Sports Mole previews Saturday’s La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Real Valladolid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Atletico Madrid will be bidding to return to winning ways in Spain’s top flight when they welcome Real Valladolid to Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday evening.
Diego Simeone‘s side are currently fourth in the La Liga table, boasting 28 points from their opening 17 matches of the season, while Real Valladolid sit down in 17th, just one point above the bottom three.
Atletico will seemingly be nowhere near a title race in La Liga this season, with the Red and Whites currently down in fourth spot in the table on 28 points, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, who have a game in hand.
Simeone’s team are instead likely to be in a top-four battle, as there are incredibly only two points separating the capital outfit from Rayo Vallecano in ninth position.
Atletico have no European football in the second half of the campaign, having finished bottom of their Champions League group, so the Copa del Rey is their only realistic chance of silverware, and they booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition with a 2-0 victory at Levante on Wednesday night.
Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente scored the goals for the Madrid giants in the comfortable success, but they have only managed to win one of their last six in the league, sharing the spoils with Almeria last weekend.
Simeone’s side were beaten 1-0 by Barcelona in their last league game at Wanda Metropolitano, and their home form this season has been underwhelming, picking up just 11 points from eight matches.
Real Valladolid, though, have the third-worst away record in Spain’s top flight this term, picking up just four points from eight matches, scoring only five goals in the process.
The visitors were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Alaves earlier this month, so their last two matches have both been in La Liga, losing 1-0 to Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano on January 7 and January 14 respectively.
Real Valladolid have been beaten in their last four matches in all competitions, while they have not managed to triumph in the league since November 5, which is a concern at this stage of the campaign.
A record of five wins, two draws and 10 defeats from 17 matches has seen them collect 17 points to sit in 17th spot in the table, just one point clear of 18th-placed Cadiz.
There are only four points separating 19th-placed Sevilla from Valencia in 12th, so it could be a fascinating battle towards the bottom of the table over the next few months.
The White and Violets secured a return to this level courtesy of a second-place finish in the Segunda Division last term, and they will be determined to improve on their last La Liga campaign, which saw them relegated to 19th position.
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
Real Valladolid La Liga form:
Real Valladolid form (all competitions):
Atletico will be able to welcome Stefan Savic back into their side, as the centre-back has served the suspension that kept him out of the league game with Almeria.
Sergio Reguilon is banned for this match, though, following his red card against Almeria, while Jose Gimenez and Yannick Carrasco are expected to again miss out through injury.
Memphis Depay is on the verge of joining the club from Barcelona, and he could be involved in this match if the registration goes through in time.
Morata, Angel Correa and Antoine Griezman could all start in attacking positions this weekend, while Koke is expected to return in the middle of the park.
As for Real Valladolid, Monchu is out of the match through suspension, having picked up a yellow card against Rayo last time out, while Sergio Escudero will be absent due to a muscular issue.
Kenedy is also a major doubt due to the problem that forced him off early in the team’s last match.
Head coach Pacheta is expected to resist the temptation to shuffle his pack for this contest, but Oscar Plano, Alvaro Aguado and Michael Malsa could potentially come into the starting XI on Saturday night.
Ivan Fresneda is also expected to feature despite the constant speculation surrounding his future, with Arsenal believed to be keen to bring him to the Premier League.
Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Molina, Savic, Hermoso, Reinildo; Llorente, De Paul, Koke, Correa; Griezmann, Morata
Real Valladolid possible starting lineup:
Masip; Fresneda, Joaquin, J Sanchez, Rosa; Malsa, Aguado, Perez; Plata, Guardiola, Plano
We say: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Valladolid
Atletico are a difficult team to back at the moment with any real confidence, and they have found it difficult at home this season, but Real Valladolid’s away record has been poor. As a result, we are backing Simeone’s side to collect all three points in front of their own supporters, albeit by the narrowest of margins.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.