Diego Simeone is doing wonders with Atletico Madrid and after three straight La Liga victories, los Colchoneros will fancy their chances against Valencia. Los Che are winless in last four league games, but they believe a good showing against Barcelona in Copa del Rey will be just the boost they need to kick-start their league campaign.
The Diego Simeone effect
Getting tired of watching the backs of some mediocre Spanish sides season after season, Atletico Madrid chiefs decided to splash the cash this summer and signed several great players in Falcao, Diego, Turan and Adrian. However, despite the bright start to the season, boss Gregorio Manzano just couldn’t make the team play to their potential and he was replaced with former club servant Diego Simeone. While everybody expected that the arrival of the Argentine coach would help the team kick-start their season, nobody could predict Simeone would have such a positive effect on the squad. Atletico Madrid held Malaga to a goalless draw in his first match at the helm, before going on to beat Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Osasuna in their next three games, without conceding a single goal in the process. The great run of results helped the players restore the lost confidence as well as get back in contention for the Champions League places, and the game against Valencia will be an excellent opportunity to prove that Atletico deserve to be playing Champions League football.
Gabi Fernandez and Diego are back from suspension, meaning that Antonio Lopez remains the only unavailable player.
Valencia slowing down
Valencia have long ago established themselves as the best of the rest in Spanish La Liga and they are on the road to finish their third successive league campaign just behind the El Clasico rivals. Los Che started this season in bright fashion and were even considered genuine title contenders at one stage, but they have since suffered a big dip in form and have seen their advantage over the top 4 rivals decrease to just five points. While impressing in Copa del Rey games against Levante and even Barcelona, Unai Emery’s side have faced major problems in La Liga, failing to win any of their last four games. Their performances on the travels are also a cause for concern, seeing that los Che are winless in their last four away games, which is a very disappointing run given that they faced sides like Real Betis, Villarreal, Osasuna and Racing Santander. Taking everything into consideration, it looks as though Valencia will struggle to stop high-flying Atletico Madrid.
Sofiane Feghouli misses out through suspension, but Pablo Hernandez and Mehmet Topal return. Aritz Aduriz is expected to start up front alongside Roberto Soldado.
Atletico Madrid have been absolutely brilliant since the arrival of Diego Simeone and with Diego and Gabi back to the side, los Colchoneros can be trusted to win this match. Valencia are clearly far from the desired form and they could find it hard to match in-form Atletico.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 2.00 (1/1)