Sam Leveridge, Madrid-based Freelance Sports Journalist
Atlético Madrid have not lost at home since the 8th of January, how confident will they be of extending this run? What makes the Civitas Metropolitano such a fortress?
Obviously, the midweek draw against Getafe didn’t end as Atleti hoped, but the support and belief of this team at home is impressive. Goals are scored for fun and there’s a real sense that Atleti enjoy playing football at the Metropolitano and can express themselves. That buzz extends to the stands, and with this game coming just before the holidays, there’ll be a great atmosphere and a real desire to end the year on a high.
How wary of the new manager bounce will Atlético Madrid be against a coach who has previously been in charge of Atleti?
Atleti fans know all about Quique Sánchez Flores and respect him a lot. They know just how hard his teams can be to beat and Atleti fans are much more nervous about facing Sevilla now than they were a few weeks ago. New manager bounces are always a concern, especially after the reaction Sevilla had this week, but Colchoneros trust in Diego Simeone more than any other fan base trusts their coach.
Sevilla fans are still getting to know Quique Sánchez Flores after he arrived this week. Having helped Átletico to their first European silverware in almost 50 years, how is he remembered at the club?
Quique Sánchez Flores is very well respected by Atleti fans. That silverware was pivotal for the club, not only for what it meant but also for the work he did to lay the foundations of what Atleti are today. Of course, Diego Simeone deservedly takes all the credit, but it wouldn’t have been as easy a task had Sánchez Flores not laid the groundwork to make it possible by building a solid squad with some extremely talented players. That Europa League win was the highlight of many fans whole lives supporting Atleti until Simeone arrived and produced even better.
Antoine Griezmann has just become Atlético’s all-time leading scorer. Has he been the most impressive player for the hosts so far this season?
I think it would be fair to say he’s been one of, if not the, best players in the world this calendar year. Griezmann’s contribution can’t be underestimated because he’s been in excellent goalscoring form and is on track for his most prolific season yet in an Atleti shirt, but also for his defensive work rate that means that he contributes all over the field. You’re just as likely to see him tracking back to make a crucial tackle as you are to see him celebrating a goal. That’s the spirit that helps him to define this Atleti team.
What are your hopes and expectations for the rest of the season for Atleti?
All Atleti fans will recognise that the first objective is to qualify for the Champions League. Beyond that, there’s real hope that this team with its mix of young energy, like Rodrigo Riquelme and Samuel Lino, and veterans, like Koke and Jan Oblak can compete for silverware and push for the LaLiga title. The offensive play so far this season has been superb, and there’s a feeling that no defence can stop Atleti right now. With that in mind, a great run in the Copa del Rey and even the Champions League should be expected.
The preview of...
Atlético de Madrid-Sevilla FC, the rescheduled match from Matchday four in LaLiga EA Sports which was originally postponed due to weather conditions in Madrid. The game kicks off at 16:15 CET.
The home side find themselves in the final Champions League place on 35 points. We come into the game in fifteenth place on 16 points.
The last three Atlético de Madrid-Sevilla FC matches:
20/21 Atlético de Madrid 2-0 Sevilla FC
21/22 Atlético de Madrid 1-1 Sevilla FC
22/23 Atlético de Madrid 6-1 Sevilla FC
Atlético de Madrid 1-0 RCD Mallorca
FC Barcelona 1-0 Atlético de Madrid
Atlético de Madrid 2-1 UD Almería
Athletic Club 2-0 Atlético de Madrid
Atlético de Madrid 3-3 Getafe CF
Quique Sánchez Flores Sow and Rakitic return to the matchday squad followin their absence at Granada. The full 23-man squad is as follows: Dmitrovic, Alberto Flores, Juanlu, Gattoni, Gudelj, Marcao, Ramos, Kike Salas, Pedrosa, Soumaré, Sow, Rakitic, Óliver Torres, Suso, Ocampos, Januzaj, En-Nesyri, Rafa Mir, Matías, Darío, Manu Bueno, Lulo and Ibra.
For the home side, Diego Simeone is without suspended centreback duo Savic and Hermoso.
Soto Grado will be the refree. De Burgos Bengoechea is on VAR duty.