Saturday, 19 October 2019
Atletico Madrid will be looking to keep pace with their title rivals as they host Valencia at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
Currently third on the La Liga table and three points behind leaders Real Madrid, Atletico made a strong start to the season, losing just once in their opening eight games, a 2-0 away loss at Real Sociedad.
Things have however gone downhill in recent matches, managing to collect just one victory in their last five encounters. The hosts were held to a goalless draw last time out against Real Valladolid.
Valencia are currently on a four-match undefeated streak and have managed wins in their last two. Those successes came against Athletic Bilbao and Alaves.
Los Che are however inconsistent on their travels, winning three and losing three of their last six league outings, a highlight being the demolition to champions Barcelona.
Valencia acting coach Albert Celades will be looking to get a point in this match and is unlikely to change the lineup that started against Alaves meaning Kevin Gameiro will start up front alongside Rodrigo in a four-man midfield.
Celades remains unbeaten since the 5-2 humiliation at the Nou Camp managing successive home draws against Leganes and Getafe. Their recent improvement in form has seen them move to eighth and within a point of the European spots.
Atletico is howerver a different proposition altogether. The hosts are notoriously hard to beat at home; Valencia will therefore be happy if they can manage to raid the Metropolitano and emerge with a point.
Gameiro and Daniel Parejo will start in the final third with summer arrival Moreno expected to cool his heels on the bench once again.
In what is a detriment to their title winning hopes, goals have been hard to come by for Los Rojiblancos. They are the lowest scoring side in the current top seven, scoring only 7 goals from their eight league games.
They are however salvaged by their tight defence. Atletico has become renowned as a defensively solid team under manager Diego Simeone, conceding the fewest goals of any side in the league.
They have not conceded in their last four matches in the top flight, alternating goalless draws with 2-nil victories in their last five outings.
In attack, they have the attacking partnership of Diego Costa and Joao Felix to count on. Simeone is lucky to have Costa back in contention for starting after suffering from a stomach illness a week ago, a concern which had stopped him from training as normal.
Full-back Kieran Trippier will be looking to continue his fine form since his move from England with fellow new signing Renan Lodi expected to cause the Valencia defence much trouble from the left with his crosses and key passes.
Head to head:
None of the last 5 encounters has been won by the visiting team with Atletico unbeaten in the previous 9 meetings with Valencia.
A very tight game with few goals; expect Under 2.5 goals