Atlético Madrid failed to break down a bunkered Huesca defense on Wednesday but will face its polar opposite in the capital on Saturday afternoon.
Villarreal handed new manager Unai Emery a new left-back in Pervis Estupiñán, and the club landed Francis Coquelin, Dani Parejo and Take Kubo (on loan from Real Madrid) for a combined €9 million. The Yellow Submarine rallied to draw versus Huesca and defeat Eibar before succumbing to a 4-0 loss at Barcelona and running out 3-1 winners against Alavés.
Emery’s attack-minded team is expected to be in the top-four conversation as the league season unfolds — and this battle will serve as an early test for Los Colchoneros.
“I think that the game against Granada and the start and the second half against Huesca is the line we must follow,” Simeone said Friday. “We hope to take the game where we want tomorrow.
“We will face a great team with great footballers that will compete for the highest positions in the competition.”
Villarreal appear to be done adding to its squad, while Atlético are still trying to get two deals over the line before the transfer window closes Monday night. Lucas Torreira arrived in Madrid on Friday to complete a loan switch from Arsenal, but he won’t be signed unless Atleti can sell Héctor Herrera or Thomas Lemar (or both). Meanwhile, Diego Costa is nearly-certain to see out his contract’s final year — a hammer blow for Edinson Cavani, the free agent who has been the object of the club’s desires all year.
“I spoke with Costa before the season started, and he knows what I want from him, what I need and what we have in mind,” Simeone said.
Cholo also spoke about his side’s newly-unveiled Champions League group, finalized during Thursday’s draw.
“We already played Lokomotiv Moscow last season, they are a difficult rival to play at home,” he said. “Salzburg were a revelation last season against Liverpool and Napoli. They made a very good start to the Champions League and with a very unique game. Bayern Munich are the best of all...I admire seeing a team press the way they do.
“We will have to give our best to move forward.”
Los Rojiblancos are unbeaten in four against Villarreal and last lost a home match to the Valencian side at the Vicente Calderón in 2017. Ángel Correa, Koke and João Félix answered Paco Alcácer’s opener the last time these two met in February.
Possible XI Oblak; Trippier, Savić, Felipe, Lodi; Thomas, Saúl, Koke, Carrasco; Félix, Suárez.
Date Oct. 3, 2020
Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Kickoff time 4:00 p.m. CET, 3:00 p.m. GMT, 10:00 a.m. EST, 7:00 a.m. PST
SB Nation opposition blog Villarreal USA
Available TV/streaming Movistar+ (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), ESPN 2 Sur (Uruguay), Canal+ Sport 1 (Ghana), Sky HD (Mexico), Guangdong Sports Channel (China)