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GETAFE - ATLÉTICO MADRID

Torres and Griezmann get the nod against Getafe

With goal one hundred fresh in the memory El Niño will partner up with Griezmann today against Getafe (1815 CET). Lacen’s absence forces Escribá to switch things up.

The reverberations of Fernando Torres’ one hundredth goal for Los Rojiblancos can still be felt around the Calderón. Walk into any of the many watering holes surrounding the south Madrid stadium and the general consensus you’ll hear among the relieved supporters is “at last the monkey’s off his back”. Today we’ll if last week’s showing against Eibar will kick start a rich goal-scoring vein of form for El Niño (he had gone 1,030 minutes without finding the target) or if it was merely a quenching trickle of water during an otherwise barren drought.

The former Anfield sensation will partner up with Antoine Griezmann at the Coliseum this evening: Torres is Atlético’s all-time leading marksman against Getafe (4), while his French team mate has tormented Fran Escribà-managed sides more than any other player (7 goals, five during the Valencia man’s tenure at Elche and two against his current team). The visitors look equally formidable at the back with Filipe Luis, Juanfran and Godín all coming back into the fray. Getafe have failed to score against Atleti since November 2011, when they beat them 3-2.

The Coliseum used to be a troublesome ground for Atlético but that all changed with the arrival of Diego Simeone. El Cholo has never lost to Los Azulones on the road and should his side get three points today it would be the first time Los Rojiblancos have ever won this fixture three times on the trot. The Argentine will be eager to make that happen as his team will soon have four games to contend with over the space of ten days, including fixtures against PSV and Real Madrid. A run of fixtures that is tiring just to think about, let alone play.

Getafe are traditionally an accommodating neighbour to Atleti. Adding to that, Escribá´s charges have not been firing on all cylinders of late. Three defeats on the bounce and an asset-striping month of January that saw Alexis and Lafita pack their bags has done little to boost morale at the club. Nor too does the fact that, with 15 matches to go, new signing Pereira has to serve a seven-game ban.

The situation is further complicated by the absences of Lago at left back and Lacen in the heart of the defence. Yoda, a right footer, will come in to replace the former, but it’s the centre back position that will have the Valencia-born manager scratching his head. Álvaro Vázquez is expected to lead the charge up front for the home side.

Simón Bolívar used to say, “The art of winning is learned in defeat”. Having lost eight of the last ten encounters with their cross-city rivals, Getafe will be hoping the South American revolutionary knew what he was talking about.

Standing in Getafe’s favour is that Simeone has three players one booking away from picking up suspensions, Giménez, Carrasco and Griezmann to be exact. A yellow card for either today would cause them to miss the upcoming clash with Villarreal.