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UD Las Palmas - Atlético de Madrid: Friday on the islands

The first meeting between these two sides in nearly six years.

Atletico Madrid v Deportivo Alaves - LaLiga EA Sports
Koke scored twice on Atlético’s last visit to Gran Canaria in 2017.
Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

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.”

UD Las Palmas v Rayo Vallecano - LaLiga EA Sports
Las Palmas goalkeeper Álvaro Valles stands on the ball.
Photo by Gabriel Jimenez Lorenzo/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

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.”

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

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), M+ LaLiga TV (Spain), Viaplay Xtra (United Kingdom)