Atlético Madrid’s penultimate league game takes place Thursday night at Getafe, a top-five matchup featuring two sides jostling for final positioning in the season’s final week.
Cholo’s crew clinched their Champions League place over the weekend via a win over Real Betis. Though Sevilla’s win over Mallorca completed the top-four puzzle, Getafe still can net a second top-six finish in as many seasons if Thursday night’s match and Sunday’s fixture at Levante both end positively.
Pepe Bordalás’ side hung onto its best players last summer and remained highly-competitive as a result. Marc Cucurella emerged as a star, throwing an extra helping of technical quality into this industrious, hard-nosed stew. Getafe’s double pivot of Mauro Arambarri (linked with Atlético before) and Nemanja Maksimovic is tough to get through, and Bordalás has counted on two double-digit goalscorers up front.
Training reports point to Diego Simeone handing another start to impressive teenager Manu Sánchez while resting Koke. Kieran Trippier is touch-and-go following a dizziness spell that knocked him out of the Betis game, and João Félix is still recovering from his ankle problem — don’t expect to see him before next month’s Champions League quarterfinal against RB Leipzig.
Possible XI Oblak; Arias, Felipe, Savić, Manu Sánchez; Thomas, Saúl, Correa, Carrasco; Llorente, Costa.
Prediction Atlético’s aggregate scoreline against Getafe since Simeone’s appointment as coach is nothing less than staggering. Los Colchoneros have won 11 league games in a row against their community rivals, with 28 goals for and zero against. Getafe will be motivated — a victory for Bordalás’ men combined with a Villarreal loss against Real Madrid will pull them into a fifth-place tie (though Villarreal have the head-to-head advantage).
But Atlético will be motivated, too, as a win would put the visitors within touching distance of third place. The home side will have to score, something it hasn’t done against Atlético in nearly a decade. That barren run has to end sometime. This feels like a game in which a draw doesn’t really help either team, but will end in a draw anyway. 1-1
My record on the season 25-22
Date July 16, 2020
Location Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, Getafe, Madrid, Spain
Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST
Available TV/streaming Movistar LaLiga 2 (Spain), Premier Player HD (United Kingdom), Fanatiz USA (United States), DIRECTV Sports (Argentina, Uruguay), beIN Sports CONNECT (France, Qatar), PPTV Sport (China)