What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla
When: Sunday 19th January, 2014, at 20:00 UK Time
Where: Vicente Calderon, Madrid, Spain

Stadium Strength

Halfway through the league season, Atletico Madrid keep living the dream of winning their first league accolade since 1996. Los Colchoneros are level with Barcelona after 19 league fixtures on 50 points, with Real Madrid also boasting 50 points after their Saturday win at Real Betis. Diego Simeone and his men know well that there is no room for slip-ups, as they hope to continue their form and repeat their 3-1 triumph over Sevilla at the start of the current term back in August. 

The Mattress Makers are the side with the best home record in the league scheme with 28 points in ten games at the Vicente Calderon. Knowing that their biggest strength comes from their home supporters, Miranda hopes that the fans will be behind the team when they welcome Sevilla, and will not underestimate the visitors. 

“They are stronger, and it will certainly be a very difficult match. Our stadium is our strength and we are together with our fans, who always give us everything; we are responding to the task. To fight for the league you have to win every game at home and need to get the most points possible away, so far as we are doing that”, declared the former Sao Paulo man.

Excellence Needed 

No longer Spain’s “best of the rest”, Sevilla have had an average season by their standards so far, with the team failing to adequately replace stars Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo, both of whom transferred to Manchester City last summer. Sevilla are winless in their last eight games against Atletico Madrid in all competitions, and coach Unai Emery realises that his team will need to put on their best display in a long while should they want to be able to constitute a threat to the current Copa del Rey holders. As things stand, this will not be an easy task for the Rojiblancos.

Realising this, Emery has urged Sevilla to play "the perfect match" in order to put Atletico Madrid to the sword in the Spanish capital. 

“We must play the perfect match and also be close to our highest level of excellence. The evolution of Atletico with Simeone has been tremendous. They have fortified their defensive line, after improving their attacking side. In this evolution they were already hard to beat, and now even more so, especially since they are winning. In fact they have only one defeat and two draws in the league, and that says it all. They have established themselves as the third giant of Spanish football."

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Recent form

Atletico Madrid:
Valencia 1-1 Atletico Madrid (07/01; Copa del Rey)
Atletico Madrid 0-0 Barcelona (11/01; La Liga)
Atletico Madrid 2-0 Valencia (14/01; Copa del Rey)

Villarreal 1-2 Sevilla (21/12; La Liga)
Sevilla 3-0 Getafe (05/01; La Liga)
Elche 1-1 Sevilla (11/01; La Liga)

Key absences

Atletico Madrid: Mario Suarez (doubt); Tiago (doubt); Adrian (doubt)  

Sevilla: Stephane M’Bia; Denis Cheryshev; Cicinho; Diogo Figueiras (suspended)

Players to watch

Atletico Madrid – Diego Costa: Only Cristiano Ronaldo has been more impressive than the Brazilian-born striker this term in La Liga. Costa is really proving to be a more than suitable replacement for the departed Radamel Falcao. Should he be at his best, then Atletico Madrid will simply be unplayable.

Sevilla – Ivan Rakitic: The Andalucians will rely on their Croatian midfielder to pull the strings from the centre of the park. Rakitic has been in form this season and he cannot be given licence to roam freely by the Atletico Madrid defenders.

Match Prediction

Atletico Madrid are sky-high on confidence at the moment and one of the best teams at home in La Liga. Against Sevilla, that will come into play as they will take all three points and continue their dream. Atletico Madrid 2-0 Sevilla.

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