Atletico Madrid’s La Liga campaign kicks off with a serious challenge, as the resilient Getafe stands in the way for Diego Simeone’s men. As the Los Rojiblancos embark on a new era following a vibrant reshuffle in the summer, pleasing the home fans and starting strong is vital towards shaping the season ahead.
Story Behind The Game
Atletico Madrid were all guns blazing in pre-season, being undefeated in their games in the United States of America and elsewhere. Of course, the 7-3 thrashing of rivals Real Madrid made the headlines, but Los Rojiblancos made quite the statement with wins over Juventus and MLS All-Stars as well.
Similarly, Getafe also enjoyed a sweet undefeated streak in pre-season even though they did draw some games. However, with victories over Atalanta and Crotone, they displayed themselves in an encouraging manner as a European campaign also lies ahead this time around.
Atletico has enjoyed fine form against Getafe over the past few years, having not lost a match against them in over the last 10 meetings. However, knowing how unpredictable Jose Bordalas’ men were last season, they can’t afford to take things lightly.
Of course, Getafe would’ve loved to start their own campaign at home against relatively less daunting opposition, but this campaign is vital towards proving themselves. As the UEFA Europa League also beckons for them, they’ll be aiming to start their campaign on a winning note.
Los Rojiblancos, on the other hand, are determined to kick things off with a compelling win. After losing Antoine Griezmann to arch-rivals Barcelona, Diego Simeone’s men will be keen on challenging for the La Liga title and fire on all cylinders against Getafe to show the real strength of his revamped squad.
Atletico Madrid is going to miss striker Diego Costa as he continues serving the long ban he received at the end of last season. Only Sime Vrsalijko is injured, but new signing Kieran Trippier should make his La Liga debut for the club. As should record signing Joao Felix, who aims to take up Griezmann’s mettle in Madrid.
Getafe’s defender Victorino Antunes remains injured after suffering an ACL injury back in April. They also made a host of new signings during the summer, as Marc Cucurella could start from the bench after being brought in from Barcelona in the summer.
Atletico Madrid XI(4-4-2): Oblak, Trippier, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi, Lemar, Llorente, Saul, Koke, Felix, Morata
Getafe XI(4-4-2): Soria, Suarez, Bruno, Cabrera, Olivera, Portillo, Maksimovic, Arambarri, Alejo, Molina, Mata
Joao Felix vs Bruno
As the successor to Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix has some big shoes to fill at the Wanda Metropolitano. Signed for a club-record fee, there are expectations he’ll be the next best thing in Madrid. He’s already impressed in pre-season and looks raring to go. However, he has a daunting task getting past Bruno and co. The Getafe centre-back neutralized many fiery strikers last season, keeping nine clean-sheets for his side. Felix will need to be at his very best in displaying his flash-like pace, unpredictable movement and clinical skills to bewilder the strong centre-back and have a dream debut.
Jaime Mata vs Jose Gimenez
Jaime Mata was perhaps the breakthrough star of La Liga last season, which seemed surprising considering he peaked at 30 years of age. The striker was ruthless in front of goal, scoring 14 times to earn Getafe a European slot. In the quest to prove himself more than a “one-season wonder”, his first challenge of the new season is a daunting one. Jose Gimenez’s backline is a tough nut to crack, but it remains to be seen how strongly the Uruguayan marshals his troops without longterm partner Diego Godin. Gimenez has remained an impenetrable rock in Los Rojiblancos defence for years, but Mata will surely pose a daunting challenge on Sunday.
What The Managers Said
Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid- “Our objective is to keep improving day by day. We're a team with many new players that have to adapt and engage in what Atletico Madrid is.
"They are doing well and are responding accordingly to what we've been working on, but we're focused on the immediate goal, which is Getafe.
"I will treat him(Felix) like an important football player, like the others, but what matters most to me is that we get the best out of the team."
Jose Bordalas, Getafe- “Atlético is a team that I like very much, that we have seen it compete at a high level for many years and play all the titles because it is a great one. I only have words of praise for the team, the coach, the stage and his fans.
“We are a small team and the first thing is to achieve permanence. From there we will give importance to all competitions, but our mind right now is in the league and the first game. The competition demands a lot and you have to be focused.”