Atlético host Sevilla on Saturday night in what is sure to be a heated encounter. In the last few years the rivalry between the clubs and its fans has lit up with agressive displays both on and off the pitch.
Supporters have been stabbed outside stadiums, Agüero was viciously headbutted by Maresca and players were tapped up and stolen despite already having agreed a contract with the other club. The Sevillistas had the last laugh, beating the Colchoneros in the final of the Copa del Rey last season.
Sevilla also beat Atleti earlier this season, with Negredo, Perotti and Kanouté all getting on the scoresheet before Diego Costa scored a consolation goal.
But when it comes to playing in the Vicente Calderón, Atlético clearly hold the upper hand. In 71 matches in Madrid the visitors have won only fourteen times, Atleti winning 42. The Atlético players will want to get a win in front of their home crowd, after the last three games in the Calderón were lost and the schedule isn’t getting any easier with Villarreal and Real Madrid the next visitors.
The clash with Sevilla is an absolute key match for Atleti because with a win we would overtake the Andalusians in the league table. It will be no easy task however, because this season our record against direct rivals has been abysmal. Only one point was taken from our matches against Barcelona, Espanyol, Real Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and Villarreal in the first half of the season.
It was doubtful whether Diego Forlán would be fit in time after he suffered an ankle injury in training this week, but Quique Sánchez Flores has included the forward in his match selection. Uruguayo will be looking to score his first ever goal for Atlético against Sevilla, a feat he hasn’t been able to accomplish in his previous eleven encounters with the Andalusians.
Mario Suárez is still recovering from his injury, while Fran Mérida and Elias picked up minor knocks this week. The trio miss tomorrow’s match but Diego Godín returns from injury.
It’s expected the centre-back will start in defence alongside Luis Perea, with Tomas Ujfalusi on the right side. It will be interesting to see who Quique will pick for the left back position, as Filipe arguably is more prone defensively, but is faster than captain Antonio López which is important considering one of them will be facing Sevilla speedster Jesús Navas.
In midfield we’ll see the same players as last week, with former-Sevilla winger Reyes accompanied by Raúl García, Tiago and Koke. Up front Agüero will be joined by Diego Costa or Forlán, depending on the latter’s fitness level.
Goal: De Gea; Joel
Defence: Valera, López, Filipe, Godín, Ujfalusi, Domínguez, Perea
Midfield: Tiago; Raúl García, Assunção, Reyes, Juanfran, Koke
Attack: Forlán, Agüero and Diego Costa.
Sevilla are without Freddy Kanouté which will be a big miss and also have to make do without Andrés Palop, Martín Cáceres and Ndri Romaric, all regular starters for Gregorio Manzano’s side. Like Quique, the former Atlético coach is unlikely to continue coaching his club next season, and this week stories appeared that Sevilla are actually looking to replace Manzano with Sánchez Flores, although both Sevilla club president Del Nido and Quique himself deny that talks are already taking place.
Sevilla match selection
Javi Varas, Dani Jiménez, Fazio, Fernando Navarro, Luis Fabiano, Renato, Perotti, Jesus Navas, Zokora, Escudé, Alfaro, Diego Capel, Negredo, Dabo, Alexis, Sergio Sanchez, Medel and Rakitic.
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