Atletico Madrid will look to maintain their winning momentum as they travel to Butarqe to face Leganes on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid have been in excellent form heading into this new season. And after an eventful opening-game against Getafe in La Liga, the Spanish giants will now face Leganes at Butarque on Sunday evening.
The visitors secured a narrow 1-0 win over Getafe last weekend, where both the sides were a man down inside the first-half. Jorge Molina was sent off due to an awful tackle on Thomas in the 38th minute. But, a few minutes later, Atleti’s Renan Lodi accumulated two yellow cards and had to leave the pitch. Alvaro Morata’s goal in the 23rd minute turned out to be the difference at the end.
The scoreline ended 1-0 to Atletico when the last time these sides met in March. Saul Niguez scored the winner in the 50th minute. But, things could be trickier this time against Los Pepineros, even though they started their campaign with a disappointing 1-0 loss to newly-promoted Osasuna.
Much like Atletico, Leganes also had one of their players sent off in the last match, with Oscar Rodriguez Arnaiz being the culprit. However, the hosts don’t have a good record against Los Rojiblancos and it is unlikely they will able to salvage anything from this game.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we take a look at these exciting teams ahead of their match-up on Sunday.
Team News & Tactics
Leganes manager Mauricio Pellegrino is likely to revert to a 3-5-2 formation due to the suspension of Arnaiz. The 24-year-old will be replaced by Roque Mesa, who will slot in at central midfield alongside Recio and Ruben Perez. Recio will come into the side, at the expense of Javi Eraso, whose attack-minded nature could be a problem when dealing with Atletico this weekend.
The Leganes attack will be led by Martin Braithwaite and Youssef En-Nesyri. Both of these strikers will play a key role in the first line of press and their contribution in attack will likely shape the fate of the home side in this important fixture.
Elsewhere, Roberto Rosales will retain his role at right wing-back, with Jonathan Silva starting on the opposite flank. These two players are expected to drop deep and form a pendulating defensive unit, especially when Atletico have possession.
As for the defence, it will remain unchanged, meaning Unai Bustinza, Rodrigo Tarin and Dimitrios Siovas will continue to form the three-man backline for Leganes. Kenneth Omeruo is also an option along with Marc Navarro, both of whom have arrived from the Premier League this summer. And finally, in goal, Ivan Cuellar is expected to start ahead of Juan Soriano, who arrived from Sevilla on loan.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Cuellar; Bustinza, Tarin, Siovas; Rosales, Mesa, Perez, Recio, Silva; En-Nesyri, Braithwaite.
The suspension of Lodi will serve as a massive blow for Diego Simeone, who is currently devoid of any other reliable options at left-back. Therefore, we expect new signing Mario Hermoso to be deployed in the said position, with Kieran Trippier retaining his role on the opposite flank.
Stefan Savic has picked up a knock and is doubtful to feature against Leganes, which means Felipe is likely to deputise for the 28-year-old. The ex-Porto centre-back will be partnered by Jose Gimenez at the heart of Atleti’s four-man backline.
Koke is a guaranteed starter in the right-midfield slot and his leadership qualities will be key as Atleti face a tricky test against Leganes this weekend. The opposite flank will be occupied by Thomas Lemar, who will be keen on making an impression this season.
However, new signing Marcos Llorente will still have to wait for his starting debut with his new club. He did come on as a substitute in the game against Getafe. But, the likes of Saul and Thomas Partey are likely to be preferred ahead of the ex-Real Madrid star in central midfield tomorrow.
And finally, the Atletico Madrid attack will be led by the cunning attacking duo of Morata and Joao Felix. The latter has already awed the Atleti fans with his sublime performances in the pre-season. As for Morata, he missed a penalty against Getafe and will be keen to make amends this time out.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Oblak; Trippier, Felipe, Gimenez, Hermoso; Koke, Partey, Niguez, Lemar; Morata, Felix.
- Leganes are winless in their six La Liga clashes against Atletico Madrid, alternating between a draw and a loss each time.
- Leganes have failed to score in five of their six La Liga games against Atletico Madrid, only finding the net against the Rojiblancos at Butarque in November 2018.
- Atletico Madrid have lost four of their last nine La Liga away games, after being unbeaten in their previous eight games on the road in the competition.
- Leganes have lost their last three La Liga games, last losing four in a row in November 2017.
- Atletico Madrid were the most fouled team in la Liga on Matchday 1.
Player to Watch
All eyes will once again be on Joao Felix as he looks to mesmerise La Liga with his blistering performances with Atletico Madrid. The young Portuguese sensation featured for only 66 minutes in the win over Getafe last weekend. But, this time around, he will be looking to take advantage of the weak-looking Leganes defence.
Felix’s partnership with Morata will be pivotal, especially with Diego Costa out injured. However, it will be interesting to see how he manages to integrate himself to Simeone’s intense pressing scheme. He will be expected to put pressure on the opposing defenders in Atleti’s first line of press.
Offensively, the 19-year-old could drift into a deeper role and operate as an auxiliary number ten, making the visitors much more flexible.
Leganes 0-1 Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid could face problems due to the lack of an out and out left-back. At the same time, they might also struggle to breach the Leganes defence that will likely operate with a deep defensive block. We expect Simeone’s men to once again secure a narrow victory in this one.