Atlético Madrid host Rayo Vallecano in top-five battle

Atlético Madrid start 2022 with a house sport towards Rayo Vallecano, LaLiga’s most stunning crew up to now.

With practically half the season gone, Atlético (8-5-5, 29 factors) sit fifth, 17 factors behind first-place Real Madrid. One of many groups Diego Simeone’s males are chasing is Andoni Iraola’s Rayo (9-3-6, 30 factors), the newly-promoted metropolis rivals occupying fourth place after a sizzling begin to the yr.

“We’re going to face a courageous crew that performs very effectively, and a coach with very clear concepts that he has proven in all of the groups he’s handed by way of,” Simeone mentioned on Saturday. “(They play) very quick, (they’re) very dynamic, with loads of depth, loads of pace, and loads of collective work.”

Rayo Vallecano v Deportivo Alaves - La Liga Santander

Former Atlético ahead Radamel Falcao has scored 5 objectives in solely 353 minutes this season.
Photograph by Denis Doyle/Getty Photos

Atlético are determined to finish its longest shedding streak in practically 11 years and soar again into the Champions League locations. The Wanda Metropolitano has not hosted an Atleti win since Nov. 20, and a smaller-than-capacity crowd might be readily available for Sunday afternoon’s sport given new attendance restrictions throughout Spain.

Surging COVID-19 circumstances in the nation have affected just about each crew in LaLiga, and the Rojiblancos may have 4 gamers unavailable for Rayo’s go to — Koke, Antoine Griezmann, Héctor Herrera, and João Félix. Simeone, who examined constructive for the virus earlier this week, confirmed Saturday that he has since returned a adverse PCR take a look at.

“I really feel good. Yesterday I took the take a look at once more in a laboratory that isn’t LaLiga’s and I examined adverse. At this time I repeated the take a look at with LaLiga, and we’re ready for the consequence to know whether or not I might be with the crew tomorrow,” Simeone defined.

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Photograph by Jose Breton/Pics Motion/NurPhoto through Getty Photos

Cholo reported that José Giménez is lastly again from harm and can begin in central protection, a giant enhance to a protection that leaked objectives all through his December absence. The Argentine additionally responded to rumors about Kieran Trippier, who’s wanting an increasing number of more likely to depart Atlético this month and signal for Newcastle United.

“We have now all the time lived with these conditions. Superb and necessary gamers have had an opportunity to go away, then it can rely on what the participant desires and we should adapt to what occurs,” Simeone mentioned. “As coaches, we convey to Trippier how necessary he’s for the crew, and we are going to act (in the switch market) primarily based on what occurs.”

Date Jan. 2, 2021

Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain

Kickoff time 4:15 p.m. CET, 3:15 p.m. GMT, 10:15 a.m. EST, 7:15 a.m. PST

Available TV/streaming ESPN+ (United States), Movistar LaLiga 2 (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom)

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