After an emotional exit from the Champions League against Manchester City, Atlético de Madrid look maintain a grip on a top-four finish on Sunday afternoon (3:15pm UK) against mid-table Espanyol.
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Where to watch Atlético de Madrid vs Espanyol on TV:
- UK: Bet365 (see above)
- US: ESPN+
Atlético de Madrid team news
On the heels of a fiery, hard-fought, ill-tempered but ultimately disappointing Champions League quarterfinal against Manchester City, Atlético de Madrid return to the Wanda Metropolitano, looking to maintain a stranglehold on a top-four league finish. A spot in the top four – and the Champions League sport that comes with it – seemed a foregone conclusion for much of the season. However, a couple of missteps, combined with Barcelona’s resurgence and returns to form for Real Sociedad and Real Betis have left Atleti with some work to do if they’re to return to the Champions League.
The most recent of those missteps – after six straight wins in the league – came in their last outing, away to relegation-threatened Mallorca. Given the massive showdown with Man City, the shock defeat could be excused, though it was always going to complicate Atleti’s road to the top four. Now, in light of their Champions League exit, that disastrous result could potentially derail their season. Though they’ve got a game in hand on each, Atleti now sit level on points with Real Betis (57; with an identical +19 goal difference) and are just two up under Real Sociedad in sixth.
On the bright side, they enter this weekend’s action with a clean bill of health, a home pitch advantage and a significantly less talented mid table opponent with little left to play for this season. Barring a significant emotional hangover from their midweek clash, it’s tough to imagine Atleti failing to secure all three points against Espanyol.
Atlético de Madrid predicted XI: Oblak; Lodi, Mandava, Felipe, Savić, Vrsaljko; Koke, Kondogbia, Llorente; Griezmann, João Félix
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Espanyol team news
Meanwhile, the situation for Espanyol is rather straightforward. Los Periquitos currently sit 11th in La Liga, 16 points off of the European spots, and in no danger of slipping into a relegation battle.
Their last three outings (two of them victories) have all finished 1-0, and none of their last five outings have seen more than two goals. Surely Espanyol will be motivated to put in a strong showing against one of the league’s top sides, but they can be excused if their intensity is not on par with a Atleti’s. It’s fair to expect a solid, professional effort, but it’s exceedingly difficult to see Espanyol salvaging a result from this game.
Espanyol predicted XI: López; Gil, Calero, Cabrera, Pedrosa; López, Darder, Bare; Puado, Wu Lei, Raúl de Tomás
La Liga 2021/22 recent form:
- Atlético de Madrid: WWWWL
- Espanyol: WDWLW
Scoreline prediction: Atlético de Madrid 2-0 Espanyol
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