Villarreal head to the Wanda Metropolitano to take on Atletico Madrid. The mattress-makers are currently second in the table, ten points behind Barcelona with this game in hand—but realistically, it’s hard to see them relling Barca in at this point.
They are coming off a big win against Juventus in the Champions League. Is there any reason for them to rotate players? No. On the surface of it, this should be an easy home win. Atleti have only allowed 17 goals all season, and only 7 in 12 matches at home. And with Antoine Griezmann now being joined by Diego Costa, well....
The big thing Villarreal can point to is their recent success against Atleti. Since returning to the Primera, we’re 2-2-1 against Atleti away. Last year a Carlos Bacca header gave us a deserved draw in this fixture.
Simeone’s men are accused of playing anti-football sometimes, and it certainly can be, but they are fifth in the league in goals scored; it’s true, though, that if Antoine Griezmann weren’t having such a good season (12 goals so far), who knows....
Villarreal have injury problems—Manu Trigueros and Daniele Bonera are out. And in the middle of the pitch, Rodri plays for the opponents now :(
Expect our usual recent 3-5-2 and probably the same lineup as against Sevilla, except for Funes Mori starting in place of Bonera.
All-time record: We’re 13-9-11 overall, but only 4-4-8 away.
Prediction: To be honest, I’m not expecting anything here if Atleti are on song; it promises to be a bruising contest whatever happens. Let’s say 2-0 Atleti, sadly. I just don’t see us having the firepower to get past Godin, Gimenez, and Oblak.
However, I am ALWAYS happy to be proven wrong!! Endavant!