It has been a turbulent week for Atlético Madrid. With the passing of club legend Adrián Escudero, all of the trouble in the Spanish courts, and our derby-day match with Real Madrid looming on the horizon, one would almost forget we travel to Andalusia on Saturday afternoon to take on UD Almería.
And this isn’t the type of game that Atlético can take for granted, if there are any, because in recent years the fellow rojiblancos have proven to be tough opponents for Atleti. The Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos is the only stadium in Spain where we have never won a league game, although it should be noted that Almería have only been in the top flight since 2007. Our previous encounters away from home ended in two draws and a defeat.
Last season, Almería beat us through a single goal by Pablo Piatti, but the Argentine wonder-kid will miss this year’s fixture due to a hamstring injury. The winger, who is said to be one of Atlético’s transfer targets for next season, will be sorely missed because his track record against Atlético is nothing short of impressive. Piatti has scored four goals against us in just five matches, including last season’s match winner.
Atlético coach Quique Sánchez Flores has no injury worries now that Diego Costa is available again. The Brazilian has recovered from a knock which kept him out of last week’s victory against Villarreal, while Juanfran is also match fit after picking up a minor injury earlier this week.
Luis Perea returns to the match selection after sitting out a one match suspension, and he’ll take Álvaro Domínguez’ place after the centre-back picked up his fifth booking of the season. Suspensions will again be on the players’ minds this week, because Sergio Agüero and José Antonio Reyes are only one yellow card away from missing the Derbi Madrileño against Real Madrid.
Sánchez Flores has decided to leave Juan Valera out of the selection for this match, which is surprising considering the limited defensive options we’ll have available tomorrow night. Fran Mérida also stayed behind in Madrid and now hasn’t been given a call-up in five matches.
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: López, Filipe, Godín, Ujfalusi, Perea
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Raúl García, Elias, Assunção, Reyes, Juanfran, Koke
Forwards: Forlán, Agüero and Diego Costa.
Predicted XI: De Gea; Ujfalusi, Perea, Godín, Filipe; Reyes, Raúl García, Tiago, Elias; Forlán and Agüero.
Referee: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
Atlético could make it five games without a loss against the 19th placed team in la Liga. What do you think will be the score in Almería? Don’t forget to head over to the AtléticoFans Prediction League to give us your prediction!