La Liga returned with a bang last week for Atletico Madrid, and they will be hoping to continue their good start to the year with an away win against Eibar on Saturday evening.
Atletico kicked off the second half of the 2017/18 La Liga season in brilliant fashion last week with a 2-0 home win against Levante. The biggest talking point of the game was the return of Diego Costa, and once again the Spaniard didn't fail to disappoint. After scoring Atletico's second of the game, the ex-Chelsea man was sent off after he received his second yellow of the game for celebrating with the fans.
Diego Costa on his return to Atlético:— Football Factly (@FootballFactly) January 6, 2018
🔴 Games: 2
⚽️ Goals: 2
😡 Arguments: 2
👏 Off-field incidents: 1
62nd minute - Booked for an elbow
68th minute - Scores
68th minute - Second yellow for jumping into the crowd while celebrating.
HE'S BACK! pic.twitter.com/JA8UyT1gks
Despite losing Costa to suspension, the good news for Los Rojiblancos is that they currently sit second in the table and with a win against Eibar on Saturday, they could potentially open up a gap between themselves and third place Valencia.
As for the hosts, Eibar have enjoyed a great start to the season. Los Armeros currently sit seventh in the league and after a spirited comeback in their 2-1 win away to Las Palmas last time out, Eibar will head into the game against Atletico full of confidence.
Back in the 2016/17 season, these two sides met in the quarter finals of the Copa Del Rey. Atletico took a lead into the second leg of the tie, after they won 3-0 at home in the week before the game.
It was a tentative start from both sides, with Eibar seemingly the better of the two. The home side looked the more attacking of the two, as Atletico looked to hold onto their first leg lead.
Eibar continued to probe, however against the balance of play it was the away side who scored first through Uruguayan Jose Gimenez.
The home side soon responded with two quick fire goals, the first by Sergi Enrich and the second from Pedro Leon. Eibar had hope of turning the tie on it's head at this stage, however three goals in the last ten minutes of the game seemed to be too much of an uphill task.
Hope of a comeback was well and truly put to bed with just five minutes remaining as Spaniard Juanfran netted and in doing so sent Atletico into the semi-finals of the competition.
Atletico were drawn with Barcelona in the semi-finals. The Catalan giants knocked their Madrid rivals out of the competition and went on to win the cup with a 3-1 win over Alaves in the final.
Eibar head into the game with six wins in their last six La Liga matches. A 2-1 home win against third place Valencia has undoubtedly been the highlight so far for Los Armeros. Takashi Inui has been in good form for Eibar this season, with the Japanese international scoring three times and assisting once in the league so far.
Atletico Madrid's form heading into the game is outstanding. In the three games that they have played since the winter break, Atletico have scored nine and conceded none. The league title might be out of reach, however second place would be a very admirable finish for a side that last season finished 15 points away from eventual champions Real Madrid.
Los Armeros face a small injury crisis heading into the weekend with Pedro Leon, Yoel Rodriguez, Fran Rico and Anaitz Arbilla all currently sidelined with injury.
Diego Costa, Gabi and Stefan Savic are all suspended for the game against Eibar. Left-back Filipe Luis is doubtful for the game, however the Brazilian is expected to be fit to start.
The ref's an absolute joke. Next match we will miss Savic and Gabi already.— AMEER (@atleti_amr) January 6, 2018
Eibar (4-4-2): Dmitrovic - Capa, Oliveria, Lomban, Angel - Alejo, Jordan, Garcia, Inui - Enrich, Charles.
Atletico Madrid (4-4-2): Oblak - Vrsaljko, Gimenez, Godin, Luis - Carrasco, Partey, Saul, Koke - Griezmann, Gameiro.
Both teams head into the game in great form, and despite being away from home it is hard to look past an Atletico Madrid win. The Madrid side have won four of their last five visits to the Ipurua Municipal Stadium, and it wouldn't come as any surprise to see Los Rojiblancos win yet again at the home of Eibar on Saturday.
Eibar 0-2 Atletico Madrid