Defending La Liga champions Atletico Madrid will aim to put their midweek disappointment against Liverpool to bed when they take on Valencia this Sunday.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid will travel to the Mestalla to take on Valencia this Sunday in La Liga. Both teams have been underwhelming this season, and a win will do them a world of good heading into the international break.

The defending champions are currently in the fourth spot, five points off the top of the table. A win on the night will ensure that Atletico stay within touching distance of the summit as they look to get their season back on track.

Meanwhile, Valencia have won just four of their first ten games and are languishing in the tenth spot in La Liga. They are a far cry from the dominant Los Murcielagos sides of the past. However, playing in front of their fans, they could aim for an upset.

Atletico have also been a far cry from the dominant side we have grown accustomed to seeing. Liverpool showcased the Spaniards’ deficiencies for the world to see, and Simeone had no response to Jurgen Klopp’s approach. Whether it will be something Valencia will look to replicate remains to be seen.

Both teams have been similarly proficient, scoring eight goals so far in the league in 2021/22. Valencia, however, have been open at the back and have conceded 17 goals so far. They have the fourth-worst defence in the league this season.

Atletico won the corresponding fixture 1-0 last season and will be hoping for a similar outcome this time. Simeone’s men have not lost to Valencia since 2014. The Hard Tackle looks at how both teams could line up on the evening and what tactics will be employed.

Team News

Valencia

Los Che will be without Gabriel Paulista, Maxi Gomez, Denis Cheryshev and Toni Lato for the clash against the Spanish capital club. Jose Bordalas looks set to deploy a 4-4-2 system that he has used regularly this season.

Jasper Cillessen looks set to start in goal. The back four will see Mouctar Diakhaby and Omar Alderete start as the centre-back pairing with Dimitri Foulquier and Jose Gaya deployed on the wings.

Hugo Guillamon and Daniel Wass look set to start in the middle of the pitch and will be tasked with winning the midfield battle. Helder Costa and Carlos Soler will start out wide and move up the pitch when in possession.

Marcos Andre and Goncalo Guedes will lead the Valencia frontline on Sunday. Atletico’s backline is among the most feared in Europe, and it promises to be put to the test on Sunday.  Los Che have not won against Atletico in their last 13 matches. Atletico are currently far from their best, and Valencia could take full advantage to pile further misery on Simeone.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2) : Cillessen; Foulquier, Diakhaby, Alderete, Gaya; Soler, Wass, Guillamon, Costa; Guedes, Andre

homecrowd-formation-M6cGiLNKzQ68yaHAJ6oG

Atletico Madrid

Atletico will be without Marcos Llorente and could also miss Geoffrey Kondogbia and Thomas Lemar for the trip to Valencia. Antoine Griezmann was suspended for the trip to Anfield and is expected to return to the lineup at the Mestalla.

Simeone can also call upon a fit-again Stefan Savic, who could replace Felipe at the back. The Argentine manager could very well go ahead with a 3-4-2-1 formation that is uber defensive when they aren’t in possession.

Jan Oblak picks himself in goal while Jose Gimenez, Stefan Savic and Mario Hermoso will form the back three. Rodrigo De Paul and Koke will provide the engine room in the middle of the park, while Kieran Trippier and Yannick Carrasco will be expected to provide width on the flanks.

Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix will be expected to provide the creativity going forward. The duo look set to be deployed behind Luis Suarez, who has a point to prove after a forgettable outing against Liverpool.

Simeone’s men will get stuck in from the kickoff and establish themselves as a formidable side physically and tactically. Still hurting from the crushing loss to Liverpool, it remains to be seen how Atletico approach the game.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1) : Oblak; Savic, Gimenez, Hermoso; Trippier, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Felix, Griezmann; Suarez

homecrowd-formation-6AO7qG9hlRHA20tzCgGZ

Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid are on a 13-match unbeaten run against Valencia in all competitions (W8 D5).
  • Atletico are unbeaten in their last six visits to the Mestalla. They have never gone seven games unbeaten away to Valencia.
  • Atletico Madrid have secured the most points in La Liga this season after conceding the first goal (8). Valencia are joint-second with six points.
  • Both Valencia and Atletico have scored 18 goals in La Liga this season. The former, however, have already conceded 17 and have the fourth-worst defence in the league.
  • Valencia have won five of their last eight La Liga games at the Mestalla (D2 L1), as many as in their previous 16 at home.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann is set to return to the Atletico lineup. (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Griezmann is set to return to the Atletico lineup. (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Having been suspended for the trip to Anfield, Greizmann will be eager to make a mark this weekend against Valencia. In recent years, the French international has seen his stock fall but has put up some stellar performances for the Spanish champions since returning from Barcelona in the summer.

While Luis Suarez and Joao Felix have their own set of tricks, Griezmann is often the trump card to make the moment of magic happen. He will be called upon once again to break through a Valencia defence that is there for the taking.

Prediction

Valencia 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Valencia have won four of their last six games at home. However, it does not take away from the fact that they also won just four games in their previous 16 home games. The Mestalla is not the fortress it once was, and Atletico Madrid are comfortably the better team on paper. More so, Simeone will be keen to erase the memories of their humiliation at Anfield.

Unless Valencia are ready, they might very well become the object of the champions’ fury. Defensively solid with matchwinners leading the attack, Atletico have all the ingredients to come away with all three points. As long as they turn up, it should be an easy win for Simeone & co.

Leave A Comment...

*