After enjoying home comforts for their 4-0 win over Real Madrid last weekend, Atlético Madrid travel to Balaídos to face off against Celta Vigo on Sunday evening.
Kick-off in Galicia is set for 21:00 CET.
After a magnificent start to the season, Celta have been struggling ever since their 0-1 win at the Camp Nou.
The Galician side currently sit in tenth place with 25 points. After their win at the Camp Nou, Celta lost eight matches, drew three and won just once. They find themselves just six points above the relegation zone.
Atlético’s last match against Celta ended in a 2-2 draw. Celta’s goalkeeper, Sergio had a brilliant performance after making 15 saves to ensure the game ended a tie.
Sergio wishes to repeat the same performance tomorrow.
“That was a game where things went really well for me,” said Sergio in a pre match press conference. “I’m happy for that and I hope I can repeat it.”
“I used to be a nobody, but now after that match in September everyone knows who I am.”
Simeone can’t count on Arda Turan, Raúl García for this match. Both are suspended after picking up a booking in the derby last Saturday. Koke is also out, after straining his injury in the same match.
“Everyone knows who Koke and Arda are. They are creativity and talent,” said Simeone in a pre match press conference. “Their absences along with Raúl’s will make the rest of the team have to work even harder to neutralize their absences.”
These key absences will allow some rotation in the starting 11 and Cholo has several options as to what his line-up will be.
An unfamiliar name called up to the squad is Carlos Marín. The goalkeeper is 17 years old and a regular feature in Atlético’s youth ranks. He has appeared in the UEFA Champions Youth League seven times. He’s maintained three clean sheets and conceded five goals in total. Marín has also been called up for the Spain U-17 squad seven times so far.
Cholo doesn’t usually call a third goalkeeper for the match, but it’s possible he sees something special in the 17-year-old keeper.
There is a strong possibility that winter signing Cani will start for Atleti. His preferred position is vacant due to Koke’s absence. However, Cholo may prefer playing Saúl after the young Spaniard’s brilliant performance against Real Madrid.
Cholo hinted however that the attacking trident made up of Griezmann, Mandzukic and Fernando Torres may start against Celta.
“In the 4-3-2-1, we can play with Mandzukic and Griezmann as the two and Torres as the one up top,” said Cholo.
Another possibility is Cholo starting Gámez as right-back and playing Juanfran in his traditional right-winger role.
Miranda, Juanfran and Griezmann all have four yellow cards and if they were to see a yellow this match they would miss the following match against Almería at home.
Should the players see the fifth yellow against Almería they would miss the clash against Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuan.
With a win at Balaídos, Atlético could become the away team with the most victories at the stadium. Right now Atleti are tied with Barcelona with 19 wins at Balaídos.
A win would bring Atlético up to 53 points and keep up the chase with Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Atlético squad list:
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak, Carlos Marín
Defenders: Godín, Siqueira, Gámez, Ansaldi, Juanfran, Miranda, Giménez
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Gabi, Saúl, Cani
Forwards: Griezmann, Mandzukic, Raúl Jiménez and Fernando Torres
Form guide (last six in the league)
Celta – LDLLWD
Atlético – WLWWWW