Atletico Madrid will aim to make it four wins in a row in La Liga when they host Cadiz at the Wanda Metropolitano on Friday.

Atletico Madrid can count themselves out of the La Liga title race, as leaders Real Madrid hold a 17-point gap over the reigning champions. The Rojiblancos are now concentrating on finishing in the top four, and their recent good run has certainly helped them stay on course in the race for the Champions League qualifying spots.

Since their shock defeat to bottom-placed Levante, Atletico have won their last three games in a row against Osasuna, Celta Vigo and Real Betis, with the Colchoneros pushing the latter out of the top four. They now sit two points over Betis and level on points with Barcelona, who remain ahead on goal difference.

The next few games are very important for Diego Simeone, and the Friday night kick-off against Cadiz will help get some extra rest before their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second-leg tie against Manchester United. Atletico Madrid have been strong at the Wanda Metropolitano, picking up 27 points from 13 games this season.

Cadiz, meanwhile, boast the worst home record in La Liga this season. But their troubles at home can be temporarily left behind when they embark on a trip to Madrid. Cadiz remain in danger of getting relegated at the end of the season as they sit in the 18th spot. They are just two points shy of 17th-placed Rayo Vallecano, so a positive result against Atletico could be crucial.

Cadiz have improved recently and come into this pivotal game on the back of a four-game unbeaten run. They beat their nearest rivals Vallecano last weekend and will now hope to repeat the success versus Atleti. In reality, Cadiz are nowhere near the team that finished 12th in La Liga last season and may have only a few games left in the season to save face.

Team News & Tactics

Atletico Madrid

Diego Simeone has plenty of players potentially missing for the Cadiz clash and could subsequently be big doubts for next week’s encounter with Manchester United. Sime Vrsaljko, Thomas Lemar, Angel Correa, Mario Hermoso, Stefan Savic, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Koke, Matheus Cunha and Daniel Wass are all likely to miss the clash against Cadiz.

Atletico are expected to retain a similar lineup to the one that recently faced Real Betis. A back three comprising Felipe, Jose Gimenez and Reinildo Mandava should shield Jan Oblak between the sticks. It is not the ideal set of players Simeone would have wanted, but his hands are tied due to the number of absentees.

Yannick Carrasco and Marcos Llorente should slot in as wing-backs on either flank for Atletico. At the same time, a midfield three of youngster Javi Serrano, Hector Herrera and Rodrigo De Paul should look to help assert the home team’s dominance on the proceedings.

Joao Felix and Antoine Griezmann should lead the line for the reigning champions of Spain. Luis Suarez should occupy a place on the bench and is likely to get minutes in the second half.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Felipe, Gimenez, Reinildo; Llorente, Serrano, Herrera, De Paul, Carrasco; Griezmann, Felix

Cadiz

Ivan Alejo misses out for Cadiz due to an injury he picked up against Rayo Vallecano in the last game. Fede San Emeterio, who was also injured in the same game, has recovered and is part of the travelling squad to Madrid. Alvaro Negredo and Ruben Alcaraz, who were deemed doubts, have also made the cut for the travelling party.

There could be changes made to the team that saw off Vallecano last time out, though. Lucas Perez, Ruben Sobrino, Jose Mari and Jens Jonsson, all of whom are pushing hard for a starting berth in the lineup, could get their opportunities at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Cadiz will likely remain in a 4-4-2 shape, with two leading strikers upfront. Choco Lozano and Perez could be the players to spearhead the attack, while Jose Mari and Jonsson take up the central midfield roles.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Ledesma; Akapo, Hernandez, Chust, Espino; Sobrino, Jonsson, Mari, Idrissi; Lozano, Perez

Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid have won each of their last three games in La Liga.
  • Atletico Madrid are level on points with third-placed Barcelona, with goal difference separating the two sides.
  • Atletico Madrid have amassed 27 points from 12 home games in this La Liga season.
  • Cadiz are unbeaten in their last four La Liga games.
  • Cadiz have conceded 12 goals in their last three games against Atletico Madrid in La Liga.

Player to Watch

Joao Felix

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The Portuguese wizard’s upturn in form coincided with Atletico performing well on the pitch. Diego Simeone has used Joao Felix quite regularly in recent games and has seen his team reap the rewards. The former Benfica man has scored three goals and notched up one assist in his last three games, including a timely double over Real Betis.

The 22-year-old may have found himself out of favour at times this season, but he needs to show his quality consistently to cement a place in the team. Games like the one against Cadiz could provide the Portuguese with the perfect platform to replicate the form he showed against Betis.

Prediction

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Cadiz

The Rojiblancos have hit top form in recent weeks, and they may look forward to the clash against Cadiz to extend their current winning run. Cadiz, who are under tremendous pressure to avoid getting relegated, may not thank their stars for facing Atletico at this particular time when they are in good form. The reigning champions are expected to take three points without conceding on Friday.

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