Atletico return to La Liga action on Saturday afternoon, facing a high-flying Sporting Gijón side that currently sits third in the table after the first three games.
The red and whites will be looking to build on last week’s impressive win at Celta, but will have to be patient against a team that caused them a lot of problems last season.
Kick-off is set for 16:15 CET in the Calderón.
Atlético looked lackluster in the first halves of both of their last two games at Balaídos and PSV Eindhoven, respectively, but after getting their first win last week, focus will turn to playing at their best level for a full 90 minutes.
Diego Simeone subbed Kevin Gameiro and Nicolas Gaitán for Fernando Torres and Yannick Carrasco in the midweek fixture. It’s anyone’s guess as to which compilation of midfielders he will play as Atlético has not started the same line-up twice so far this season.
Sporting Gijón beat Leganés 2-1 at home last time out. They started a 4-2-3-1 formation with Ivan Cuéllar in goal and Lillo, Jean-Sylvain Babin, Fernando Amorebieta, and Isma López across the backline.
Sergio Álvarez and Nacho Cases were the deep lying midfielders with Victor Rodríguez, Burgui, Moi Goméz in front of them, the latter unavailable in the Calderón due to injury. Duje Cop played the lone forward role, scoring and assisting in their win.
Despite their 17th place finish, Sporting Gijón were a tough fixture for Atlético last season. The rojiblancos had to wait until the 93rd minute before Antoine Griezmann bailed them out for a 1-0 win at home. A 2-1 loss at El Molinón dashed Atlético´s title hopes late last season.
Winning is the only option for Atleti, as they try to catch Barcelona and Real Madrid who are at Leganés and Espanyol respectively.
Diego Simeone had optimistic words, saying, “We’re in good shape for the match. The two away results did us good.”
“Sporting are a strong team who work very hard and have very clear ideas. We’ll have to put in an intelligent performance in order to get the win.”
Cholo also confirmed many of the fans worst suspicions, as he confirm that he has indeed reduced his contract by two years to 2018.
“I can confirm it’s true,” he said. “We have spoken with the club and made the best decisions for the club and the team.”
“We’ve taken this decision in agreement with the club’s directors and it doesn’t alter the possibility of renewing terms again once the new arrangement ends.
“Everyone can relax.”
The Argentine tactician was dealt a blow in the midweek win at Eindhoven, as defensive midfielder Tiago picked up a hamstring strain late in the match. He’s likely to be out for around 10-15 days.
Lucas and Thomas Partey also miss out, as do Miguel Ángel Moyá and Alessio Cerci as they continue to recover from injuries.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsjalko, Giménez, Juanfran
Midfielders: Augusto, Koke, Gabi, Saúl, Carrasco, Gaitán
Forwards: Torres, Gameiro, Correa, Griezmann