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La Liga: Atleti’s Chance to Show Who’s Boss

Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal

It’s been an odd sort of season for Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone’s side began full of optimism, started okay and then, well, fell away.

Wins have been hard to come by; but there have been signs of the old Rojiblancos recently, as they ground out two 1-0 victories over the past two weeks. Atleti saw off Granada in La Liga and then stubbornly, and brilliantly, frustrated Liverpool in the Champions League.

But a disappointing run prior to that has seen the Madrid giants fall well off the pace, and they are now 13 points behind top club Real Madrid. Atleti have been threatening to overtake Los Blancos as Madrid’s best team in recent times, but this season saw the return of Zinedine Zidane to the Bernabeu and he has taken Real to the top.

On Sunday Atletico welcome Villarreal to the Wanda Metropolitano for a top-six clash, the Yellow Submarine is in a rich vein of form and in the hunt for a Champions League spot.

It’s a great game for SBOTOP La Liga fans to look forward to; a six-pointer and a chance for Los Rojiblancos to show who’s boss.

 

Talking Points

Diego wants to see Vintage Atleti

Los Rojiblancos put on a classic Simeone show to beat Liverpool in this week’s Champions League Round of 16 clash. Saul Niguez stabbed home the only goal of the game on four minutes, and then they shut out arguably the best-attacking team in Europe for the following 90.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool rarely comes across such a defence-minded group in the Premier League, certainly one which is so excellent in that field. But Atleti rarely looked unsettled throughout the game and restricted the Reds to eight shots, and none on target.

Upfront, with Joao Felix injured, Alvaro Morata has been leading the line, but Diego Costa made an appearance as substitute on Tuesday night and he’ll be pushing for a start.

But before the euphoria of this triumph over Liverpool Atleti were held to a draw by Valencia last time out and could sleepwalk into the Europa League if they are not careful. Their La Liga 2020 results need to pick up consistently. With a third of the season left Simeone’s side sits in fourth place on goal difference only. The La Liga table spells out the danger, with Sevilla, Villarreal, Valencia and Real Sociedad all within three points of that coveted Champions League slot.

Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez ready to take on Villarreal in La Liga
Saul Niguez scores the winner against Liverpool in the midweek Champions League clash

Yellow Submarine can see the surface

Ten points from the last four games have seen Villarreal rise up the table and if they can somehow manufacture a win over Atletico they could jump another two places.

This time last season they were deep in trouble, in 18th place with 23 points, but Javier Calleja’s side has been transformed and he has a talented pool of players to choose from. In the derby win over Levante, last week, Gerard Moreno and Moi Gomez were on target, while former BVB frontman Paco Alcacer came off the bench.

Alcacer had a great season in Dortmund scoring 23 goals in 37 appearances for the Bundesliga giants and he was a target for Premier League Newcastle before heading to Villarreal as the Yellow submarine’s record signing in January.

Ex-Arsenal man Santi Cazorla is the heartbeat of the side and has eight goals and five assists this term. This is a team with attacking menace.

 

History

Villarreal have had the better of the head to heads over the last 37 meetings, winning 15 to Atleti’s 12 and there have been 10 draws.

Four of the previous eight games have ended in a draw, and Calleja would be delighted with that outcome again. The latest Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal betting odds say his team has a tough task.

Los Rojiblancos have been solid as ever at the Wanda Metropolitano, winning seven, drawing four and losing just once this season.

 

Betting Tip

??
Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal Under 2.50 @ 1.80
February 24, 04:00(GMT+8)

Atleti are at 1.68 to win with the draw at 3.80 and Villarreal at 4.70 to grab an unexpected victory.

It’s likely to be a tight game. Each of the last three meetings have yielded fewer than 2.50 goals, and despite Villarreal’s attacking flair I think they will find to difficult to break down a steely Atleti defence.

I’m backing Los Rojiblanco’s backline to dominate the game.

And the most likely scoreline? It’s 1-0 at odds of 5.60…what else?

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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