Preview: Levante vs. Atletico Madrid

Levante host La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, with the visitors hoping to take advantage of this game in hand, and move further clear of the sides in pursuit of the top spot.

Diego Simeone’s side currently sit five points clear at the top of the La Liga table, but with the recent good form of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, it is crucial that they remain consistent and secure another good result here.
Levante will come into this game hoping to cause another upset, after they beat one of Atleti’s title rivals Real Madrid 2-1 at the Bernabeu in late January.

Madrid defender Eder Militao was shown a red card just nine minutes into the match, but Los Blancos took the lead soon after through Marco Asensio, before goals from Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti sealed an impressive comeback win for Las Granotas.

However, Paco Lopez’s side have failed to win either of their last two league matches since the victory in Madrid, most recently losing 1-0 to Osasuna, with Ante Budimir netting the winner 75 minutes into the game.

Before that, Levante drew 2-2 at home to eighth-placed Granada, with Las Granotas looking set to pick up all three points until Roberto Soldado equalised in injury time for the visitors.

As a result, Lopez’s side now sit 10th in the La Liga table, a progression on last season’s position of 12th, which followed two consecutive 15th-placed finishes in the top flight.

However, their place could be under threat on Wednesday, as they take on the league leaders, who have only lost once in league action so far this season.
Last time out, Atletico Madrid got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win away at Granada.
Marcos Llorente put Los Rojiblancos ahead on the hour mark, but Yangel Herrera equalised instantly for the hosts, before Angel Correa bagged the winner for Atleti, sealing their 17th La Liga victory of the campaign.

That followed a disappointing 2-2 draw with Celta Vigo, with Iago Aspas equalising late for the ninth-placed side, after a Luis Suarez brace.

Simeone’s side now sit five points clear at the top of the division, with two games in hand on Real Madrid, meaning that a win on Wednesday would see them move eight points ahead of their city rivals, having played a match fewer.

Their strong league position is largely down to their solid defensive unit, as is a trademark of a Diego Simeone team, with no La Liga side matching their 13 goals conceded from 21 matches.

However, the difference this campaign could be an improved attack, with their 44 goals only topped by Barcelona, after Simeone has previously been known to prioritise a solid defensive structure over a free-scoring attack.

That has largely been down to the signing of Luis Suarez, who has fired the side from the capital to the top of the table with 16 goals this season, more than any other player in the league, since his move in the summer from Barcelona.

The improved balance of attack and defence could see Los Rojiblancos lift their first La Liga title since 2014, having lost just one match in the league this season, with a win here making their claim even stronger.

Levante La Liga form: WDDWDL
Levante form (all competitions): WWWDDL

Atletico Madrid La Liga form: WWWWDW

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