Atletico Madrid will be hoping to extend their slender one-point lead at the top of the La Liga table when they lock horns with Sevilla on Tuesday.

Following a shock 1-0 defeat to Cornella that led to an early exit from Copa Del Rey on the weekend, Atletico Madrid are looking to gather themselves up as they play hosts to Sevilla at Wanda Metropolitano on Tuesday. It will be an important game for the home side, especially with Real Madrid breathing down their necks.

Although Atleti have won four back-to-back league matches since their 2-0 loss in El Derbi, they are only leading second-placed Real Madrid by a solitary point while Barca aren’t far behind either. Los Colchoneros do have three games in hand that but would only appear useful if they manage to salvage all three points from this fixture.

And that could be the difficult part as Sevilla have enjoyed an excellent record at Wanda Metropolitano. In addition, these two sides have had a tendency to draw their matches and a similar result this time around would create a record-making Sevilla the first away side to draw three consecutive league matches at the new Atletico stadium.

Aside from past record, Sevilla are hoping to build momentum this midweek following a narrow victory over Real Sociedad on the weekend. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of this crucial encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Atletico Madrid

Jose Maria Gimenez will not be available for Atletico Madrid (Photo courtesy - Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Jose Maria Gimenez will not be available for Atletico Madrid (Photo courtesy – Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

Atletico Madrid infamously failed to register even a single shot on target in their defeat to Cornella. But to their defence, coach Simeone had deployed a fairly weakened side with many of the first-team players being rested for this clash against Sevilla. Jose Maria Gimenez and Hector Herrera remain sidelined, though.

So naturally, we could see lots of changes being made to the Atleti squad this midweek, with Jan Oblak, in particular, replacing Miguel San Romain in goal. Simeone should also shift to a three-man backline with Stefan Savic, Felipe and Mario Hermoso starting forming the central defensive unit.

Kieran Trippier, who has been linked with Manchester United, has had his ban suspended by FIFA. But Sime Vrsaljko could get the nod as the right wing-back with Yannick Ferreira Carrasco being deployed on the opposite flank as usual. The duo will be key in providing width in the attacking phases.

Lucas Torreira, meanwhile, was given a rare start against Cornella. But, the on-loan Arsenal man should return to the bench alongside Geoffrey Kondogbia, thus paving the way for the likes Koke, Saul and Marcos Llorente to form the midfield unit. Thomas Lemar, on the other hand, remains a potential alternative for either of these three midfielders.

And finally, in the attacking third, Simeone could recall Luis Suarez back to the side, although Joao Felix’s services should be retained ahead of Angel Correa, who remains an option on the bench.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Savic, Felipe, Hermoso; Vrsaljko, Llorente, Koke, Saul, Carrasco; Felix, Suarez

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Sevilla

Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui will not have to deal with any fresh injuries heading into the game meaning the likes of Sergio Escudero, Tomas Vaclik and Oscar Rodriguez remain the only ones sidelined.

Julen Lopetegui has a full strength squad at his disposal against Manchester United. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Can Julen Lopetegui mastermind a victory? (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Lopetegui’s backline almost picks itself, with the strong central defensive partnership of Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde hoping to cover Bono with additional support from the two full-backs in Marcos Acuna and club captain Jesus Navas. Karim Rekik provides further defensive options for the away side this midweek.

In midfield, Sevilla are unlikely to shift away from the tried and tested trifecta of Fernando Reges, Joao Jordan and Ivan Rakitic, with the former operating in the deepest role. Oliver Torres remains a potential alternative should Lopetegui prefer more creativity going forward, so the former Atletico Madrid star might be useful in the second half.

There shouldn’t be any changes in the attacking department as well as the visitors look to persist with the offensive trifecta of Suso, Youssef En-Nesyri and Lucas Ocampos. Lopetegui once again does have alternatives, however, including experienced Dutch international Luuk de Jong.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bono; Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Acuna; Rakitic, Fernando, Jordan; Ocampos, En-Nesyri, Suso

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Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid have lost just one of their last 19 LaLiga games against Sevilla, 1-0 at Ramos Sanchez-Pizjuan in October 2016. 17 of those matches have been under the leadership of Diego Simeone.
  • Atletico Madrid and Sevilla have drawn their last four encounters in La Liga, the first time they’ve drawn four consecutive games in the top-flight. In fact, the Andalusian team could be the first away side to draw three consecutive league matches at Wanda Metropolitano.
  • Sevilla haven’t won a La Liga away game against Atletico Madrid since September 2008, thanks to Luis Fabiano’s direct free-kick goal. Only against Barcelona, are they on a longer current away run without a win than against the Red and Whites (GP11 D6 L5 – also 11 against Real Madrid).
  • Sevilla are one of just five teams to have won against Atletico Madrid at Wanda Metropolitano in all competitions (2-1 in January 2018 in Copa Del Rey) – they could be the first side to win twice in Atleti’s new stadium.
  • Atletico Madrid are unbeaten in their last 19 Laliga home games, the best current run of any side at home in the competition.

Player to Watch

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco

Embed from Getty Images

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco may not have been particularly productive since returning to Atletico Madrid. But, the attacker has given his club an extra edge in Simeone’s newly implemented wing-back system that really gets the best out of him from an attacking sense while simultaneously making him more tenacious on the opposite end of the pitch.

This week, however, the Belgian will be dealt with an interesting challenge against the experienced Jesus Navas. The Sevilla captain is not the sharp attacker he once was, but his work ethic and influence could prove to be problematic for Carrasco, who, in turn, could exploit the right-hand side whenever his opponent moves forward. So he is a player worth keeping an eye on in this crucial encounter.

Prediction

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Sevilla

Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are quite balanced sides on paper, but the hosts will be heading into this game low on confidence. And with Barca and Real Madrid creeping up, their priority will be to avoid a defeat. Therefore, we are anticipating a goalless draw at the Wanda Metropolitano this midweek.

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