La Liga is back at the Calderon and it's a game of high significance and probably the best game on the 9th matchday in Spanish league football. Valencia are currently 8th following some inconsistent results to begin the season while Atleti sit in 4th place following a difficult opening to their schedule.
The colchoneros' stadium will surely be hopping as this is one of the most awaited games of the year and will be a very closely contested affair.
Last year rivalry
Atletico and Valencia did battle last year for the third qualifying spot for the Champions League with Atleti winning the war but losing the battle. They were beaten 3-1 at the Mestalla and drew with their opponents when they visited the Calderon.
Atletico seem to be displaying more confidence this year despite having made further changes to their personnel while in Mestalla there seems to be a certain feeling of suspicion with their team. Some negatives results at the beginning of the season has resulted in the home fans booing their coach, Nuno Espírito Santo, despite attaining Champions League football for the team with a win over Monaco across two legs during the qualifying campaign.
Important Valencia absences
In addition, Valencia will have two important absences in Aymen Abdennour and Sofiane Feghouli, both for injury reasons. The Tunisian central defender was their most expensive signing this year and was brought in as a replacement for Nicolas Otamendi. On the other hand, the Frenchman Feghouli is one of the most skilled players in the squad and has had several good performances, in which he tormented Atletico's defense with his pace and direct style of running.
We must also mention the absence of Alvaro Negredo, who remains out of the squad for the third time in a row. This could be due to a personal problem with the coach, as he is one of the stars of the team. Only time will tell how this one pans out.
Carrasco or Correa?
It appears as though Cholo will start the game with most of the same players that started at the Anoeta against Real Sociedad. The only possible variation from that XI could involve Correa and Carrasco. After an impressive performance in Wednesday´s night match, the Belgian winger could start his second consecutive game as the team would like to make the most of his speed, as we saw midweek against FC Astana.
Giménez, Filipe Luis and Koke, who took a break in the Champions League, will be back in the starting XI. This way, Koke and Carrasco (or Correa) would play as wingers in a four-man midfield line joining Tiago and Gabi in more central positions.
Finally, Griezmann and Jackson would be the attacking options on the team. The Colombian striker scored his first goal at the Calderon in the last match and will look to build on this confidence building display.
In: Oblak, Moyá, Juanfran, Godín, Giménez, Savic, Filipe Luis, Gámez, Tiago, Gabi, Saúl, Koke, Óliver, Carrasco, Correa, Griezmann, Jackson and Torres.
Out: Siqueira, Lucas, Thomas (tactical) and Luciano Vietto (injury).