Diego Simeone’s hope to clinch his second La Liga title as a manager this season is soon under the threat. Los Choconeros have been in the negative trend with only one victory in the last five matches. Their big margin difference last year is now down to only three points clear from the defending Champions Real Madrid. Atletico does still have one game in hand but it is their form which needs to be improved. This weekend, they will be travelling to Estadio La Ceramica to encounter Villareal, which is sitting on the sixth in the standings.
Both teams’ previous games
The Yellow Submarines were held in a 1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao last weekend. Their main scorer Gerard Moreno blasted one home again before the former Torino man, Alex Belenguer equalised as he tapped in the ball into the back of the net. Their unbeaten run in La Liga still endures to their sixth consecutive games.
Luis Suarez and Co once again suffered another loss at home. This time it was in the midweek fixture of UEFA Champions League when playing host to Chelsea. The spectacular overhead kick goal from Olivier Giroud was the difference in this tight affair.
Unai Emery seems to be switching back to his old formation deployed earlier this season, 4-4-2. Their form was slightly improving when holding Bilbao in a draw. Gerrard Moreno and Paco Alcacer are still the best option upfront while Moi Gomez and Samuel Chukwueze operating wide plus Dani Parejo and Manu Trigueros or Etienne Capoue are in the middle. Several names who have to miss the games are the former Liverpool man, Albert Moreno, Vicente Iborra, Franc Coquelin and Mario Gaspar.
Meanwhile, Diego Simeone’s 3-4-2-1 starts to be easily anticipated by his rivals. The Argentine boss might consider deploying 4-2-3-1 with Luis Suarez is still the targetman while Angel Correa and Saul Niguez playing as the winger. Joao Felix should get a nod for a freer role supported by Koke and Marco Llorente behind him. Such formation can be transformed to 4-3-2-1 along the way. The names in their injury table are Jose Gimenez, Hector Herrera and Yannick Carrasco while Kieran Trippier is still suspended.
Players to watch
Villareal’s top scorer, Gerrard Moreno, is the key man of the squad with 14 goals and two assists so far. Another vital figure to watch is the former Valencia captain, Dani Parejo who has notched up three goals and two assists.
Los Rojiblancos’s key performer, the versatile Marcos Llorente has registered nine goals and eight assists. Beside Luis Suarez, the Portuguese youngster Joao Felix has been impressive as well by contributing nine goals and four assists in La Liga and UCL.
Villareal vs Atletico Madrid Prediction
This is an encounter of two teams looking for a way to bounce back from their series of negative results. Atletico’s ineffective attack needs to be coped soon while Unai Emery’s men’s weakness in protecting the lead must be stopped immediately for their domestic campaign. The game might end in a draw considering both sides’ disappointing form.