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CA Osasuna - Atlético de Madrid: More of an injury report than a preview

Will Atlético have enough players to keep the momentum going?

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports
César Azpilicueta will start against his former club as a right-sided central defender.
Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Atlético de Madrid are expected to have just 13 first-team players available for Thursday's trip to Pamplona, where Los Rojiblancos will take on Copa del Rey finalists Osasuna at El Sadar.

The list of injuries at Atlético Madrid (3-1-1, 10 points) continues to swell. While Sunday’s derby win over Real Madrid brought newfound excitement and momentum, the aftermath has seen multiple new injuries with which Diego Simeone now has to deal. The “casualties” for Thursday's match include:

  • Memphis Depay, who suffered another foot injury in training on Wednesday;
  • Stefan Savić, who is experiencing muscular pain;
  • and Ángel Correa, who has sustained an MCL sprain in his right knee and will miss multiple games.

The following players remain unavailable, having previously been injured while on international duty:

  • Pablo Barrios (hamstring pull)
  • Çağlar Söyüncü (groin tightness)
  • Rodrigo de Paul (muscle strain)

In addition, Simeone still has to contend with the long-term absences of Reinildo (torn ACL) and Thomas Lemar (ruptured Achilles tendon), although the former is inching ever closer to a return.

“We’re working accordingly in response to the injuries to have the best players available, and we’re thinking about a complex, difficult rival like Osasuna,” Simeone told the media on Wednesday.

CA Osasuna v Sevilla FC - LaLiga EA Sports
Johan Mojica of CA Osasuna in action during the LaLiga EA Sports match between CA Osasuna and Sevilla FC at Estadio El Sadar on September 23, 2023 in Pamplona, Spain.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Jagoba Arrasate’s Osasuna (2-1-3, 7 points) are winless in the past three games, but Los Rojillos were a bit unlucky in a 3-2 away defeat to Getafe, and they played well in a goalless draw with Sevilla on Saturday. Seven different players have scored Osasuna’s seven goals in LaLiga this season, and Arrasate’s men are seeking their first home win of the campaign — not to mention their first home win over Atlético since February 2014.

“Honestly, I’m thinking about Osasuna, the events of the derby are behind me,” Simeone said. “I’m thinking about the hope of a brave opponent who hasn't had the results they wanted and has a great coach, with a very clear idea of what he wants.”

Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid CF - LaLiga EA Sports
Saúl has 3 assists in 5 games this season.
Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Simeone will hand César Azpilicueta a start against his former club, and the 34-year-old will replace Savić on the right side of Atlético’s defense in the only anticipated change from the side that faced Madrid. Saúl Ñíguez — LaLiga’s current assists leader — will look to continue his strong form in midfield by scoring in a third consecutive meeting with Osasuna.

Saúl has worked with great enthusiasm and humility since he returned in order to take advantage of the time he’s given,” Simeone said. “He is confident, he feels better and better. He’s assured and important for the team. The players who know how to wait for their moment humbly make me very happy. We have to take advantage of it.”

Date Sept. 28, 2023

Location El Sadar, Pamplona, Navarre

Kickoff time 9:30 p.m. CEST, 8:30 p.m. BST, 3:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. PT

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