Atletico Madrid welcome relegation strugglers Deportivo La Coruna to the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday evening as they look to stay within touching distance on runaway league leaders FC Barcelona.
Diego Simeone’s side’s title chances have all but crumbled in recent weeks after two defeats in their last three matches and now sit 12 points behind the Catalans who are still unbeaten in La Liga this season.
However, recent slip-ups have also allowed city rivals Real Madrid to narrow the gap to second place to just one point after their 3-0 victory over Las Palmas and with the two titans set to collide next weekend, there can no more room for error.
Whilst victory is a must for Atletico, three points is also desperately needed for Deportivo who currently lie in 19th, eight points adrift from safety.
Manager Clarence Seedorf has had an awful time since taking over in February, failing to win a game and taking just three points from seven matches.
Unless things change drastically, it’s looking like Deportivo will have to start preparing for next season in the Segunda Division.
Diego Simeone will be without top goalscorer Antoine Griezmann and winger Victor Vitolo due to suspension.
Lucas Hernandez and Stefan Savic are likely to start as Juanfran and Jose Maria Gimenez remain unavailable for selection.
Clarence Seedorf has no new injury concerns.
Luisinho is expected to fill in at left-back as Fernando Navarro is suspended.
– In the reverse fixture in November, Atletico won 1-0 with a 90+1-minute winner from Thomas Partey
– Atletico have won 8 out of their past 9 home matches.
– Deportivo have failed to score in 6 of their past 8 away matches.
Atletico XI – (4-4-2) – Oblak, Vrsaljko, Godin, Savic, Hernandez, Koke, Gabi, Partey, Niguez, Costa, Gameiro
Deportivo XI – (4-3-3) – Martinez, Juanfran, Sidnei, Albentosa, Luisinho, Muntari, Mosquera, Guilherme, Perez, Andone, Lopez
Both sides need a win for different reasons. Atletico may already have one eye set on the Europa League tie with Sporting Lisbon in midweek but I still think they’ll have too much quality for a Deportivo side who need a miracle to avoid relegation.
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna
Featured image courtesy of Fernandopascullo