Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Real Valladolid
Atletico Madrid will be bidding to return to winning ways in Spain’s top flight when they welcome Real Valladolid to Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday evening.
Diego Simeone’s side are currently fourth in the La Liga table, boasting 28 points from their opening 17 matches of the season, while Real Valladolid sit down in 17th, just one point above the bottom three.
Atletico will seemingly be nowhere near a title race in La Liga this season, with the Red and Whites currently down in fourth spot in the table on 28 points, 13 points behind leaders Barcelona, who have a game in hand.
Simeone’s team are instead likely to be in a top-four battle, as there are incredibly only two points separating the capital outfit from Rayo Vallecano in ninth position.
Atletico have no European football in the second half of the campaign, having finished bottom of their Champions League group, so the Copa del Rey is their only realistic chance of silverware, and they booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition with a 2-0 victory at Levante on Wednesday night.
Alvaro Morata and Marcos Llorente scored the goals for the Madrid giants in the comfortable success, but they have only managed to win one of their last six in the league, sharing the spoils with Almeria last weekend.
Simeone’s side were beaten 1-0 by Barcelona in their last league game at Wanda Metropolitano, and their home form this season has been underwhelming, picking up just 11 points from eight matches.
Real Valladolid, though, have the third-worst away record in Spain’s top flight this term, picking up just four points from eight matches, scoring only five goals in the process.
The visitors were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Alaves earlier this month, so their last two matches have both been in La Liga, losing 1-0 to Mallorca and Rayo Vallecano on January 7 and January 14 respectively.
Real Valladolid have been beaten in their last four matches in all competitions, while they have not managed to triumph in the league since November 5, which is a concern at this stage of the campaign.
A record of five wins, two draws and 10 defeats from 17 matches has seen them collect 17 points to sit in 17th spot in the table, just one point clear of 18th-placed Cadiz.
There are only four points separating 19th-placed Sevilla from Valencia in 12th, so it could be a fascinating battle towards the bottom of the table over the next few months.
The White and Violets secured a return to this level courtesy of a second-place finish in the Segunda Division last term, and they will be determined to improve on their last La Liga campaign, which saw them relegated in 19th position.
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
Real Valladolid La Liga form:
Real Valladolid form (all competitions):
We say: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Real Valladolid
Atletico are a difficult team to back at the moment with any real confidence, and they have found it difficult at home this season, but Real Valladolid’s away record has been poor. As a result, we are backing Simeone’s side to collect all three points in front of their own supporters, albeit by the narrowest of margins.