Celebrating their lone standing as the only team with four wins from four matches in the Champions League, Atlético Madrid return to La Liga action this Saturday away at Real Sociedad.
With Real Madrid and Barcelona in top form, the rojiblancos know that only a win will do if they want to remain amongst the leading pack at the top of La Liga.
Kick-off in San Sebastián is set for 16:15 CET.
After scoring first in both of their most recent matches, Atlético uncharestically allowed Málaga and Rostov back into it. Both were able to break down our backline with Rostov equalizing just two minutes after the hosts’ first goal on Tuesday.
This could be the start of a more attacking Atlético look, but one has to question if Simeone would rather have the 1-0 wins that have been his trademark over the years.
Tomorrow they have a chance to post their first clean sheet in four games as they take on Eusebio Sacristan’s Real Sociedad at the Anoeta.
Augusto and Alessio Cerci are still absent through injury. Miguel Ángel Moya returns to the squad for the first time this season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Bernabé Barragán has been called up from the B squad to provide extra insurance, especially as Jan Oblak has had problems with his hand this week. Meanwhile, André Moreira is out with knee discomfort.
José Giménez, who missed over a month due to a thigh injury, did look in line to make his first start since September 25th, but Atlético received the news today that Stefan Savic’s red card against Málaga has been rescinded and he’ll be available to play.
Kevin Gameiro, who knocked in two goals in that match is likely to regain his spot in the striker position ahead of Fernado Torres.
Ángel Correa could also replace Saúl, who had a rough go of it against Rostov in midweek. The 21 year-old just recently returned from injury last weekend and it could take him a few matches to get back up to speed.
Nico Gaitán remains on the sidelines following the knock he picked up against Málaga last weekend, and will stay in Madrid during the international break to recover rather than play for Argentina.
Real Sociedad are in top form having just defeated newly promoted sides Alavés and Leganés 3-0 and 2-0, respectively. Manager Eusebio Sacristán, in his second season after leaving Barcelona B, has been using a 4-3-3 line-up recently.
Gerónimo Rulli started in goal last time out behind a back line of Carlos Martínez, Raúl Navas, Iñigo Martínez, and Yuri.
Xabi Prieto, Asier Illaramendi, and David Zurutuza are the midfielders with Carlos Vela, Willian José and Mikel Oyarzabal, in the forward roles.
Depending on the matchup, Illaramendi and Zurutuza have been known to drop into more deep lying roles to form a 4-2-3-1 with Willian José as the lone striker.
Willian José leads the team in goals with five, but Carlos Vela is not far behind with three on the season. Xabi Prieto and David Zurutuza have two each.
Simeone is impressed with Saturday’s rival, and highlighted their improvement in his pre-match press conference.
“Real Sociedad has been growing immensely and will demand our very be. Theyare an offensive side with many people attacking at a high intensity.”
“We have four midfielders of a very high rank. José Giménez is fit and we can use any of him, Lucas, and Savic and they can help the team. We are growing a lot and getting very good results.”
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moyá, Bernabé
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Thomas
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro