Atlético Madrid need a win in the worst way Saturday, but the team visiting the Vicente Calderón could make life difficult for los colchoneros. Quique Setién’s Las Palmas love having the ball and have dangerous players out wide and up top who can finish chances. Injury-plagued Atlético will have its hands full against the Canary Islands side.
With that, let's take a look at how Atleti may line up Saturday:
Miguel Ángel Moyà, GK
With Jan Oblak out until mid-March at the earliest, expect to see Moyá’s name lead off most of the team sheets from here on out. The 32-year-old will make his first league start since March 14, 2015.
Šime Vrsaljko, RB
Juanfran’s hit-or-miss form makes this a somewhat straightforward choice for Simeone, who was experimenting with Vrsaljko in the XI during training this week. The Croatian has seen limited opportunities but hasn’t done much wrong when he's played.
Diego Godín, CB
One of only two healthy center backs in the squad.
Stefan Savic, CB
Hasn't been the same player since getting sent off against Málaga on Oct. 29. José Giménez’ midweek injury makes this decision easier than it otherwise should be.
Lucas Hernández, LB
Filipe Luís is still injured, so Lucas starts again. The 20-year-old will round out a pretty young backline, with three defenders 25 or younger.
Saúl Ñíguez, RM
Ángel Correa’s suspension and Nico Gaitán’s exile to Narnia leaves few options out wide for Simeone. Barring the return of the ever-captivating Alessio Cerci experience, Saúl will return to the XI as the central midfielder Cholo plays wide.
Will be important Saturday. El capitán will be tasked with winning the ball and disrupting Las Palmas’ buildup play.
Let’s face it, the only reason Koke will move back to the middle is because Tiago got hurt at El Madrigal. But we'll embrace it nonetheless and hope it gets the canterano back on track after some middling games of late. (What I did there, do you see it?)
Yannick Carrasco, LM
Carrasco was inexplicably dropped to the bench Monday. Simeone won't make that mistake again.
Antoine Griezmann, FW
On Colchonero Chat this week, I recommended that Griezmann be dropped to the bench. It won't happen though, and it doesn't change the fact that Grizi needs a big game more than anyone. His league goal drought has swelled to nearly 700 minutes, and he is way too good of a player to let that continue much longer.
Kévin Gameiro, FW
Gameiro’s speed will be essential when Atlético are able to break and counter. He's also gone three games without scoring, so it's about time he did that, too.