Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Valencia
Atletico Madrid will be aiming to stretch their unbeaten run in La Liga to 10 matches when they welcome relegation-threatened Valencia to Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday night.
Diego Simeone’s side are currently third in the table, six points ahead of fifth-placed Real Betis, while Valencia occupy 17th, level on points with 18th-placed Getafe in the battle to stay in the league.
Atletico’s 2022-23 campaign cannot be considered a success due to their European disappointment, finishing bottom of their Champions League section, meaning that they were knocked out of Europe altogether.
However, the absence of European action appears to have helped them in the league, with the Red and Whites gaining a strong grip on a top-four position due to a run that has seen them win six of their last nine La Liga fixtures, remaining unbeaten in the process.
Atletico have been victorious in four of their last five league fixtures, beating Sevilla 6-1 in their last match at Wanda Metropolitano, before recording a 1-0 win over Girona on Monday, with Alvaro Morata netting the winner against the Catalan outfit in second-half stoppage time.
Simeone’s side are third in the table, three points ahead of fourth-placed Real Sociedad and six clear of fifth-placed Real Betis in the battle to secure a top-four position.
Atletico are eight points behind second-placed Real Madrid, meanwhile, and a win in this match would see them close the gap to five ahead of Real Madrid’s trip to the leaders Barcelona.
Valencia have not played outside of Spain’s top flight since 1987, but they are currently in a battle to remain in the division, having only picked up 26 points from their 25 matches.
Los Che are 17th in the division ahead of the next set of fixtures, level on points with 18th-placed Getafe, but there have been positive signs in recent weeks, winning two of their last three matches.
Indeed, Ruben Baraja’s side beat Real Sociedad 1-0 at the end of February before narrowly losing at Barcelona.
Valencia returned to winning ways last time out, though, as a 74th-minute effort from Justin Kluivert handed them a 1-0 success over Osasuna.
Los Che have the third-worst away record in La Liga this season, only picking up six points from 12 matches, but Atletico have dropped points in six of their 12 fixtures at Wanda Metropolitano this term.
Valencia have not actually beaten the capital giants in the league since October 2014, and Atletico recorded a 1-0 victory in the reverse match at Mestalla earlier this season.
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
Valencia La Liga form:
We say: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Valencia
Valencia have shown recent improvement in the league, but they have been so disappointing on their travels, and Atletico are currently in excellent form. We are finding it difficult to predict anything other than a home success on Saturday evening, but it should be a close game in terms of the scoreline.