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Predicting Atlético Madrid's XI against Valencia

Diego Simeone and Gary Neville will match wits at Mestalla on Sunday

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid travel to Mestalla on Sunday to face Valencia, and there have been many changes since the sides last met in October. For one, Nuno no longer roams the touchline for los Che; now, Gary Neville does, and the former Manchester United star has guided Valencia to three wins in the last four. As for the visitors, one of the from that 2-1 win in October, Jackson Martínez, now plies his trade in China for Guangzhou Evergrande. Lots can change in four months, but not league position; Atlético still occupy second place in La Liga, while Valencia are back in the top half and technically still battling for a Europa League place.

Simeone received a bit of good health news this week (more on that in a bit) and other than the suspended Augusto and injured Stefan Savic should have his full squad ready to go in what could be a tricky Sunday. So who should feature in his XI?

Jan Oblak, GK

This doesn't need an explanation. Best keeper in the league.

Juanfran, RB

One of the stalwarts, always ready for the big games.

Diego Godín, CB


José Maria Giménez, CB

Savic is still out and the 21-year-old is in good form. A big performance Sunday could cement him as first-choice CB for the remainder of the season.

Filipe Luís, LB

In good form right now, particularly impressed against Real Madrid last weekend.

Gabi, RM

El capitan will probably end up playing in the center anyway, but again, he's a guy who is always ready to lead in the big games

Saúl Ñíguez, CM

Unplayable after his goal midweek against Real Sociedad. Expect another good performance Sunday.

Koke, CM

Seems to have found some consistency of late, really impressed each of the last two times out. A set-piece goal may be necessary at Mestalla, and his execution in that regard needs to be on point.

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, LM

Gosh, I missed him, Declared fully fit late in the week after four games out, the pacy Belgian should make his return to the XI against Valencia - and if you'll recall, he scored a stunning goal against the same opposition at the Calderón in October.

Antoine Griezmann, FW

Will be looking to make it three in a row with a goal.

Luciano Vietto, FW

Was excellent against Sociedad on Tuesday and is starting (finally) to find ways to contribute without scoring. Of course, we'd like him to score, as he's gone four months without a goal in the league, but his deception and skill make him Griezmann's best crony in unlocking Valencia's defense.

Agree with the selections? Disagree? Have at it in the comments!