nightmare start to last season under Gregorio Manzano.
The 29 year-old’s second spell at the Sánchez Pizjuán has been relatively unassuming, but he returned to his best with two goals and assist in a 5-1 mauling of Betis in last week’s derbi sevillano. When speaking to the media, he was confident that a win could be possible against his old side.
“The team have a tremendous desire and morale has been boosted after the derby. We’re going to the Calderón with great confidence,” he said. “Having played here, the game will have be more special for me than my teammates.”
With a derby of our own coming up next weekend (and I’m sorry for reminding you), the red and whites will be desperate to slip up, and will be trying to build-up as much momentum as possible before the clash in the Bernabéu.
Despite a good response to those two defeats in early November, performances haven’t been too convincing lately, and there are also slight worries over the fact that superstar forward Radamel Falcao has not been at his sharpest in front of goal lately.
Simeone shrugged off these suggestions in his press conference this morning though, and as always, continued to show utmost faith in his side.
“We should forget what we have already done, it’s difficult but we have to think in the present and maintain our strength on a game-by-game basis,” he asserted.
A former Sevilla player himself, Cholo also highlighted the danger of our rivals, paying tribute to their attacking style of play.
“Whenever I’ve watched Sevilla, I’ve been impressed,” he said. “They’re a team with a very clear game, with one of the best right wings in the league and the ability to switch the play and cause problems.”
“It will be an energetic, passionate game. The Calderón is a beautiful stadium and the players will be closely influenced by the fans’ support.”
One issue that we will have to wait until tomorrow for though concerns the line-up, with Adrián and Diego Costa both vying for a place behind Falcao in attack. Elsewhere, Tiago and Koke are expected to replace Mario Suárez and Raúl García from the team that beat Granada a week ago.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Asenjo, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Filipe Luís, Sílvio, Cata Díaz, Juanfran, Miranda
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi, Emre
Forwards: Falcao, Adrián, Diego Costa
Sevilla match selection:
Goalkeepers: Palop, Diego López
Defenders: Fazio, Spahic, Coke, Botía, Cicinho, Navarro, Cala, Luna
Midfielders: Rakitic, Navas, Perotti, Reyes, Maduro, Hervás, Kondogbia
Forwards: Baba, Rubio