The race for the European places in La Liga is set to take an intriguing turn on Wednesday evening as Atletico Madrid host Valencia at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Los Rojiblancos currently sit second in the standings, nine points behind leaders Barcelona. However, their place in the top four looks relatively safe. They have odds of 5/4 with Betfair to retain their place in the top two until the end of the season. Meanwhile, Valencia are sitting fifth only two points behind Getafe. Marcelino’s men can be backed at odds of 11/10 to earn a UEFA Champions League place next season.
If they are to do just that, they have a tough task ahead of them as they travel to Madrid. Diego Simeone’s men have only lost one league game at home all season, that being the 3-1 defeat to local rivals Real Madrid back in February. As a matter of fact, Atleti have scored in every single league match on home soil so Valencia will have to try to keep them out if they harbour any hopes of beating their hosts. Their underdog status is reflected in the betting odds ahead of the game. Los Ches are available at a price of 15/4 whilst the hosts can be backed at 5/6. A draw is at 12/5.
Their task is made even more difficult considering Valencia’s recent record against this weekend’s opponents. Valencia’s last win against Atleti came way back in November 2012. They did manage to earn a 1-1 draw though the last time that the two teams met.
One thing that fans might not be expecting are goals. In the last three games between the two sides, there has only been an average of one goal scored per game. Under 1.5 goals to be scored on Wednesday is at a price of 15/8 with Coral.
One of the main candidates to find the back of the net though has to be Antoinne Griezmann. Having scored 14 La Liga goals already, the Frenchman is at 7/2 with Paddy Power to open the scoring. Surprisingly, midfielder Dani Parejo is Valencia’s top scorer this season with nine and is at 8/1 to hit the opening strike in Madrid.
Elsewhere, Diego Costa will be missing once again as he continues to serve suspension. Gelson Martins, Borja Garces, Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez are all slight doubts. However, Bayern-bound Lucas Hernandez has returned to training from a knee injury so could potentially return.
Regarding Valencia, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Denis Cheryshev are both ruled out for what could likely be the rest of the season. Striker Rodrigo is also out through suspension. Although, Cristiano Piccini is back in contention after recovering from injury.