The two meanest defences in La Liga go head to head, as Atletico Madrid host Valencia on Wednesday night, kicking off at 7:30pm local time in Spain. The hosts will want to secure 2nd spot in the league ahead of local rivals Real Madrid, with Valencia still in the hunt for a top four spot.[geot exclude_country="US" ][/geot]
Home Team: Atletico Madrid
Atletico Madrid’s title challenge unofficially ended once they lost 2-0 to Barcelona a fortnight ago, but they can now look to claiming 2nd spot in La Liga, which is no mean feat, ahead of rivals Real Madrid.
There is currently four points separating the sides, with 5 more matches to play, but given Real Madrid’s rather disastrous campaign, you’d expect Atletico to feel somewhat embarrassed if they were to finish below them. Atletico Madrid come into this match off the back of two victories, against Eibar and Celta Vigo, and typically kept two clean sheets in the process.
Atletico Madrid are losing Diego Godin in the summer, and it remains unclear whether Antoine Griezmann will stay or not. Manager Diego Simeone has a huge summer ahead, and his task will be to keep his star players, and rebuild so they can get closer to Barcelona for next season.
Away Team: Valencia
Valencia have turned their season around quite drastically, as they have progressed to the Europa League semi-finals, and have an eye on claiming the 4th spot in La Liga – assuring them of Champions League football for next season.
Similar to Atletico Madrid, their success has been built on their defensive resilience this season, and have only lost 5 games in La Liga all campaign. Getafe are currently holding the 4th spot, but Valencia, and Sevilla, are just two points behind and have an excellent opportunity of earning something many had led to believe was out of their grasp.
There haven’t been too many prolific scorers in Valencia’s colours this season, but Goncalo Guedes has the potential to be a talisman, as he comes into this match scoring both goals that earned Valencia a 2-1 victory in their last outing against Real Betis. Can he produce again, against the sternest defence in the league?
Head to Head
Valencia haven’t had a lot of joy against Atletico Madrid in recent seasons, with them not being able to win in their last 9 meetings. During that time, Atletico Madrid had won 5, with the other four ending in a draw.
The last three meetings between the sides have been very close, with two of them being draws, and the other was a narrow victory for Atletico Madrid, in their only ever previous meeting at their new stadium. Valencia’s last win against Atletico Madrid came in a 3-1 win back in 2014, and their last away win came way back in December 2011.
Prediction and Tips
Atletico Madrid are favourites at 17/20 to get the victory, with Valencia priced at 10/3. For the sides to share the spoils, that is at 9/4. I anticipate both sides cancelling each other out, so I am going to go with the value here, and back a draw, with it either being 0-0 (7/1), or 1-1 at 5/1.
You can back the game to be any score draw, priced at 7/2. I don’t anticipate there to be many goals, so you can back either team, Atletico Madrid (11/10) or Valencia (3/1), to keep a clean sheet, and also back there to be less than 1.5 goals at 7/4.
It may be cagey throughout, and a goal could be scored when the defenders begin to get tired later on, so being patient and backing the first goal to be scored between minutes 71 and 80 is priced at a generous 18/1.
Finally, if you want to go against form, stats and logic, which is completely fine as football is unpredictable, then why not have a cheeky bet on both teams scoring in both halves at 16/1.
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