Though they have gotten off to a slow start, Villarreal will fancy their chances against Atlético Madrid on Saturday evening as the teams return for matchday nine in LaLiga.
Villarreal are 16th in the table with just two wins from their first eight games — and they have yet to win at home this season. But they have defeated Atlético at La Cerámica each season since 2015/16, and manager Javi Calleja needs a big win to keep his position secure.
Atlético kicked into gear prior to the international break and topped the table briefly after a 1-0 home win over Real Betis. Over the break, Antoine Griezmann helped France to a 2-1 win over Germany with a brace, while Koke, Rodri and Saúl Ñíguez all figured for Luis Enrique’s Spain in a friendly (4-1 win over Wales) and in the Nations League (3-2 loss to England).
Diego Simeone trained with all players available on Friday, but Diego Costa and Stefan Savić have not been cleared to return yet — they were not named in Saturday’s squad.
Simeone seems set to keep the Griezmann-Nikola Kalinić pair together, and observations from training point to Cholo thinking about a cuatropivote for this match. Diego Godín may be rested in anticipation of Wednesday’s Champions League fixture at Borussia Dortmund.
Oblak; Juanfran, Giménez, Lucas, Filipe Luís; Rodri, Thomas, Koke, Saúl; Griezmann, Kalinić.
Villarreal 0-2 Atlético Madrid.
How to watch
Date: Oct. 20, 2018
Location: Estadio La Cerámica, Villarreal, Valencia, Spain
Kickoff time: 6:30 p.m. CEST, 5:30 p.m. GMT/BST, 12:30 p.m. EST, 9:30 a.m. PST
SB Nation opposition blog: Villarreal USA
Available TV/streaming: beIN LaLiga, Movistar+ (Spain), Eleven Sports 1 (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), DAZN (Germany), Eleven Sports 2 (Belgium), beIN Sports 2 (Australia), PPTV Sport (China)
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