Atlético Madrid travel to El Madrigal this Sunday looking for their third consecutive victory as they take on La Liga high-flyers Villarreal. Kick-off is at 9pm CET (8pm GMT+1)
The Yellow Submarine currently sit second in the league table, just a point behind leaders Real Madrid. They squandered the chance to go top on Monday night, only managing a 2-2 draw away to Hercules. They have proved themselves a force to be reckoned with this season, with five wins in their last six games in La Liga.
Atlético are on a run of their own though after bouncing back from a disappointing blip in September. Atleti have notched up wins in their last two games, with a convincing 2-0 win over Getafe last weekend and a Sergio Agüero inspired 3-0 win against Rosenborg in the Europa League midweek.
A major factor in Thursday’s European win was the return of defender Diego Godín, who is set to revisit Villarreal for the first time since leaving El Madrigal in the summer transfer window. Heading the opening goal and keeping a clean sheet in midweek, Godín has been inspirational for los Rojiblancos this season and the Uruguayan is in no doubt where his loyalties lie.
“It’s going to be very nice to be able to return to what was my home,” the defender told ESPN. “(But) when it’s time to play there are no friends and I will defend my interests and those of my club, which is Atletico Madrid.”
Uruguayans leaving Villarreal for the pull of Atlético is nothing new to the Valencians. Three years ago Diego Forlán walked the same path and continued his good form for los Colchoneros. Forlán has looked a shadow of himself in recent weeks however, with a very poor performance against Rosenborg before being substituted after just 60 minutes.
The World Cup Golden Ball winner was replaced by a returning Sergio Agüero, fully recovered from the injury that has kept him out for the better part of a month. With his first touch of the game, Kun gave Atleti a 2-0 lead and put them well on their way to three points.
Diego Costa got the third, and he’s another player who has been in a rich vein of form lately. With 4 goals in his last 5 games for Atlético, the Brazilian might be a little disappointed if he starts Sunday’s meeting in Vila-real on the bench.
David De Gea looks set to return for Atlético following a knock he took in training last week, but Atleti will be without Domínguez, who is still recovering from a sprained ankle, and Valera, who hobbled off early against Rosenborg on Thursday. Juanito also misses out.
For Villarreal, Marcos Senna and Carlos Marchena, who both missed the 1-0 win over PAOK in the Europa League, aren’t expected to return to fitness in time for the game.
The 18 players called up by Quique Sánchez Flores are:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Antonio López, Filipe, Godín, Ujfalusi, Perea
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Camacho, Raúl García, Fran Mérida, Assunçao, Reyes, Simão
Forwards: Forlán, Kun Agüero, Costa
Perea – Ujfalusi – Godín – Filipe
Reyes – Tiago – Assunçao – Simão
Forlán – Agüero
Don’t forget to get your predictions in for this game over at the AtléticoFans Prediction League!