Atletico Madrid will be bidding to make it five La Liga victories in a row when they take on capital rivals Rayo Vallecano at Estadio de Vallecas on Saturday night.
Diego Simeone’s side are currently fourth in the table, level on points with third-placed Barcelona, while Rayo sit in 13th position, eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Rayo managed to end a six-game losing run in Spain’s top flight last weekend when they held Sevilla to a 1-1 draw, with the result leaving them in 13th spot in the table, eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Andoni Iraola’s side were so impressive in the first half of the campaign, but they have not been victorious in Spain’s top flight since the middle of December, which has seen them slide down the table in recent months.
There is seemingly enough credit in the bank for the capital side to avoid relegation, which was always the main aim this term following their promotion via the Segunda Division playoffs last term.
Rayo have not actually managed to secure back-to-back seasons at this level since 2016, while they have played Segunda Division football in four of the last six campaigns, so it would have to go down a successful campaign if they manage to finish 17th or above.
Los Franjirrojos have impressed on home soil this season, picking up 27 points from their 14 matches, but they have not beaten Atletico in La Liga since February 2013 and suffered a 2-0 loss in the reverse match at Wanda Metropolitano back in January.
Atletico, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a 1-0 win over Manchester United in the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie, which secured a 2-1 aggregate victory and booked their spot in the quarter-finals of the competition once again.
Simeone’s side have also won their last four in the league against Osasuna, Celta Vigo, Real Betis and Cadiz to rise into fourth spot in the table, level on points with third-placed Barcelona.
Atletico are also now just five points behind second-placed Sevilla, who have allowed Real Madrid to open up a 10-point lead at the top of the table, but there is still a fascinating race for the top four, with Real Betis, Real Sociedad and Villarreal all still very much in the argument.
The Red and Whites have been unable to launch a title challenge this term, but they are certainly a team to watch in the Champions League and will, like Barcelona, be eyeing second spot in the table.
Atletico’s away form in La Liga this season has been inconsistent, picking up just 21 points from their 14 matches, but they ran out 1-0 winners over Rayo on their last visit in February 2019.
Rayo Vallecano La Liga form:
Rayo Vallecano form (all competitions):
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
We say: Rayo Vallecano 0-2 Atletico Madrid
Atletico are flying at the moment and will have been further boosted by their win over Man United in the Champions League. Rayo, on the other hand, are struggling for form, and we are finding it very difficult to back anything other than a routine victory for the Spanish champions this weekend.