Preview: Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid

Preview: Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid will head to Villarreal on the final matchday of the 2022-23 La Liga campaign looking for the win that could see them finish in second position in the table.

Diego Simeone’s side are currently third, one point behind second-placed Real Madrid, while Villarreal occupy fifth, which is where they will finish regardless of what happens on Sunday.

Villarreal have now finished fifth in Spain’s top flight in four of the last seven seasons, with another successful campaign seeing them secure Europa League football for the 2023-24 campaign.

The Yellow Submarine boast a record of 19 wins, six draws and 12 defeats from 37 matches this season, which has seen them collect 63 points to sit fifth in the table, five points behind fourth-placed Real Sociedad and four clear of sixth-placed Real Betis, so their final position has already been secured.

Quique Setien’s side will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 defeat at Rayo Vallecano, which ended a six-game unbeaten run, with five of those games being won.

Villarreal’s home form has been a key part of their success this season, picking up 38 points from their 18 matches in front of their own fans, but they will be welcoming an Atletico side with the third-best away record, collecting 34 points from their 18 games on their travels.

El Submarino Amarillo will be looking to do the league double over Atletico for the 2022-23 campaign, having run out 2-0 winners in the reverse game at Wanda Metropolitano back in August.

Atletico, as mentioned, are third in the table, just one point behind second-placed Real Madrid, who will finish their campaign at home to top-seven hopefuls Athletic Bilbao.

A draw would not be enough for Simeone’s side to finish second, as Real Madrid have the superior head-to-head record over their rivals, so a loss for Los Blancos against Athletic would still see them claim the position behind Barcelona.

However, should Atletico beat Villarreal, then Real Madrid would need to overcome Athletic to keep hold of second, so there is an incentive for both sides on the final matchday of the campaign.

The Red and Whites have largely been excellent domestically in the second half of the season, with their absence from the knockout rounds of any European competition allowing them to focus on the league.

Simeone’s side will enter this match off the back of a 2-1 victory over Real Sociedad last weekend, with Antoine Griezmann and Nahuel Molina on the scoresheet, and the capital giants will now be looking to end their La Liga campaign on a positive note.

Villarreal La Liga form:

Atletico Madrid La Liga form:

We say: Villarreal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Atletico are again expected to be missing some important players for this match, and Villarreal are likely to provide stern opposition for Simeone’s side. It would not be a surprise to see the visitors grind out a narrow win, but we are expecting the points being shared on Sunday might.

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