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Atlético de Madrid - Sevilla FC: Griezmann is one shot from becoming all-time top scorer

The final game of 2023, making up a fixture that was supposed to be played in September.

Atletico Madrid v Getafe CF - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Atlético de Madrid on Saturday welcome struggling Sevilla to the Cívitas Metropolitano, hoping to end calendar year 2023 with a win to halt its recent slump.

December has not been a kind month to Atlético Madrid (11-2-4, 35 points). Los Rojiblancos have fallen into a tie for fourth place in LaLiga with red-hot Athletic Club after a stretch of one win from four in the league, including losses to Athletic and FC Barcelona prior to a draw (with 10 men) against Getafe on Tuesday.

That makes this game in hand against Quique Sánchez Flores and Sevilla (3-7-7, 16 points) even more important, as Atlético with a victory would move level on points with Barcelona and within seven points of co-leaders Real Madrid and Girona Atleti’s next opponent in LaLiga following the holiday break. Sevilla have never won in the Metropolitano, but are coming off a badly-needed 3-0 victory against relegation-threatened rivals Granada on Tuesday.

“Since the beginning of the season, there has been the same responsibility,” head coach Diego Simeone told the media on Friday. “We’re going to measure ourselves against a team that was very solid in Granada, with experienced players and a coach who knows Atlético.”

Of course, there is more at stake on Saturday than consolidation of a top-four spot with more than half the season still to come. Antoine Griezmann tied Luis Aragonés as Atlético’s all-time top scorer on Tuesday, and he will claim the record for himself with another goal on Saturday. The Frenchman has nine goals from 26 games against Sevilla in his career, and he scored a brace against this opponent in a 6-1 win back in March.

In team news, José Giménez returned to training on Friday and is expected to start for a defense that missed his leadership in the frantic 3-3 draw with Getafe. Rodrigo Riquelme gave away an unfortunate penalty at the end of Tuesday’s game, but he is expected to keep his place in the 11 and share the left-hand side with Samuel Lino again. Rodrigo de Paul debuted a new hairstyle at Friday’s training session and should complete the midfield trio alongside Koke — who can negotiate with any club in 10 days as a pending free agent.

De Paul is very important for us,” Simeone said. “All the growth that he presents us will surely be good, first for him and then in creating a stronger team.”

Date Dec. 23, 2023

Location Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 7:15 a.m. PT

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), DAZN LaLiga (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom)