By 90Min
October 27, 2017

Atletico Madrid will look to maintain their unbeaten start to the La Liga season on Saturday evening, as Diego Simeone's side entertain Villarreal in the Spanish capital.

Despite a rocky start to their UEFA Champions League campaign, Los Coloncheros are yet to be beaten in their opening nine league games, with Kevin Gameiro netting his first of the season last time out at Celta Vigo as this weekend's hosts climbed to fourth spot in the standings.

Simeone's side remain six points off the pace of leaders FC Barcelona, but having held La Blaugrana a fortnight ago to 1-1 draw, Atletico know that are far from 'also rans' this term.

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Villarreal sit just three points below their opponents this Saturday, as Javier Calleja takes his side to Madrid seeking to pull level on points.

The Yellow Submarines arrive on the back of a handsome 4-0 win over Las Palmas last time out, as striker Cedric Bakambu took his tally for the season to nine goals. The visitors come into the game after three-successive league wins with further wins at home to Eibar and on the road at Girona, having conceded just once in that time.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of the clash at the Wanda Metropolitano:


Classic Encounter

Atletico are keen to make their new home a fortress as with the Vicente Calderon, but Atletico will line up against their Castellon opponents with memories of last season's defeat fresh in the memory.

Back in April, substitute Roberto Soriano scored an 82nd minute winner in Madrid, as Villarreal returned home with the spoils.

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Like last season, meetings between the two have tended to be one-goal encounters, however a chilly Sunday evening in November 2007 saw one of their most memorable clashes.

After the hosts took a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from Pablo Ibanez and Simao Sabrosa, Villarreal drew level before half time through Fabrico Fuentes and Giuseppe Rossi.

Kun Aguero restored Atletico's lead just after the hour mark before a brace from Nihat Kahveci including an 89th minute winner, stunned the Calderon as Villarreal held on for a dramatic win.


Key Battle


Antoine Griezmann vs Victor Ruiz & Alvaro Gonzalez

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The must sought-after French marksman is yet to it his straps this season, with a home clash versus Villarreal his chance to add to his three goals so far this term.

Griezmann is joint-top scorer for the club after nine games with Belgian Yannick Carrasco and Argentine Angel Correa.

Atletico may not find it east versus the Calleja's visitors who have conceded just once in the last 270 minutes of league football.

Alvaro Gonzalez remains a doubt for the clash having been withdrawn in their 4-0 win last weekend and will be crucial to Villarreal's chances this Saturday. The duo have formed a formidable tag-team thus far this campaign and the physicality of the duo would prove a stern test for likes of not only Griezmann, but Atletico's wide players to find the space to operate.


Team News

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The midfield duo of Yannick Carrasco and Koke remain doubts ahead of the visit of Villarreal, with knee and thigh complaints respectively.

If both miss out, Saul Niguez is expected to continue his modified role on the left of midfield, as Gabi and Thomas Partey keep their spots in central midfield.

The visitors' main injury concerns are over Cedric Bakambu and Alvaro Gonzalez. Both were substituted last time out with the former picking up a groin problem, whilst defender Gonzalez is nursing a hamstring strain.

Goalkeepers Andres Fernandez and Sergio Asenjo, as well as midfielder Bruno Soriano and centre-back Ruben Semedo, are all ruled out.

Potential Atletico Madrid Starting Lineup: Oblak; Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Luis; Correa, Gabi, Partey, Saul; Griezmann, Gameiro

Potential Villarreal Starting Lineup: Barbosa; Gaspar, Ruiz, Gonzalez, Costa; Trigueros, Rodri, Castillejo; Fornas, Bacca, Bakambu


Prediction


Much will depend then on the fitness of key men Gonzalez and talisman Bakambu for Villarreal, however Carlos Bacca provides an adequate support role. The Colombian could lead the line as a lone striker, should his partner not make it. Samu Castillejo will also bring a threat to Atletico on the left flank.

Villarreal are likely to go with a three-man central midfield system, but that could be overrun by the energy of the likes of Gabi and the versatile Saul in the absence of Koke.

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Gameiro and Griezmann continue as perfect foils for one another, and the French duo should prove too much for the visiting defence, with or without Gonzalez.

Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Villarreal

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