Match preview: Atlético vs. Athletic Club

Atlético welcome the Basques to town, along with an old friend

Raúl García returns to the Vicente Calderón on Sunday

Raúl García returns to the Vicente Calderón on Sunday

With Barcelona letting their two-goal lead over Deportivo slip at the Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon, Atlético Madrid can go level on points with the defending champions at the top of La Liga if they win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

As exciting as that might be, the thing rojiblanco fans are talking about is the prospect of welcoming back Raúl García to the Vicente Calderón.

The midfielder-turned-forward returns to Atleti after leaving late in last summer’s transfer window, bringing to an end his nine-year stay in Madrid. Since then, he has impressed at Athletic, and has perhaps been their best player.

Diego Simeone will know exactly what to expect when the Basques visit the Spanish capital, with Athletic needing a win to reginite their form after two straight draws.

Fresh from the Champions League win over Benfica in Lisbon on Tuesday night, Atlético will be looking to continue their recent good run of form and keep the pressure on Barcelona at the top of the league.

Tiago is missing for Atlético after getting hurt, whilst Jackson and Giménez also miss out through injury. The defender’s absence should mean Savic continues alongside Godín, after impressing in Portugal midweek.

Luciano Vietto also impressed on Wednesday night, and will be unlucky not to keep his place alongside Antoine Griezmann up front for Atlético.

Fernando Torres has struggled in recent games and it would be no surprise if the Spaniard again began the game on the bench.

Iraizoz and Muniain are expected to miss out for Athletic, who got away with a draw in this fixture last season after Atlético had some controversial goals ruled out.

Atlético squad:
Goalkeepers: Moyá and Oblak.
Defenders: Godín, Filipe Luis, Savic, Jesús Gámez, Juanfran and Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Óliver, Gabi, Saúl, Carrasco and Thomas.
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa and Vietto.

  • nitesh

    Top of the table beckons. Lets grab it and hold on to it at least till Camp Nou visit.

    Just saw Inter’s game against Udinese. It seems to me we sold Miranda quite cheaply. Inter scored 4 goals but Miranda’s performance stood out for me. He nullified every Udinese attack from defending crosses to perfectly executing lunging tackles.

  • Frederick Stringer

    Yes I think we did sell Miranda on the cheap but Atleti are rather cash strapped so whatever decision taken will always have money as a base problem. We have an opportunity today to go top & stay there although Barca are the best team not only here but also in Europe if not the world. It is worth a 10 pound flutter on Atletico de Madrid to do the double, League champions & Champion’s League winners. Aupa Atleti!