After a midweek win over Club Brugge, Atlético Madrid turn now to LaLiga — where they have a chance to take over first place with a win over Real Betis on Sunday afternoon.
Antoine Griezmann’s double stole the headlines from Atlético’s 3-1 win at the Wanda Metropolitano on Wednesday, but Diego Simeone lost two key players to injury in that match. Diego Costa and José Giménez will be out at least through the international break with hamstring pulls — and that’s in addition to Stefan Savić and Vitolo remaining on the shelf. As such, Simeone could choose to roll out another unorthodox side after Atlético began Wednesday’s match in a 3-4-1-2 formation (more on that in a bit).
Meanwhile, Real Betis have overcome their own slow start and have first-place ambitions too. Betis have not beaten Atlético away in nearly seven years, but Quique Setién’s side breezed past Dudelange in the the Europa League on Thursday and haven’t lost a league match since the opening round. Expect the visitors to have lots of possession — Betis held the ball more than 65 percent of the time in both meetings with Atleti last season.
This would seem a golden opportunity to hand Nikola Kalinić his first start in red and white, but Simeone thinks otherwise according to the latest rumblings. It seems El Cholo will place Griezmann at the point of attack in a 4-5-1/4-1-4-1. Rodri could drop deepest with Saúl and Thomas Partey ahead of him and Koke and Thomas Lemar out wide. Still it’s expected Kalinić will play some role on Sunday and Borja Garcés could see action as well.
Oblak; Juanfran, Lucas, Godín, Filipe Luís; Thomas; Rodri, Saúl, Koke, Lemar; Griezmann.
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Real Betis.
How to watch
Date: Oct. 7, 2018
Location: Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Kickoff time: 4:15 p.m. CEST, 3:15 p.m. GMT/BST, 10:15 a.m. EST, 7:15 a.m. PST
SB Nation opposition blog: N/A
Available TV/streaming: beIN LaLiga (Spain), Eleven Sports 1 (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), beIN Sports Connect (France), DAZN (Germany), Strive Sport (Norway), QQ Sports Live (China)
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