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Sevilla vs Atletico Madrid predictions: Atleti to turn the heat up on Lopetegui
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Simon Barlow
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Pressure is starting to grow on Julen Lopetegui
Pressure is starting to grow on Julen Lopetegui

Sevilla and Atletico Madrid are off the pace in LaLiga heading into Saturday's clash at Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan, where the hosts have recently suffered wide-margin defeats to Barcelona and Manchester City.

The whistles of the home fans towards the directors' box after Sevilla made their worst start in 41 years triggered meetings to decide the future of Julen Lopetegui, but it was decided that the ex-Spain coach should remain. 

Three subsequent away games without defeat have given him greater leeway, but Sevilla could drop into the relegation zone if they fail to collect any points against Atleti. 

Diego Simeone's side are suffering from similar home discomforts, but they have taken seven points from a possible nine on the road and could climb back into the top four if results go their way this weekend. 

Team news 

Yassine Bounou appears to be fit to start in goal after playing for Morocco during the international break. 

The Sevilla goalkeeper raised concerns when he came off at half-time in the 1-1 draw with Villarreal last time out suffering from some physical discomfort.

Lopetegui's back four and central midfield is likely to be unchanged from that game, but the coach could make one or two alterations to his attacking corps. 

Erik Lamela is available again after serving a suspension for his red card at Espanyol and, given that he scored in that game, he should have claims to start. 

Striker Youssef En-Nesyri could also return to the starting line-up after making way for Rafa Mir last time out. 

For Atleti, Simeone could have his two top central defenders available for selection with Stefan Savic almost certain to make the Argentinean's starting line-up. 

The Montenegro international, who has been sidelined for over a month with a thigh injury, returned to training a week last Thursday — giving him ample time to get back up to speed. 

Fellow defensive rock Jose Gimenez, who last saw action against Porto three and a half weeks ago, returned to training on Monday after dealing with back and hamstring problems. 

Thomas Lemar is close to rejoining the group, but this game may be a week too soon to see him considered for a place in the matchday squad. 

On-loan Tottenham defender Sergio Reguilon remains out as he recovers from a groin operation. 

The stats 

Sevilla and Atletico Madrid's struggles this season could be linked to them having the first and third-oldest squads in LaLiga with an average age of 29.3 and 28.8 years respectively. 

If selected, Atletico captain Koke will make his 554th appearance for the club, beating the record of Adelardo Rodriguez that he equaled in the Madrid derby last time out. 

Simeone has not named an unchanged side for 32 games in a row and has selected a different central defensive combination in all six of Atleti's LaLiga games this season. 

Sevilla have won only five of their 25 previous games against Atleti, during Simeone's time in charge, with the Madrid club winning ten and the ten other games finishing as draws. 

Prediction 

Antoine Griezmann could prove to be the difference
Antoine Griezmann could prove to be the difference

Sevilla have only recorded one victory after eight official matches played this season and their main problems have come at home. 

Defeats by 3-0 and 4-0 followed a solitary point taken from an early season visit of newly-promoted Real Valladolid to set alarm bells ringing around the Andalusian city. 

Atletico Madrid have not won at the Sanchez-Pizjuan for more than four seasons, but Simeone's side are imbued with streetwise cunning and toughness to keep Sevilla on the back foot. 

Los Colchoneros are also boosted by key returns in defence, which ought to make them even tougher to best by their desperate hosts.

Atleti tend to be at their most destructive late in games when Antoine Griezmann is on the pitch and his likely introduction after the hour mark should enable them to grab the winning goal.

Tags

Atletico MadridSevillaLaLiga
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