Atlético Madrid go into a home game against Espanyol on Saturday evening on the back of two straight wins in La Liga, both home and away. This weekend though, we face Espanyol, a team in a rich vein of form with Champions League aspirations of their own.
Last week los Rojiblancos came from a goal behind away at Real Sociedad to win 4-2, while we managed a comfortable 3-0 win at home to Osasuna just a fortnight ago.
Having a break in midweek seems to suit Atleti, and we welcome Espanyol to the Vicente Calderón off the back of another 7 day break.
This will prove to be a much harder game, however. Quique’s men might be sitting in sixth place in La Liga, but Espanyol are perched two points above us in the final Champions League place.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team have recorded six wins from six games at home this season, but don’t enjoy the same decent form away from Catalonia. On the road they’ve scored only one goal in six matches.
Atlético have taken 13 out of 18 points at home this season and have history on their side. From the 69 times these two teams met Espanyol have only won six games, while Atleti stand at an impressive 47 wins and will be looking to add another one on Saturday night.
Last season we beat Espanyol 4-0, with two goals from Agüero, one from Forlán and a late goal from Maxi Rodríguez; who always seemed to step it up against his former club.
This time around we will have to do without Álvaro Domínguez. The centre-back was surprisingly moved to the bench by Quique after Godín’s return, and now has been left out of the match selection entirely. This comes as a total surprise in the week that Domínguez was linked with a move to Bayern Münich. According to AS our coach thinks Domínguez was rushed back after the ankle injury he suffered with Spain U21 and needs more time to fully recover.
Quique Sánchez Flores has also left Asenjo, Camacho and Juanito out of the match selection and called up the following players.
Predicted XI: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Perea, Godín, Filipe; Reyes, Tiago, Mario, Simão; Agüero and Forlán.
Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Valera, López, Filipe, Godín, Ujfalusi, Perea
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Raúl García, Fran Mérida, Assunção, Reyes, Simão
Forwards: Forlán, Agüero and Diego Costa.
Espanyol are without the injured David García, Coro, Víctor Ruiz and Aldo Duscher. They have a very young team, but a lot of quality up front with Callejón, Luis García and Osvaldo.
Espanyol match selection:
Goalkeepers: Kameni, Cristian
Defenders: Chica, Dídacc, Forlín, Amat, Raúl Rodríguez
Midfielders: Javi Márquez, Baena, Verdú, Javi López, Dátolo, Molina
Forwards: Callejón, Luis García, Osvaldo, Sergio García and Álvaro
This is only the first of four fixtures with Espanyol this season, because we face them in December and January in the Copa del Rey.