Atlético Madrid are guaranteed a 10th consecutive top-three finish under Diego Simeone with one more victory against Sevilla on Sunday.
Atlético (20-7-9, 67 points) took the scenic route there but clinched Champions League football for next season after beating Elche 2-0 on Wednesday. This leaves just one top-four spot up for grabs this season, and though Sevilla (17-15-4, 66 points) are highly-likely to secure it, Julen Lopetegui’s men have to beat Atleti to make sure.
Sevilla have the most draws in LaLiga and have not completed a league double over Atlético since 2009. The Andalusian side won this season’s first meeting at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán.
Diego Simeone seems set to turn once more to the Antoine Griezmann-Luis Suárez pairing that struggled so mightily in a 2-0 loss at Athletic Club two weeks ago. Part of the motivation for returning to this forward pair is down to Suárez, who is probably playing his final home game for Atlético seeing that his contract is unlikely to be renewed after the season.
Suárez, whose 21-goal haul last year won Atleti the league title, has been a substitute most of this season — and Cholo explained how deeply he respects El Pistolero for adapting to such an unfamiliar role.
“I had a talk with Luis in mid-November — a difficult, long, and sincere talk,” Simeone said Saturday. “The two of us were able to talk about what we saw, what we had to do to compete, and what we were going to need from him. Truly, from that day until today, we each respectively understood what we were going to do.
“Last season was tremendous, and I’m grateful. This season, he is still our top scorer, and tomorrow he will play. I always tip my cap to people who are committed and behave in the way Luis has behaved.”
At least one other change will be made to Atlético’s 11 on Sunday night. Marcos Llorente will step back in for the injured Šime Vrsaljko, while Simeone also spoke about Daniel Wass’s role for the final two games. The Dane has played only once for Atleti since arriving from Valencia — a 45-minute cameo against FC Barcelona in February, at the end of which he suffered a knee injury that kept him sidelined for several weeks.
Cholo did not necessarily rule out that Wass could leave in the summer, less than five months after arriving.
“I spoke with him a couple weeks ago, explaining a little bit of what I see, what I felt at the time, what happened after his arrival and his injury, and the lack of rhythm he’s been having,” Simeone said. “In a final run of games where we have to decide who to count on to compete, we chose other players (at right-back). He couldn’t have that continuity of games, which is the only way that I can see him better in training.”
Your Atleti squad list for tomorrow's game! pic.twitter.com/vcf4EPxk51— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) May 14, 2022
Date May 15, 2022
Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid
Kickoff time 7:30 p.m. CEST, 5:30 p.m. GMT, 1:30 p.m. EST, 10:30 a.m. PST
Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), Movistar+ (Spain), Premier Sports 1 (United Kingdom)