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Atlético de Madrid - Real Sociedad: Consolidating third place

Atlético were atrocious defensively in midweek. Will Sunday be any better?

RCD Espanyol v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander
Can Saúl make it three games in a row with a goal?
Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid likely capitulated second place on Wednesday following a horrendous defensive display at relegation candidates Espanyol, and the Colchoneros now will be looking to lock up no worse than third against Real Sociedad this weekend.

La Real (20-8-8, 68 points) wobbled after the FIFA World Cup but have rebounded to join Atlético (22-7-7, 73 points) in the top four — and likely in next season’s UEFA Champions League as well. Atleti will be looking to end the season on a nine-game home winning streak and at least keep pressure on second-place Real Madrid (23-5-8, 74 points) entering the final day.

Atlético have never lost to Imañol Alguacil’s Real Sociedad at the Metropolitano, and the Txuri-Urdin haven’t beaten Atleti in Madrid since 2013.

“(Real Sociedad) are a team that plays very well,” Diego Simeone told the media on Saturday. “The manager knows the academy, what the club needs. He’s helped a lot of guys grow, and he’s given the team a lot of character.”

Injuries have beset Atlético for the past month, but Simeone was able to welcome Álvaro Morata (neck) and Stefan Savić (broken toe) back to training on Friday when it once seemed that both players would miss the rest of the season. Thomas Lemar has also stepped up his recovery from a muscle injury, but Memphis, Marcos Llorente, and Jan Oblak all remain unavailable.

Real Sociedad v UD Almeria - LaLiga Santander
Take Kubo has nine goals and four assists in LaLiga this season.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Sociedad will try to push its current unbeaten run to eight, but will have to do so without influential playmaker David Silva (muscle tear). The Txuri-Urdin have already secured their first 20-win season in LaLiga for 20 years — wins in their final two games will equal the achievement of their iconic 2002/03 side, which won 22 games and nearly the league to boot.

“Tomorrow, we face a team that plays very well, a team that has grown a lot and one that has a great virtue — it’s the team that commits the most fouls in the opponent’s half of the field,” Simeone said. “They cut out counterattacks, we know that it’s a team that ends play very quickly so that the rival doesn’t go on the counterattack.”

Date May 28, 2023

Location Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 7:00 p.m. CEST, 6:00 p.m. BST, 1:00 p.m. EST, 10:00 a.m. PST

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