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Atlético de Madrid - Deportivo Alavés: Capitalizing on the Clásico?

Atlético have not lost a home match to Alavés since 2003.

Celtic FC v Atletico Madrid: Group E - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Marcos Llorente’s strong second half at Celtic Park might be rewarded with a start against former team Alavés.
Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

After a midweek draw in the Champions League, Atlético de Madrid will hope to get back on the winning path against Alavés on Sunday night.

Atlético Madrid (7-1-1, 22 points) can consolidate its position in LaLiga’s title race — and move into third place past Barcelona — with a sixth consecutive win in the competition, as well as its 15th consecutive home win in all competitions dating to last season.

Atlético failed to beat Celtic in an intense game on Wednesday, but the 2-2 draw saw Antoine Griezmann and Álvaro Morata get on the scoresheet once again. That duo has been scoring quite a bit over the season’s opening months.

“There are no secrets in football,” Diego Simeone told the media when asked about the pair’s high-flying start to the season. “There are periods of form, there is forcefulness, there are performances, and there are partnerships like the one we’re seeing.”

On the other hand, Alavés (2-3-5, 9 points) have endured some brutal luck in front of goal this season — its first back in Primera after spending 2022/23 in the second tier. The Basque side has rung up at least 1.5 expected goals from each of its past five games, but has zero wins to show for it. If its luck changes on Sunday, on-loan forward Samu Omorodion will likely have something to do with it.

Villarreal CF v Deportivo Alaves - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Aitor Aitor Alcalde Colomer/Getty Images

Samu, on loan from Atlético, has scored twice since joining Alavés (underperforming his xG by nearly two full goals). The 19-year-old forward has a chance to be among the goals at the Metropolitano for two different sides this season — neither being Atleti, as he grabbed a consolation goal for Granada on matchday one, shortly before he made the move to Madrid.

“He’s getting better,” Simeone said of Samu. “He’s young, with a lot of strength, he has speed to cover long distances and he uses his body very well in the penalty area. I hope he does well at Alavés because he has a future at Atlético de Madrid. He was with us for only a few days, but he seems like a humble and hard-working kid.”

Atlético’s defense will be bolstered for the occasion, as José Giménez is expected to return to the squad after a four-week absence due to a foot injury. Marcos Llorente’s strong performance off the bench at Celtic Park could see him return to the starting 11 in place of Saúl Ñíguez — although instability at left wing-back in Samuel Lino’s absence might see Saúl play the position himself on Sunday.

“We had a good second half the other day (in Glasgow), it’s always good to have more players available,” Simeone said of Atleti’s relative return to fitness. “From there, we can think about how to start in the best way against Alavés, to play the game we imagine.”

Date Oct. 29, 2023

Location Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 4:00 p.m. ET, 1:00 p.m. PT

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