La Liga Match Centre 

Atleti to ruin Christmas in Catalonia?

In Friday’s late kick off, struggling Espanyol welcome second placed Atletico Madrid to the RCDE Stadium in both sides’ last match before the winter break.

Despite supporters showing their frustration over their side’s current form, Quique Sanchez Flores has been reassured by owner Chen Yansheng that his position is safe. The club desperately need to get points on the board, currently sitting in 16th place and have picked up only 4 points from the last 15 available, drawing against Las Palmas and defeating Getafe.

Unfortunately for the Periquitos, they end the calendar year hosting an Atléti side that are showing no signs of slowing down. Still undefeated in the league, Diego Simeone’s men won their last match against Alaves to climb up to second place in the league, 6 points behind leaders, Barcelona.

After picking up 5 yellow cards, the home side will be without the suspended midfielder Víctor Sánchez for the match, as well as Jairo Morillas, Adrian Lopez and Javi Fuego who are injured. The only player unavailable for Los Colchoneros is Jose Gimenez, who has this week been linked with a move to English side Manchester United. The Uruguayan hasn’t managed to recover from a knee injury in time for the trip to Barcelona.

In the pre-match press conference, Espanyol midfielder Sergi Darder mentioned that the side need to be more confident in order to get results. The Lyon loanee told reporters “It is important to win and more when there is this break and then we start again with the Cup. We know the difficulty of the opponent but we would like to end the year with a victory because that would give us tremendous confidence.”

Diego Simeone praised this evening’s opponents during his conference. He said “Espanyol have an intelligent coach who knows Atlético de Madrid well, they have great players from the midfield up and this will make us assess our options to decide what lineup will be best for us.”

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