Thursday, 30th April, 2015
El Madrigal, Villarreal
Atletico Madrid look to extend their unbeaten run in La Liga to 11 games, while Villarreal look to get out of a 9 game winless slump.
Villarreal will face Atletico Madrid at home in a La Liga fixture that promises to be an exciting contest. On one hand we have Atletico Madrid, who are looking to strengthen their grip on the third place with a win, while on the other, we have Villarreal who are trying to get out of their slump and hold on to the last Europa League spot. The game will be an intense affair as both the teams have enough reasons to fight for the win. Atletico Madrid, who will be facing Bilbao and Barcelona later in the season will want to secure as many points as possible on every matchday, in order to make sure they qualify to the Champions League smoothly. Meanwhile, Villarreal have gone 9 games without a win in all competitions and their current form suggests that they might fail to secure Europa League qualification at the end of the season.
Team News and Tactics
Villarreal will not be going into this game carrying any burden of expectations. In fact, the home side have nothing to lose on Thursday and they can have lots of freedom during the game. the Yellow Submarine are six points clear off Malaga at the sixth spot in the table with five more games to go. Villarreal can still afford to lose two of the five games and make sure they win against Malaga to remain in contention for Europa League qualification. However, a defeat on Thursday is sure to add more pressure on Marcelinoa s side. The home side will be able to dominate possession against Atletico, but it will be a tough job for the attackers to break through the solid Atleti defence. With Villarreal failing to score more than one goal in their last seven league games, it is tough to predict the home side to score against arguably the best defence in La Liga.
Marcelino has been struggling with the fitness issues of his players. The manager is without Musacchio, who is out for the season and captain, Bruno, who is yet to feature this year. Key attackers, Luciano Vietto, Giovani Dos Santos and Denis Cheryshev are also out on the sidelines along with Uche, leaving the manager with very few options upfront and no fire on the bench.
Probable line-up (4-4-1-1): Asenjo; Mario, Jokic, Ruiz, Costa; Jonathan, Pina, Trigueros, Campbell; Gomez; Moreno;
Diego Simeone wouldna t have asked for a better time to travel to El Madrigal. The Madrid-based club is in fine form in the league while the away side are going through a disastrous phase. Come Thursday, Simeone would be keen to extend his sidea s unbeaten run to 11 games and further strengthen their position in the table. Against Villarreal, it wona t be a very tough task for Atletico. The home side are without almost all of their key attackers and Atleticoa s defence will have no qualms in handling them. Atletico will not be interested in keeping possession. The away side will let the opposition keep the ball and stay back and look to catch the backline off-guard with their threatening counter-attacks. It will be an easy game for the Atletico defenders but the attackers will have to be clinical and make use of the chances they get. A win will ease the pressure on Atletico and they can be prepared to drop a few points before the end of the season.
Diego Simeone will be back on the sidelines after serving a one-match suspension. The Argentine has fewer problems to deal with than his counterpart in terms of player fitness. Apart from Siqueira and Mario Suarez, Simeone will have the entire squad at his disposal. Mandzukic and Griezmann are expected to lead from the front with Torres backing them up on the bench. Miranda will return to the starting 11, forcing Jose Gimenez back to the bench.
Probable Line-Up (4-4-1-1): Oblak; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Gamez; Koke, Tiago, Gabi, Turan; Griezmann, Mandzukic;
Player to watch out for
Antoinne Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
The France international has been in fine form this season and has without doubt been one of the best players for the club. The forward has scored 22 league goals this term and is only behind Messi and Ronaldo in the race for Pichichi. While it is nearly impossible for Griezmann to finish the season as the top scorer, the Frenchman surely promises to add a lot more to his tally before the end of the season.
Villarreal 0-2 Atletico Madrid
For a side that has gone nine games without a victory, it is difficult to change their fortunes against a club like Atletico Madrid. Villarreal, who have scored only one goal in their last seven league games, will hardly be able to break down the Atletico defence, let alone beat them. It seems like another game without a win is on the cards for Villarreal, while Atletico Madrid will extend their unbeaten run to 11 games.