Sunday, January 22, 2017

Real Sociedad v Atletico Madrid: Griezmann expects difficult Anoeta return

SoccerNews in La Liga 16 Oct 2015

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Antoine Griezmann is excited for the stiff contest that awaits as he hopes to make his first meaningful return to Real Sociedad with Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

The France international has started all seven of Atletico’s La Liga fixtures so far this season, and will hope to make an impact at his former home, having played just five minutes as a late substitute in their previous top-flight visit to San Sebastian last November.

That fixture ended in a 2-1 defeat for Griezmann’s side – representing just a second win for Sociedad in their last 10 fixtures against Atletico.

“It’s always a complicated place [to visit],” the France international said. 

“I remember when I was a player of Real Sociedad, the fans and the players were very excited to play against the big teams and we gave our all.

“We are preparing for a complicated game where we will try to do harm and create chances to score.

“It’s a joy for me to play at the Anoeta. When I arrived at Real as a 14-year-old I wanted to play, and no matter if it’s with the shirt of Real Sociedad, Ateltico Madrid or the national team, it will be a joy to play on that pitch.

“When the fixture list came out, we knew we had 10 complicated matches at the start. We have to keep on like this.

“We are happy with what we are doing, but we can do much more. We are doing it in training on a daily basis and, hopefully, we can improve and win more games.”

David Moyes’ 16th-placed side hover above the relegation zone on goal difference alone and are in the midst of a four-match winless home run, which includes defeats to Granada and Espanyol.

Sociedad have not gone five home fixtures without victory since December 2006 – a season in which they were relegated to the Segunda Divison.

In order to bring an end to that streak and kick-start their season, defender Alberto de la Bella insists they must be on top form on Sunday.

“We are very eager. It will be a difficult game but we are prepared,” the left-back said.

“We will have to play a great game to win. It is a good opportunity to start a positive dynamic. If we want to win this game we must win each individual battle.”

Moyes is without Raul Navas (hip), Joseba Zaldua (leg) and Esteban Granero (hamstring), while centre-back Inigo Martinez has returned to training after withdrawing from the Spain squad with a hip injury.

Carlos Vela and Diego Reyes reported back to the club following international duty with Mexico on Friday.

Simeone, meanwhile, only has Luciano Vietto out. Fernando Torres and Jackson Martinez will vie to start in attack alongside Griezmann.

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