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Preview: Espanyol vs. Atletico Madrid

Sports Mole previews the match between Atletico Madrid and Espanyol in La Liga.

Atletico Madrid will be hoping to put last weekend's disappointing draw with Valencia behind them when they travel to Espanyol in La Liga this week.

The Spanish champions led for much of the match against their top-four rivals last Sunday, but a late equaliser cost Atletico the chance to close the gap to the top two.

Diego Simeone's side now sit six points behind local rivals Real Madrid, and seven adrift of new league leaders Barcelona, who have a much better goal difference.

Atletico's form has been patchy recently, with just one win from their last four league outings but just one defeat in their last eight.

Guilherme Siqueira will be missing again as he was booked last time out on his return from suspension for a sending-off against Almeria last month, while Mario Mandzukic also misses out after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Valencia.

Saul Niguez is continuing to recover from a blow to the kidneys which left him in hospital last month, but Arda Turan should be available after making his first start since injuring his hamstring in February in last Sunday's clash.

Meanwhile, Espanyol will be hoping to cement their place in the top half of the table as they push for their third win in five matches in the Spanish top flight.

The Catalan side, who currently sit 10th, missed the chance to move as high as eighth last weekend as they slipped to a narrow defeat to Real Sociedad, who are now just two points behind them.

Goalscoring has been a problem for Sergio Gonzalez's side recently, with the team averaging just a goal a game in their last five outings. Top scorer Christian Stuani has not found the back of the net since February.

Jose Canas, who recently returned from a hamstring injury, was rested last weekend, but could return for the visit of the champions. However, defender Juan Fuentes has been listed as a doubt.

When the teams met at Vicente Calderon earlier in the season, the home side secured a 2-0 victory.


Form in La Liga: LLWLWL
Form in all competitions: DLWWLL

Possible starting lineup: Casilla, Morena, Alvari, Arvilla, Duarte, Canas, Gonzalez, Lopez, Lucas, Garcia, Stuani

Atletico Madrid:

Form in La Liga: WWLWDD
Form in all competitions: WLWLDD

Possible starting lineup: Moya, Godin, Hernandez, Juanfran, Gimenez, Tiago, Koke, Turan, Gabi, Garcia, Torres

Sports Mole says: 0-2

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Atletico Madrid's Portuguese midfielder Tiago (L) is given the red card from Czech referee Pavel Kralovec during the UEFA Champions League first-leg, round of 16 football match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen on February 25, 2015
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