After missing the chance to go back into 2nd spot last week, Atlético make the short trip across town to Getafe on Sunday as they look to keep up the pressure on rivals Real Madrid.
Victory for los Blancos on Saturday means Diego Simeone’s side are now four points behind, but the gap can be closed should we get the three points in the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez.
Kick-off in the Madrid suburb is set for 19:00 CET.
Following a long spell where we relied on our home form to pick up points, the roles have been reversed in recent months, with an upturn of results on the road coinciding with a slight slump at the Vicente Calderón.
Tomorrow we travel to one of the league’s stronger home sides where that will be tested, Luis García’s Getafe outfit now on an unbeaten run of over five months in their backyard.
No European involvement means the Rojiblancos have had a week to prepare though, and motivation will be high as the team look to get back on track and break the divide between the traditional top two.
However, we were dealt a blow with the news that Arda Turan, our main creative force, will not be available due to the ankle sprain he sustained against Valencia, and is looking at around 2-3 weeks on the sidelines at this crucial stage in the season.
Tiago, having just recovered from a broken arm, is also out with a minor thigh injury, but Juanfran will return to the side after serving suspension.
Javi Manquillo drops out of the squad, but his Atleti B teammate Óliver Torres is called-up again and will have a place on the bench this week along with veteran defender Domingo Cisma, drafted in for cover.
When speaking on Wednesday, Simeone paid tribute to Getafe’s strong current form and as always underlined the importance of keeping the intensity and playing for the win, as well as making sure that the game-by-game approach is maintained.
“I want to win. I do not look at anything else. All the fans want is to see the team win, no matter who plays,” he said. “We cannot afford to look beyond Getafe because the Spanish Championship has shown us that there are dangers at every ground.”
“We saw on Monday in the Getafe game against Betis that they made it difficult, with talented attacking players, they’re also very good set pieces. We need a game with a lot of intensity and a lot of concentration.”
The Argentine tactician also addressed the Arda situation, leaving journalists guessing as to who could replace him while he is out.
“There are lots of options,” he asserted. “Óliver Torres? He is an option from the 20 players we have in the squad.”
Sunday’s game is not our first trip to the Coliseum this season, back in January the two sides played out a low key 0-0 draw in the Copa del Rey, Atleti playing in second gear having won the tie in the first leg.
Last season’s corresponding fixture was much more eventful though, the Rojiblancos embarrassed in one of the worst moments of Gregorio Manzano’s second spell as manager, losing 3-2 to a Getafe side who were a man short for over an hour.
As far as their team news goes, they are a little light in defence due to the absences of Rafa and Miguel Torres, but Luis García is able to call upon all of his attacking talent for the game.
First choice goalkeeper Moya will also miss out though, with Jordi Codina set to step in. B-team stopper Alberto also makes the squad and will take a place among the substitutes.
The Azulones will be desperate for the three points themselves, as they look to keep place with the likes of Betis, Málaga and Valencia in the race for the European places. A win would see them go to just four points of the final Champions League spot.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Asenjo, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Cisma, Cata Díaz, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario, Koke, Raúl García, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi, Óliver
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Diego Costa