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Atletico Madrid-Espanyol: Preview

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Atleti host the Catalan side in a bid to keep its top-four spot

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real CD Espanyol - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Reinvigorated title contenders Atletico Madrid (7-3-3, 24 points) will look to continue their momentum as they clash with the impressive team in RCD Espanyol (4-6-3, 18 points) on Saturday at the Vicente Calderón Stadium.

Atletico snapped a two-game losing streak with a very comfortable 3-0 away victory over the relegation-stricken Osasuna at El Sadar last Sunday. Diego Godin and Kevin Gameiro scored one goal each in the 36th and 37th minutes of the first half to give los colchoneros much needed breathing space before Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco, who came on as a substitute after the hour, sealed the game right at the stroke of full-time.

The win lifted Atleti to the fourth spot of the current league table after Villarreal lost to Alaves. Diego Simeone's side is now three points behind second and third-placed teams Barcelona and Sevilla but they still trail their arch-rivals, Real Madrid by nine points.

Meanwhile, Espanyol extended its unbeaten streak to seven games as they crushed newly-promoted side Leganes, 3-0, at Estadi Cornellà-El Prat last Saturday.

After a goalless first half of play, Spanish striker Gerard Moreno broke the deadlock two minutes after the restart with a left-footed shot from the left side of the six-yard box with the assist coming from Argentine winger Pablo Piatti. Piatti then finished the game with a brace in the 51st and 88th minutes.

With the win, Quique Sánchez Flores' team moved up to 11th in the league table, nine points above the relegation zone and only four points below sixth-placed Villarreal in the final Europa League place.

Prediction and Predicted Lineup

The predicted result is a comfortable 2-0 win for Atletico Madrid.

Atletico Madrid starting lineup (4-4-2 formation): Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Godin, Filipe; Gaitan, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco; Gameiro, Griezmann.

Espanyol starting lineup (4-4-2 formation): Diego Lopez; Sanchez, David Lopez, Reyes, Martin; Reyes, Jurado, Fuego, Piatti; Gerard, Baptistao