Preview: Atletico Madrid vs Espanyol – prediction, team news, rosters
Sports Mole preview Sunday’s La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Espanyol, including predictions, team news and possible line-ups.
Atlético Madrid will be looking to bounce back from a traumatic ten days of La Liga and Champions League action as they host an inconsistent game Espanyol at the Civitas Metropolitano.
The hosts were beaten quite comfortably at Porto in midweek, just days after losing to strugglers Cadiz in the league, while the visitors drew 1-1 with Mallorca last weekend.
Following Atletico Madrid has never been for the faint-hearted, but the drama of their Champions League exit and La Liga defeat over the past two weeks has been very difficult for players and fans alike.
After picking up a penalty after the full-time whistle last Wednesday to keep their European dreams alive, Yannick Carrasco saw his kick saved, before the rebound hit the crossbar, and a final effort was deflected off target in the 99th minute of the game.
Then, in La Liga, Diego SimeoneThe men scored in the 85th and 89th minutes to make their game against Cadiz 2-2, before conceding a 99th-minute winner to become the first team to lose at the Estadio Ramon Carranza this season.
A deflating midweek loss to Porto provided the icing on the cake for Los Colchoneros, who finished bottom of their Champions League group for the first time in their history.
Finishing fourth means Atletico have only domestic commitments left to focus on as they look to close the gap between Barcelona, Real Madrid and the rest of the Spanish top flight.
After everything that’s come before, a win against Espanyol seems inescapable as they look to rebuild quickly after a disastrous fortnight at the club.
Espanyol struggled for consistency under new coach Diego Martinezas they are just one point higher in the early relegation standings.
Considered one of Spain’s brightest young managers, having led Granada to the Europa League quarter-finals, the 41-year-old was dependent on a lethal striker. joselu for the purposes of this campaign.
Even so, with just one defeat in their last six games, Los Pericos are starting to look relatively stable and would be in a much healthier position were it not for the stoppage-time equalizers and goalkeeper howlers.
Notably, the Catalan side conceded a 96th-minute hammer blow at home to Valencia in early October, as a goalkeeper. Alvaro Fernandez inexplicably allowed a looping ball to fly over his head in a dramatic 2-2 draw.
They were on the right side of fortune last weekend, however, like a cross cut from Jose Carlos Lazo saved a point against a largely dominating Mallorca.
With just one road win all season, Espanyol will be up against them at the Metropolitano but can be encouraged by their lone away success, a shock 1-0 win at top-flight Athletic Bilbao.
Form of Atletico Madrid in La Liga:
Form of Atletico Madrid (all competitions):
Form of Espanyol in La Liga:
The hosts have not been without injury problems this season, with Koke (thigh) and Thomas Lemar (muscular) ready to miss once again.
Marcos Llorente has been struggling with a calf injury since early October but could make the bench this weekend, while Saul is suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards.
The visitors, on the other hand, have no injury concerns and will only continue without full-backs. Adria Pedrosa and Ruben Sanchez.
Martin Braithwaite should join Joselu and Javi Puado up front, as Los Pericos seek only their second away win of the calendar year.
Possible starting line-up of Atletico Madrid:
Oblak; Reinildo, Gimenez, Savic; Carrasco, Witsel, Kondogbia, DePaul, Correa; Morata, Griezmann
Possible starting line-up of Espanyol:
The count; Olivan, Cabrera, Gomez, Gil; Exposito, Souza, Darder; Puado Joselu, Braithwaite
We say: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Espanyol
It hasn’t been easy to predict Atletico Madrid this season, but this one looks like too big a game for Diego Simeone’s men to lose.
Their visitors are notoriously poor travelers aside from a shock win, and shouldn’t cause Los Colchoneros too many problems as they look to get back on the winning streak after a tough few weeks.
For a data analysis of the most likely outcomes, scores and more for this match, please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com predict a home win in this game. Click here to find out what else they predict for this game and for more of their proven football tips.Home Win:data