Atletico Madrid will be looking to bounce back from successive defeats when they resume their La Liga campaign at home to Valencia on Saturday night.
Diego Simeone’s side are currently fourth in the table, boasting 33 points from 20 matches, while Valencia occupy ninth position, having collected 29 points from there opening 21 games.
Atletico will enter this weekend’s contest off the back of successive defeats, having lost 2-1 to Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals of the Spanish Super Cup on January 13 before suffering a 2-0 defeat to Real Sociedad in the last-16 stage of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night.
Simeone’s team also drew their last league game away to Villarreal on January 9, meaning that they have not been victorious in Spain’s top flight since a 2-0 home success over high-flying Rayo Vallecano on January 2.
The Red and Whites have only won one of their last six league fixtures, suffering four defeats in the process, which has left them in fourth position in the table, 16 points behind leaders Real Madrid.
The reigning Spanish champions are not in a title race this season but are in a top-four battle, with Real Sociedad, Barcelona, Rayo Vallecano, Villarreal and Valencia also in close proximity of the Champions League positions with a lot of football still to be played.
Atletico are unbeaten against Valencia in the league since October 2014, but the points were shared in a 3-3 draw at Mestalla earlier this season, and there have been at least four goals in three of the last four La Liga meetings between the two sides.
Valencia, meanwhile, will enter the contest off the back of a 1-1 draw with Sevilla on Wednesday, with Goncalo Guedes cancelling out an early own goal from Mouctar Diakhaby.
Los Che have won seven, drawn eight and lost six of their 21 La Liga matches this season to collect 29 points, which has left them in ninth spot in the table, four points behind their opponents on Saturday.
Valencia finished 13th in Spain’s top flight last season – their worst campaign since claiming 14th in 1987-88 – but the club have shown a lot of improvement this season and are very much in the argument for a European finish with 17 league games still to play this term.
Jose Bordalas’s side have struggled for consistency on their travels this term, winning three, drawing three and losing four of their 10 away games to collect 12 points.
Valencia have won six of their last seven away matches in all competitions, though, with their only defeat during that run coming away to league leaders Real Madrid on January 8.
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
Valencia La Liga form:
Valencia form (all competitions):
We say: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Valencia
There is no downplaying the importance of this match, with both sides in need of the three points, especially Atletico considering their recent issues. It would not be a surprise to see a draw on Saturday, but we just have a feeling that the reigning champions will do enough to secure all three points.