By 90Min
December 01, 2017

Atletico Madrid take on Real Sociedad in La Liga on Saturday, with the Madrid side looking to close the gap between themselves and Valencia.

It has been a somewhat strange start to the season for Atletico, with key players out of form coupled with unrest around the managerial situation. With that being said, they sit third in La Liga and remain unbeaten.

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Antoine Greizmann has been subject to heavy criticism this season, due to his actions on and off the pitch. However, the France international has picked up his form of late, netting a stunning overhead kick against Roma in the Champions League and scoring twice in the 5-0 demolition of Levante.

Atletico have been in good form of late, and after their win against Elche in the Copa del Rey they will be looking for another victory against Real Sociedad at the weekend.

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As for the visitors, it's been a successful start to the season, with a win against Villarreal being the current highlight. They sit seventh in the league and second in their Europa League group, with qualification to the next round of the competition already guaranteed.

It will be a tough test for the side from San Sebástian, but one that they can snatch a point from.


Classic Encounter

One of the best and most entertaining games between the two sides came way back in the 2005/06 season at the Anoeta Stadium.

The Atletico side boasted the likes of Fernando Torres and former Chelsea man Mateja Kezman. The game began positively for the away side, with captain and promising star at the time Torres putting his side ahead.

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The lead was doubled shortly after, when Serbian Kezman scored to put his side two goals up with only 20 minutes played.

The game threatened to reach boiling point, as both teams picked up multiple yellow cards before the break. Atletico went in at half time with a safe 2-0 lead.

The game changed dramatically after the break, however, with Sociedad's Darko Kovacevic bringing the score back to 2-1.

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As the game neared its conclusion, Sociedad equalised with a strike from Nihat Kahveci. The match took a twist in the 87th minute, when Real Sociedad were reduced to 10 men when Bakero was sent off.

To the surprise of many it was Real who pushed for the winner and in the third minute of added time it was Kovacevic who produced the goods as his side ran out unlikely winners.

It was an enthralling finish to the game, but it was Atletico who had the last laugh as they finished above their opponents in the final league rankings.


Key Battles


Partey vs Januzaj


With recognised right-backs in Juanfran and Sime Vrsaljko injured for the past few games, Thomas Partey has stepped in to help out his side in defence. Normally a midfielder by trade, the Ghanaian has proved to be the right choice by Diego Simeone.

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As for his opponent, former Manchester United star Adnan Januzaj has been in good form for his new side this season, with the Belgian hoping to push for a place in what is shaping up to be an incredible Belgium side for next year's World Cup.

The battle between these two could decide the match, as Januzaj is one of Sociedad's main threats, and if Partey can nullify the winger his side would be one step closer to a victory.

Greizmann vs Illarramendi


Antoine Greizmann's form at the beginning of the season was somewhat poor for a man of his standards.

In recent times, however, he has shown us why he is regarded as a world class player. With only four goals in the league this season, the Frenchman will be hoping to add to his tally come the weekend.

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Ex-Real Madrid man Asier Illarramendi will be hoping to stop the French danger man once the whistle goes on Saturday in the hope of securing his team a vital away win. Along with Januzaj, the Spaniard has been key to Sociedad's good form this season.


If Greizmann is allowed the space and time to create then Sociedad will lose, it is as simple as that. But if Illarramendi can keep the Frenchman quiet, it could be a good evening for the Spaniard's side.


Team News


Atletico Madrid


Spanish international and regular starter Juanfran is still sideline with injury, but Croat Vrsaljko is close to returning to the first team squad. Apart from that, the Madrid side are at full strength.

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Real Sociedad


Defender Álvaro Odriozola will not be available for the game, after picking up a red card last time out against Las Palmas. Ex-Arsenal man Carlos Vela is a doubt for the game with a knee injury, but could feature in the game at the weekend; if only as a substitute.

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Predicted Lineups


Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Oblak - Partey, Savic, Godin, Luis - Koke, Saul, Gabi, Carrasco - Griezmann, Correa.

Real Sociedad (4-3-3): Ruli - Elustondo. Martinez, Llorente, Rodrigues - Prieto, Illarramendi, Zurutuza - Januzaj, Jose, Oyarzabal.


Prediction


After back to back wins Atletico seem to be gaining momentum as they try and keep up with the leading pack. This match can really only go one way, and that is a win for Atletico.

The strike force they have should prove to be too much to handle for the away side.


Atletico Madrid 3-0 Real Sociedad     

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