Atlético take on Eibar this evening in the second round of La Liga, knowing that anything less than a win would mean a disastrous start to their title defence.
It all kicks off at the Vicente Calderón at 21:00 CET.
The match comes on the back on a poor performance in round 1, where an improved Rayo Vallecano side from last season held Atlético to a goalless draw in Vallecas.
Having played Real Madrid twice within a week in their Supercopa clash, Atleti were poor, and some would argue were lucky to leave with a point.
Simeone’s side will look to improve and add their first win of the season, but they will have to cope without Simeone again. This will be the first of a four game La Liga ban for his antics in the Supercopa against Real Madrid.
This game will be a perfect opportunity to prove they can dig deep and perform without Cholo on the touchline.
Next up is La Liga newbies Eibar, and travel to the Calderón after a historic 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad last week, in their first ever La Liga game. Eibar come into La Liga after back-to-back promotions, and the promoted side will be keen to impress against the Spanish champions.
This will no doubt be a very special game for the club, as the long wait to receive the La Liga trophy will finally be over.
It has been 104 days since Diego Godin’s header crowned Atleti Campeones for the first time since 1995/1996 in one of the best finales to La Liga ever.
However, due to the fact Angel Maria Villar, the head of the Spanish Football Association, was travelling and unable to attend the finale, Atleti have had to wait to get their hands on the trophy.
If Atleti are to retain their title, they will have to replicate the home form they showed last year. The Calderón became a fortress, winning 14 games and drawing 4.
Simeone hopes the fans can help the team to all 3 points.
“We need to gain a good result from Because the support encourages us to keep working hard on the training ground stands. It’s our first game back at the Calderón since the Real Madrid game and we hope the fans as answer like they always do,” he said at the pre-match press conference.
It may be early in the campaign, but already trailing Real Madrid and Barcelona by 2 points, this is a must win game for the rojiblancos, ahead of another tough trip to the Bernabeu next week.
Meanwhile, three Atleticos have been selected for Spain’s internationals against France and Macedonia. Raul Garcia gets his first call up to the senior squad, whilst Koke and Juanfran join him.
“It’s wonderful to be recognised for your hard work and that’s something that makes me very happy,” our resident number 8 told the media.
Arda will miss the game with a hamstring injury, whilst Eibar will be without Kijera and Dídac Vilá. Raul Garcia makes it back into the squad after missing last weeks game due to suspension.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak, Juanfran
Defenders: Gámez, Miranda, Godín, Giménez, Ansaldi, Siqueira
Midfielders: Gabi, Mario Suarez, Tiago, Saúl, Koke, Cristian Rodríguez, Raul Garcia
Forwards: Griezmann, Raúl Jiménez, Mandžukić