Atletico Madrid is four points clear of Real Madrid and can take a step toward securing second place with a road win on Thursday.

By 90Min
April 18, 2018

Real Sociedad will play host to second placed Atletico Madrid on Thursday night, with Diego Simeone's side looking to maintain a gap over rivals Real Madrid. 

Sociedad on the other hand are in that middle of the pack area of the league table, with no threat of relegation and no realistic chance of European football.


Previous Encounters

Sociedad's recent record against Atletico is not something that will give them any confidence heading into this clash, having won just one of the last six meetings the two clubs have had. 

Their previous encounter this season was a 2-1 Atletico win, in which Sociedad actually led at half time before Filipe Luis and Antoine Griezmann struck in the second half to turn the game on its head. 

It would be harsh to judge Sociedad purely by their record against what has been a top five European team for the last five years though, and the Basque club deserve respect for getting to the fringes of a top half finish this season.


Key Battle

Diego Llorente vs Antoine Griezmann

Like every game he's involved in, Griezmann's battle with the opposition's center back will be the key in this game. In this case it'll most likely be Diego Llorente. The biggest problem defenders face with Griezmann is not his elite finishing ability, but his tendency to drop deep to collect the ball and play as a second striker.

Llorente will need to choose whether to sit off Griezmann and allow him to run directly at Sociedad's back four, or come out of the team's defensive shape to shadow him, knowing the risk of leaving that space behind him.


Team News

Atleti will be without left back Filipe Luis after it was confirmed he had suffered a broken leg during their win over Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League. 

Injuries aside, Atletico's clash with Arsenal will be in the back of Diego Simeone's mind, so while it's expected he'll field a strong team, don't be shocked if there is some rotation.

Sociedad are still without first choice goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli and Right Back Alvaro Odriozola who is suffering from a muscle injury, with very little play for at this point in the season there appears to be no reason to rush him back.


Prediction

With Atletico still looking to maintain bragging rights over Real, they'll want to win this game, Sociedad on the other hand have nothing to play for other than pride. Expect Atletico to win this one, but in typical Simeone style it won't be explosive. 

Prediction: Real Sociedad 0-1 Atletico Madrid

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