Atlético head into Galicia on Saturday, where they will take on Celta Vigo at 20:00 CET.
Los Rojiblancos have struggled on the road in league play of late, having lost by a combined score of 5-0 in their outings to Almería and Osasuna.
To make matters more difficult, they will have to weather the present storm of suspensions that resulted from a feisty derby clash a week ago.
Key starters Diego Costa, Diego Godín and Arda Turan will all remain in Madrid for this encounter as they serve their one-match bans.
The trio each saw their fifth yellow card against Real Madrid at the Calderón last Sunday, and despite two appeals of Costa’s booking, the league disciplinary committee refused to overturn their initial ruling.
After a very strong performance against the league-leaders at home a weekend ago, Atleti will seek to prove that their poor showings away from the Vicente Calderón were only a temporary blip in their very impressive season.
“I said it after the [derby], we played a great match with the essence of what the team has and what it has had since we got here two and a half years ago,” Colchonero boss Diego Simeone said in Friday’s pre-game press conference.
“In the derby, we showed that we are competitive, and that was very good for us.”
‘Cholo’ continued: “We had a week to work with the players that stayed here, and the ones that came back from their national teams.
“The game on Saturday will be a tough and important one against opponents that will require of us to make a great effort.”
With regard to the unavailability of some of his choice men, Simeone said: “We believe in the team and in the group that we have. Some guys that didn’t play against Real Madrid will play, like Diego and Villa, who did play against Osasuna.
“We’ll have great players on the field and the team knows this is an important match. Hopefully, we can put together a great game and the guys that come in contribute at the level expected of the team.”
In addition to our three big absentees in the line-up, Simeone’s bouncer will be missing from the sidelines.
Assistant coach ‘Mono’ Burgos was suspended for three games following his epic tirade aimed at derby referee Carlos Delgado Ferreiro.
Diego and Villa’s confirmed presence in the line-up indicates Atleti will roll-out their 4-2-3-1 formation that has been, to put it mildly, absolutely disastrous recently.
The four times that loanee Diego appeared in the fold since his return from Wolfsburg, the club have suffered a total deficit of 10-0.
But, the Brazilian will have a great chance to start turning things around and prove he’s the same old masterful Diego we fell so hard in love with two seasons ago.
‘El Guaje’, who hasn’t scored in over a month, will lead the red and white attack.
Tiago and Javi Manquillo are still nursing their respective injuries and will miss out again.
Atleti B midfielder Isaac Nana, on loan from Alcalá, was the novelty of Cholo’s match selection for this round, though it’s unlikely the Ghanaian will take part in this fixture.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois
Defenders: Filipe, Alderweireld, Giménez, Juanfran, Insua, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario, Koke, Raúl, Cebolla, Gabi, Diego, Sosa, Nana
Forwards: Villa, Adrián