Atlético Madrid’s focus is on next week’s Europa League semifinal second leg — but in the meantime, the mattress makers will try to strengthen their grip on second place when they visit Deportivo Alavés.
Diego Simeone has omitted several key players from the matchday squad (more on that below) in anticipation of Arsenal’s visit Thursday. This of course goes against his well-known “partido a partido” philosophy, but Atlético will remain in second place at least for another week regardless of the result at Alavés.
Abelardo’s men are up to 13th in the table following a wretched start but are too far away from the European places to mount a serious challenge for one. Atlético beat Alavés at home in December with a Fernando Torres goal, and the last time El Glorioso beat los colchoneros at Mendizorroza was Dec. 14, 2002 — when Abelardo marked Torres in a 2-0 win.
Simeone has decided to leave out José Giménez, Antoine Griezmann, Saúl Ñíguez and Jan Oblak. Diego Costa will start, a decision made easier by the player’s absence from the 1-1 draw at Emirates Stadium, and Axel Werner is expected to make his Liga Santander debut following twin starts against Lokomotiv Moscow in the Europa League last month. Five canteranos have been called up for this game — including Carlos Isaac, who made his debut earlier this month against Deportivo La Coruña.
Werner; Vrsaljko, Savić, Godín, Lucas; Gabi, Koke, Correa, Vitolo; Costa, Torres.
Alavés 1-2 Atlético Madrid.
How to watch
Date: April 29, 2018
Location: Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain
Kickoff time: 16:15 CEST, 15:15 GMT/BST, 10:15 a.m. EST, 7:15 a.m. PST
SB Nation opposition blog: N/A
Available TV/streaming: beIN LaLiga, Movistar+ (Spain), NOW TV, Sky Sports Football (United Kingdom), beIN Sports en Español, fuboTV (United States), beIN Sports MAX 7 (France), Sky Planeta Fútbol (Mexico), PPTV Sport, QQ Sports Live (China)
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