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RCD Espanyol-Atlético Madrid: Champions land in Cornellà

A 95-year-old matchup gets a fresh installment on Sunday.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Villarreal CF - La Liga Santander
Stefan Savić was named Atlético’s fourth captain on Saturday.
Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

One of Spain’s oldest fixtures — Espanyol versus Atlético Madrid — will kick off Sunday action in LaLiga.

Atlético begin a busy month, with six games on the schedule. This match, coming off the international break, is a banana peel — newly-promoted Espanyol have not lost any of its past three home meetings with Atleti.

RCD Mallorca v RCD Espanyol - La Liga Santander
Sergi Darder of Espanyol runs with the ball during the La Liga Santader match between RCD Mallorca and RCD Espanyol at Estadio de Son Moix on August 27, 2021 in Mallorca, Spain.
Photo by Cristian Trujillo/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

“The names do not make a good team, but the men do,” Diego Simeone said Saturday when asked about his squad’s strength. “Tomorrow, we will play a complex, difficult opponent who always feels good in their stadium, where the physical condition will be important and the game will be tough, as they all are in LaLiga.”

Simeone welcomed back Antoine Griezmann this week after the forward returned from France duty, and he made it clear much will be expected of the 30-year-old, who scored four times against Espanyol during his first Atlético stint.

“I have found a Griezmann with a great desire to return to Atleti,” Simeone said. “I expect our fans will demand as much of Griezmann as we do, daily.

“I understand absolutely everything (about the fans’ annoyance with Griezmann’s departure), and moreover, that we need to continue competing as well as possible. I look for what is best for the team and the club.”

Club Atletico de Madrid v Elche CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Simeone will have his full squad available on Sunday, as South American internationals Ángel Correa, Rodrigo De Paul, and José Giménez have returned from CONMEBOL qualifiers to make themselves available for selection.

Marca claimed Saturday that Griezmann will go straight into the 11 and partner former Barcelona teammate Luis Suárez — who is ready to play after knee swelling ruled him out of Uruguay’s World Cup qualifying matches. New captain Stefan Savić, who sustained an ankle injury while with Montenegro, is set to start as well, while João Félix — now recovered from his own ankle trouble — is likely to begin from the bench in Cornellà.

This game preview also serves as our live gamethread — start a conversation in the comments!

Squad news

Date Sept. 12, 2021

Location RCDE Stadium, Cornellà de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain

Kickoff time 2:00 p.m. CEST, 1:00 p.m. BST, 8:00 a.m. EST, 5:00 a.m. PST

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom)