Both sides featured in Europe this week, with Atelti drawing away to Juventus having already qualified for the Champions League knock out stage, whilst Villarreal travelled to Cypriot outfit Apollon Limassol and gained a 2-0 victory which ensured they go through to the last 32 stage of the Europa League.
This fixture holds huge significance to the visitors, a 1-0 defeat against Atleti on the final day of the 2011-12 season confirmed Villarreal’s relegation the Segunda Division.
But the Yellow Submarine were back in the Primera Division the following year, finishing an impressive 6th under Marcelino.
Their good form has continued into this campaign, with the Yellow Submarine currently in a Europa League qualifying position, 1 point behind 5th place Valencia, after winning their last 3 league games in a row.
Miranda is still missing for Atleti, with youngster Jose Gimenez expected to continue his partnership with Diego Godin at the heart of defence.
It is unclear who Atelti manager Diego Simeone will favour in midfield for this game, with one of Tiago, Mario Suarez or Gabi likely to join Antoine Griezmann on the bench.
For Villarreal, Marcelino is unlikely to make many changes to the team which convincingly beat David Moyes’ Real Sociedad 4-0 at El Madrigal last weekend. Midfielders Denis Cheryshev and Jonathan Dos Santos will be recalled to the starting XI after they were rested against Limassol on Thursday night.
Star striker Giovani Dos Santos is still missing with injury, so it’s likely that Gerard Moreno will partner Uche upfront. After coming on as a substitute and scoring twice against Sociedad, Moi Gomez will be pushing for a starting place.
Atleti will expect to win this Sunday, having not lost to the Yellow Submarine at home since 2009. It should be an interesting spectacle with 2 of the league’s in-form teams going head to head.