Atletico Madrid will play their fifth game in two weeks on Saturday, as they travel north to face Real Valladolid in La Liga.
Simeone's men will be keen to bounce back from their anti-climatic game in Brugge earlier in the week, as they look to extend their unbeaten run to 12. With Sevilla and Barcelona not playing until Sunday, Atleti have the chance to go joint top of the league overnight with a win at Valladolid.
Check out 90min's preview of Saturday's game below.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 15 December|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||15:15 GMT|
|Where Is it Played?||Estadio José Zorrilla|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||beIN La Liga|
|Referee?||Alberto Undiano Mallenco|
Atletico will travel to the Jose Zorrilla stadium in the absence of two key players. Both Jose Gimenez and Diego Costa will miss out due to respective injuries they picked up during their recent restless schedule.
Meanwhile Valladolid have been blessed with a near fully fit squad to face Simeone's side. Only forwards Duje Cop and Ivi Lopez have been ruled out, leaving manager Sergio Gonzalez needing to rethink his offensive blueprint.
|Real Valladolid||Masip; Antonito, Kiko, Calero, Nacho; Keko, Alcaraz, Michel, Plano; Suarez, Unal|
|Atletico Madrid||Oblak; Arias, Savic, Godin, Hernandez; Correa, Partey, Saul, Lemar; Griezmann, Kalinic|
Head to Head Record
Real Valladolid have only beaten Saturday's opponents twice in their history, whilst losing out eight times to the Spanish giants. On their last visit to the capital, Valladolid held out for 82 minutes against Real, but succumbed to two late strikes which saw them leave the Bernabeu empty handed.
With Valladolid having played the last four seasons in the Segunda División, these two sides haven't met since 2014, when a rampant Atleti side were 3-0 victors on home soil.
Since gaining promotion from Spain's second tier last term, Real Valladolid have certainly held their own amongst the country's heavy hitters. However, they have struggled to find the back of the net this term and only two teams in the top flight have scored fewer goals than Valladolid, who have notched 13 times so far. Sergio would undoubtedly love to have majority shareholder Ronaldo leading their line rather than sitting in their executive box.
Despite their offensive deficiencies, La Liga newcomers have been very stingy at the back, conceding just 15 league goals - that's fewer than Barcelona, Real Madrid and Sevilla!
Atletico have continued to be hard to beat this term and are currently enjoying an 11-game unbeaten run. However, after fielding a strong side for their final Champions League group game earlier this week, they would have been disappointed not to leave Brugge with all three points.
With their qualification to the last 16 secured though, Simeone must now focus on regaining their lead at the top of the pile, with his side currently sitting three points behind leaders Barcelona.
Here's how each team has performed in their last five fixtures:
|Real Valladolid||Atletico Madrid|
|Real Sociedad 1-2 Valladolid (09/12)||Club Brugge 0-0 Atletico (11/12)|
|Valladolid 2-1 Mallorca (05/12)||Atletico 3-0 Alaves (08/12)|
|Valladolid 2-4 Leganes (01/12)||Atletico 4-0 Sant Andreu (05/12)|
|Sevilla 1-0 Valladolid (25/11)||Girona 1-1 Atletico (02/12)|
|Valladolid 0-0 Eibar (10/11)||Atletico 2-0 Monaco (28/11)|
Both sides pride themselves on their defensive organisation and solidity, but Atletico's attacking flair should be enough to overcome Valladolid's defensive capabilities. However, Griezmann and co. have typically struggled to find the net away from home this term, scoring two or more goals on just two occasions away from the Wanda Metropolitano in all competitions.
Despite the gulf in class, expect this to be a tight, cagey affair, with Altetico's maestros edging it in the end.
Prediction: Real Valladolid 0-1 Atletico Madrid