It’s one big test after another for Valencia who now face a stern test against another top La Liga side, Atletico Madrid. Los Che have had a tough couple of weeks, having been beaten by both Real Madrid and Barcelona and Marcelino will have to find a way to lift his players’ spirits ahead of their trip to Madrid.
If there’s one thing we learned from Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid over the past couple of years is that they are one of the toughest La Liga sides to beat. Such a notion was once again proved true with Los Colchineros suffering a single defeat in 21 La Liga rounds, with only nine goals conceded.
It was back in December at Espanyol that Simeone’s charges were given a 1-0 blow but their domestic form has been almost perfect ever since. Atletico Madrid bounced back with three wins and one defeat, although they endured a disturbing elimination in the Copa del Rey in the meantime. Los Colchineros were eliminated from the Cup competition on a 5-2 aggregate defeat at the hands of Sevilla, but the empathic 3-0 win over Las Palmas last weekend will have shown that Diego Simeone’s men will not be losing any sleep over the Copa del Rey disappointment. Atletico Madrid are sitting in second place in the standings, eleven points adrift of champions-elect Barcelona who are yet to suffer a defeat in the current campaign.
The home side will have a couple of notable absentees for the Valencia challenge with Diego Costa, Felipe Luis and Nico Gaitan all ruled out through injury. Kevin Gameiro was experiencing a stomach disorder and the Valencia clash might be coming too early for him.
A Rough Patch
Valencia head over to Madrid on the back of two successive La Liga defeats – at the hands of Las Palmas and Real Madrid, respectively. After a surprising shock against the relegation-threatened Las Palmas, Los Che were battered by reigning La Liga champions Real Madrid who emerged comfortable 4-1 winners to pile pressure on Marcelino’s side.
Things went from bad to worse during the week with Valencia suffering a 1-0 Copa del Rey semi-final defeat against Barcelona. Valencia struggled to gain footing at Camp Nou and ended up being largely overplayed by the Catalans. It’s back to the drawing board for Valencia boss Marcelino whose fantastic work from the first part of the season is slowly being undone with a rough patch his team is going through. Former Villarreal manager did great to continue Valencia’s rise back to prominence following years of stagnation and going backwards, but his side faces a tough test at the weekend against direct rivals for top places in La Liga standings.
Marcelino will not be able to call upon Jimenez and Murillo who are suffering from a knee injury and a groin problem, respectively.
It’s been close to four years since Valencia last beat Atletico Madrid, although Los Che have last triumphed in Madrid way back in 2011. Diego Simeone’s men are a tough nut to crack and definitely hold a huge upper-hand in this forthcoming fixture having gone unbeaten at home in La Liga throughout the campaign.
Top pick: Under 2.5 goals 2.07 (15/14) @Unibet
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 2.00 (1/1) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Atletico Madrid 1.50 (1/2) @Coral