Jorge Sampaoli’s charges were held to a second successive 1-1 draw last time out, when Leganes sprung a surprise and left the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with a point. As a result of Real Madrid’s 2-1 win against Deportivo La Coruna, Sevilla now find themselves five points adrift of the summit of the standings in Spain, while Zinedine Zidane’s table-toppers also have a game in hand on both the Blanquirrojos and second-placed Barcelona. It is looking like a big ask for Sevilla to win their first league title since 1946 this year, but Sampaoli has nevertheless had a tremendous impact in his debut campaign in European football.
Atletico Madrid’s hopes of claiming another championship crown have long since faded, with the capital club instead locked in a battle to qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the top four. Diego Simeone’s side ground out a 1-0 victory when they last took to the field in the Spanish top flight, edging out relegation battlers Granada in a hard-fought affair at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes. The Colcheneros have only lost one of their last 12 fixtures in La Liga stretching back to December’s defeat by Villarreal, while they have not been beaten at home by a team other than Barcelona or Real Madrid in the league for 27 months.
Sevilla will have to make do without Benoit Tremoulinas (knee) and Michael Krohn-Dehli (knee), but Sampaoli has no fresh injury concerns heading into this crunch clash in Madrid. The Blanquirrojos have rotated between a three-man and four-man backline this term, but they are likely to opt for the latter on this occasion. Stevan Jovetic could start in place of Wissam Ben Yedder at centre-forward, while former Premier League pair Samir Nasri and Steven N’Zonzi will be vital in a creative capacity.
Atletico, meanwhile, will be missing Tiago (knee) and Augusto Fernandez (knee), but Kevin Gameiro should return after a groin problem, Fernando Torres is fit following his head injury and Stefan Savic has been cleared to play with a protective mask after breaking his nose. Simeone will line his side up in their customary 4-4-2 formation, with Antoine Griezmann – who has made the net ripple five times in his last six league appearances – set to be a key figure up front.
Sevilla may be above their upcoming opponents in the table, but it could nevertheless be worth backing Atletico to come out on top in front of their own supporters at the Vicente Calderon. Simeone’s side have an excellent record at home and will fancy their chances of keeping things tight at the back and finding the net at the other end of the field, while the form book also points towards a triumph for Atleti. This should be an intriguing encounter but it may also be a rather low-scoring one; another bet to consider, then, is fewer than 2.5 goals to be scored in total.