Atlético de Madrid — winners of six consecutive games in LaLiga — head for the Canary Islands for a Friday night showdown with newly-promoted Las Palmas.
This will be the first meeting between Atlético Madrid (8-1-1, 25 points) and Las Palmas (4-2-5, 14 points) since January 2018. Dating back to 1987, Atlético have won its past eight meetings against this particular opponent, which has just emerged from a five-year stay in the second tier of Spanish football.
Las Palmas have impressed this season with its possession-based style. Under head coach García Pimienta (a former farmhand at La Masia), Los Amarillos have averaged 58.5 percent possession, a figure inferior only to FC Barcelona. They have taken the most touches in its defensive third of any team in LaLiga, and only Barça have accrued more total touches in the middle third of the pitch.
Despite all that possession, Las Palmas have scored just eight times in 11 games. Three of those goals are penalties.
“(Las Palmas) play well,” LaLiga Coach of the Month Diego Simeone told the media on Thursday. “They’re brave, they're risky, they want to take control of the game with a goalkeeper who plays high up the pitch, like a center-back, dictating play.
“I like how they play. They’re going to have the ball for a long time, and I hope we play the kind of game where we can cause damage.”
Simeone is expected to make only one change from the side that defeated Alavés on Sunday, as young midfielder Pablo Barrios should make his first start since mid-September in place of Saúl Ñíguez. Backup goalkeeper Ivo Grbić did not train Thursday due to illness, and he is not expected to travel with the team. Reinildo Mandava will not be in Friday’s squad either, but he is getting closer to a return from his ACL injury.
Samuel Lino and Memphis Depay also remain unavailable. While Rodrigo Riquelme has more than made up for the former’s absence, the latter has played only eight minutes since the start of September and just 15 percent of the available minutes since he joined Atlético in January.
“It’s good for us to have the injured players back, it gives us more pieces in the squad,” Simeone said. “Reinildo is working, but he’s not able to compete yet. We hope Lino rejoins the group next week and Memphis as soon as possible, because we need him.”
Estos son los futbolistas que componen la expedición rojiblanca a Gran Canaria. pic.twitter.com/M9fFGnL3Yw— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) November 2, 2023
Date Nov. 3, 2023
Location Estadio Gran Canaria, Las Palmas
Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 4:00 p.m. ET, 1:00 p.m. PT