Southern Spain is the destination for Atlético this evening as they take on Córdoba in the long-awaited return after the international break.
Kick-off is set for 18:00 CEST.
Diego Simeone’s men still sit in fourth place, a point behind Valencia, but in the first game since Cholo put pen-to-paper on a five-year contract extension, the Argentine has stressed the importance of today’s match.
“There are ten matches left for us in the league. Ten finals,” Cholo told the media at his pre-match press conference.
“Tomorrow is one of these finals and we need to play like it. Words matter very little at this stage of the season.”
Córdoba are rock bottom of La Liga, and are almost certain to be relegated. They have lost nine games in the league in a row, and lost the first fixture at the Vicente Calderón 4-2.
However the team displayed a lot of fight in their last game against Real Madrid.
“They played extremely well, despite only having ten men,” Simeone said. “That situation showed how competitive they are – the fought until the end.”
After starting last week in the victory over Getafe, Raúl Jiménez will have to watch from the sidelines again as he picked up an ankle sprain whilst on international duty in the game between Mexico and Paraguay.
During his press conference, Cholo unexpectedly confirmed the starting line-up for the match. “We will play with Oblak, Juanfran, Giménez, Godin, Gámez, Gabi, Tiago, Koke, Saul, Griezmann and Mandzukic.”
Miranda is suspended, which will mean we see our Uruguayan pairing of Giménez and Godín continue at the back for Atleti.
Jan Oblak is to continue in goal as Moyá is still recovering from his injury sustained against Bayer Leverkusen last month.
The biggest news for Atleti is the return of Saúl, who picked up a horrible injury in the first leg of our Champions League tie with Leverkusen back in February. Arda Turan drops to the bench.
Fernando Torres must settle for a place on the bench as Simeone decided to go again with Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann, who have 26 goals between them in the league this season.
Today’s match presents a real opportunity to take back third place, as Valencia must play Villarreal tomorrow in what will be a tough match for Los Che.
Atlético Madrid’s squad list:
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Bernabé.
Defenders: Juanfran, Gámez, Giménez, Godín, Lucas, Siqueira.
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Gabi, Koke, Saúl, Cani, Arda Turan.
Forwards: Fernando Torres, Mandzukic, Griezmann.