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.”
Recupera efectivos Simeone de cara a la Real.— Belén Sánchez García (@Belen_Boli) May 26, 2023
✅Morata y Savic se unen al grupo.
Lemar trabaja junto al recuperador sobre el césped.
❌ Oblak, Llorente, Memphis y Reinildo.#JUGONES pic.twitter.com/Zv238N96ha
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 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.”
¡Estos son los jugadores rojiblancos citados para el Atleti-Real Sociedad! pic.twitter.com/SD05odFEBf— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) May 27, 2023
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