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Preview: Sevilla vs. Atletico Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups
18/12/2021 14:50:23

Atletico Madrid will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats in La Liga when they continue their title defence against Sevilla at Estadio Ramon on Saturday night.


Diego Simeone's side, who sit fourth in the table, have lost their last two in the league against Mallorca and Real Madrid, while second-placed Sevilla have been victorious in their last two against Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao.


We say: Sevilla 1-1 Atletico Madrid


This match has a draw written all over it; Atletico will be desperate to avoid a third straight league defeat, and Simeone should have his side fired up for the contest. Sevilla have been so impressive for much of the season, though, and we cannot back Loptegui's side to lose in front of their own supporters.


Match preview


Real Madrid are threatening to run away with La Liga this season, but Sevilla are the capital club's closest challengers at the moment, with Julen Lopetegui's side picking up 34 points from their 16 matches to occupy second position, five points clear of fifth-placed Real Sociedad and eight off the summit.


Los Nervionenses suffered Champions League disappointment last week, losing 1-0 to RB Salzburg in their final group match, which saw them finish third in the section and drop into the Europa League.


Sevilla will have been unhappy with their performance in the European Cup this season, but they have won four of their last five domestic matches, including victories over Cordoba and Andratx in the Copa del Rey.


In the league, meanwhile, Lopetegui's side have beaten Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao 1-0 since losing at Real Madrid, and they are currently five points clear of fourth-placed Atletico ahead of this weekend's contest.


Sevilla have not finished higher than fourth at this level of football since 2009 but could prove to be Real Madrid's main title rivals this term, as Atletico and Barcelona are both having their problems.


Atletico entered last weekend's Madrid derby off the back of a shock home defeat to Mallorca, but they were unable to return to winning ways at Bernabeu, as goals from Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio secured all three points for Carlo Ancelotti's side, who will be difficult to stop this term.


Unlike Sevilla, Atletico will be present in the last-16 stage of the Champions League, with their 3-1 victory at Porto on December 7 proving to be enough to advance to the next round, where they have been paired with 20-time English champions Manchester United.


Simeone's side now have two league matches against Sevilla and Granada before the winter break, and it is vital that they stay in some sort of touch with Real Madrid, but two poor results could also see them drop out of the top four heading into 2022.


The reigning Spanish champions have built much of their recent success on an excellent defensive record, but they have conceded 18 times in 16 games this term, which is far from the best record in the division; Sevilla actually boast the top defensive record in 2021-22, conceding just 11 times thus far.


Four of the last six league meetings between these two sides have finished level, but Sevilla recorded a 1-0 victory in the corresponding game at Estadio Ramon last term.


Team News


Sevilla will again be without the services of Erik Lamela, Youssef En-Nesyri, Jesus Navas and Suso on Saturday through injury, while Brazilian midfielder Fernando is suspended.


Ivan Rakitic was suspended for last weekend's 1-0 win at Athletic but should be back in the side here, while Joan Jordan is expected to start due to Fernando's enforced absence.


Head coach Lopetegui rung the changes against Andratx in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, but the likes of Gonzalo Montiel, Diego Carlos, Jules Kounde and Alejandro Gomez will be back in the side here.


As for Atletico, Jose Gimenez could make a timely return from injury to feature in defence, but Stefan Savic and Sime Vrsaljko remain unavailable for selection.


Kieran Trippier was on the bench against Real Madrid and is in contention, although it would be a surprise to see the England international start as he has only just recovered from a shoulder injury.


Antoine Griezmann has also been ruled out for the remainder of the year with a thigh injury, so Luis Suarez could return to the starting XI, potentially joining Matheus Cunha in attack.


Sevilla possible starting lineup:

Bounou; Montiel, Kounde, Carlos, Augustinsson; Rakitic, Delaney, Jordan; Gomez, Mir, Ocampos


Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:

Oblak; Felipe, Gimenez, Hermoso; Llorente, Lemar, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Cunha, Suarez

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