Atletico Madrid will be desperate to return to winning ways in La Liga when they host newly-promoted Osasuna at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
La Liga returns this week with Atletico Madrid playing hosts to Osasuna, at the Wanda Metropolitano as Los Rojiblancos will be looking to start afresh after series of draws and losses.
Diego Simeone’s side are currently languishing in the seventh position in the points table and they have struggled to score goals and churn out results. The Rojiblancos have managed to secure only two points from their last three matches in La Liga and Simeone and his men need to change this approach of the side.
Meanwhile, Osasuna have made a reasonable start to their campaign with five wins and eight draws. The Red have struggled to keep their winning momentum but have fared well till now considering they are comfortable in 10th position in the points table.
Both sides have had some positives and some blemishes, but this can be the ideal time for Jagoba Arrasate’s men to face Atleti and beat them at home. However, Atleti are coming to this fixture with a 2-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League.
Team News & Tactics
Diego Simeone will be missing the likes of Diego Costa and defender Stefan Savic due to injury. Jose Maria Jimenez may return to the starting eleven as the Uruguayan international is back to full fitness from his muscular problem. It will indeed be a huge boost for the side but Simeone might look to take more time before naming him in the starting eleven.
Atletico Madrid are set to play in their conventional 4-4-2 formation with Jan Oblak guarding the goal and Renan Lodi and Santiago Arias slotting in as fullbacks. Summer signings, Felipe and Mario Hermoso should form the centre-back pairing for the hosts.
In midfield, Saul Niguez and Koke will slot out on the flanks with Thomas Partey and Hector Herrera adding steel to the centre of the park. Spanish winger, Vitolo is out with groin injury, but Angel Correa is available for this match after serving his suspension. Portuguese youngster, Joao Felix will lead the line for Atletico Madrid alongside Alvaro Morata.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Oblak; Arias, Felipe, Hermoso, Lodi; Saul, Herrera, Partey, Koke; Felix, Morata
Jagoba Arrasate’s selection problems will tend to increase with Oier Sanjurjo’s suspension for this game, as he is an experienced campaigner and could have been crucial in this game. He will be joining players like Kike Barja, Ruben Martinez, Nacho Vidal and Sergio Herrera, who are down with injuries and are doubtful for this match.
The Reds will also look to continue with their 4-4-2 formation, with Sergio Herrera returning between the sticks. In defence, Facundo Roncaglia and Pervis Estupiñán will play as the full-backs, while Aridane Hernandez and David Garcia will form the centre-back pairing.
In midfield, Fran Mérida is likely to replace Oier as young midfielder Jon Moncayola will play alongside him and add more steel to the centre of the field. Roberto Torres Morales and Ruben Garcia will control the flanks and provide width. Garcia has a fine knack of scoring goals as he has already bagged five in the league till now.
The attack will be led by Ezequiel Ávila and partnering him will be Adrian Lopez,who will play against his former side.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Herrera; Roncaglia, Garcia, Hernandez, Estupiñán; Torres, Merida, Moncayola, Garcia; Adrian, Avila
- Atletico Madrid have been very dominant over their weekend rivals, Osasuna. The Rojiblancos have lost only one of their last 11 La Liga fixtures against Osasuna. Their last defeat came way back in 2014 – the only time they lost under Diego Simeone.
- Osasuna’s last away win against Atletico Madrid in La Liga was way back in April 2009. Since then the Reds have lost five and drawn one of their six visits in this competition.
- The visitors have lost only one of their last seven La Liga fixtures with the defeat coming against Athletic Club (1-2). Their last away defeat was against Granada in matchday 9.
- Last time these two sides met, Atletico Madrid won comfortably by a scoreline of 3-0 despite missing two penalties in the game (Yannick Carrasco and Thomas Partey).
Player to Watch
The much-hyped Portuguese sensation from Benfica has blown hot and cold at times in Madrid. Felix has only found the net twice in the league and if the 20-year old forward wants to live up to the expectations of the football fans and especially Diego Simeone himself, he needs to impress and starting scoring.
These are matches were goals can make a difference and once the floodgates open they keep coming. Felix scored against Lokomotiv Moscow and though it was a penalty, it would have boosted his confidence. With fans hoping him to fill the Antoine Greizmann void, it is time for Joao Felix to deliver the goods.
Atletico Madrid 1-0 Osasuna
Atletico Madrid are in a spot of bother and with the Rojiblancos languishing in seventh position the pressure piles up on Diego Simeone with each match. Whereas newly-promoted Osasuna have done really well to churn out results and punch above their weight. So a win is necessary for the hosts and considering the mindset and their compact defence, Simeone’s side are likely to keep a clean sheet.
Also looking at the difference in mindset between both the teams, Atletico Madrid will be more hungry to win the match while Osasuna will be more than happy with an away draw. But, with the striking difference in quality in the attacking third, the Hard Tackle predicts a narrow 1-0 win for the hosts.