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Atlético de Madrid - Cádiz CF: A new challenge at the Metropolitano

There’s good news in the squad list.

Osasuna v Atletico Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports
Griezmann scored a brace the last time Atlético played Cádiz.
Photo by David S.Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Atlético de Madrid are seeking a third win on the trot when Cádiz visit the Cívitas Metropolitano in Sunday night action.

Atletico Madrid (4-1-1, 13 points) followed up its inspiring win in the Madrid Derby with a gritty (and fortunate) victory over Osasuna on Thursday, made all the more impressive considering that eight first-team players were unavailable to Diego Simeone. Although Álvaro Morata’s late red card at El Sadar means he won't play Sunday night, Simeone is in position to call up Rodrigo de Paul and Ángel Correa as both players appear to have recovered from recent injuries.

Correa, initially expected to miss multiple games with a low-grade ligament sprain in his right knee, is now in line to start next to Antoine Griezmann following a quick recovery. If Simeone opts for caution, Rodrigo Riquelme — who on Thursday scored his first goal for the first team — could be handed the start instead.

“We’ll try to resolve (the difficulties for the upcoming game) in the best way, physically and tactically,” Simeone told the media on Saturday. “Now we have Correa back, and we’ll have (Atlético B players) Salim, Kostis, and Gismera. If they are selected, it's because they’ll have a chance to play.”

Athletic Club v Cadiz CF - LaLiga EA Sports
Darwin Machís has two goals in 376 minutes this season.
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Cádiz (2-3-2, 9 points) have struggled since recording an impressive 3-1 win over Villarreal to kick off September. The Andalusian side has scored only one goal in the past three games — and just two goals from open play in the first seven games — but Sergio’s men the past two weeks have held out for draws against Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano. And given Atlético’s busy schedule since the international break, Simeone is alert to slipping on the metaphorical banana peel.

“There are more games now than in other times,” he said. “You have to look at it tactically and positionally and rest. There is no other way to recover than with rest, to have a clear head and be available on Sunday, Wednesday and Sunday.”

CA Osasuna v Atletico Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports
The doubt for Simeone — Azpi in for Witsel?
Photo by Ion Alcoba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The other big doubt in Simeone’s 11 for this Sunday will be deciding who occupies Stefan Savić’s place in defense. The Montenegrin (muscular fatigue) is unlikely to play Sunday, while both César Azpilicueta and Axel Witsel are playing well at the moment.

Meanwhile, the Koke-Saúl-Marcos Llorente trio in midfield is not expected to change until Wednesday, when de Paul could return to the 11 against Feyenoord in the Champions League. And in goal, Jan Oblak will make his 400th appearance in all competitions for Atleti, becoming one of only 10 Rojiblancos to reach that figure.

Date Oct. 1, 2023

Location Estadio Cívitas Metropolitano, Madrid

Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CEST, 8:00 p.m. BST, 3:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. PT

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