The final game of the round will see Hercules play host to Atletico Madrid in what should be a very interesting match. The Alicante outfit remained well clear of the relegation zone despite the heavy defeat to Mallorca, while Atletico failed to beat Racing Santander at home, meaning both sides will have something to prove in this match.
Won last three home games
Hercules surprised most football pundits with a couple of high-profile signings this summer, namely David Trezeguet, Nelson Valdez and Royston Drenthe, with the trio already proving they would be a big asset in the La Liga campaign. After the remarkable victory at Camp Nou, Esteban Vigo’s side embarked on a very poor run, but they did boost their survival hopes of late thanks to some impressive home performances and they are hoping the home record will be further improved against Atletico. Hercules proved they are hardly the best travelers in La Liga as they were beaten 3:0 by Mallorca, so the players’ confidence is pretty low at the moment. Everybody at the club is happy Royston Drenthe finally decided to end his strike, even if he will not be in contention for this clash.
Captain Paco Pena and Tote return to the side, meaning that apart from Royston Drenthe, boss Esteban Vigo will have full squad to choose from.
Inconsistency remains the problem
Atletico Madrid have been terribly inconsistent this season, but that is hardly surprising for los Colchoneros. The team did manage to stabilize their form lately, with the six-match unbeaten run helping them close the gap behind the Champions League places, which is now seven points, although Atletico have a game in hand. Boss Quique Sanchez-Flores has rued the fact his team are due to play on Monday, but there is absolutely nothing he can change about it and he will have to prepare his side in the best possible way. With Copa Del Rey derby against Real on agenda on Thursday, the visitors may not be willing to give everything they’ve got in this match and that is something Hercules can take advantage of.
New signings Elias and Juanfran are likely to miss this match, but Diego Forlan is set to return after spending last few weeks on the sidelines.
Hercules have won last three La Liga games at their Jose Rico Perez and I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if they continue the great run against underachieving Atletico. The visitors will not be fully focused on this game and that could deny them a good result in Alicante.
Our prediction: Home win
Odds: 3.10 (21/10)
Bookmaker: Victor Chandler