24 February 2020
Atletico Madrid will hope to maintain momentum after beating Liverpool in the Champions League when they take on Villarreal in La Liga (LL) at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano this weekend.
But, things have not been going well for Atletico in the domestic championship lately. They’ve picked up just one triumph in their last five LL outings (D2, L2), drawing a blank on three of those occasions. Sitting only two points above sixth-placed Villarreal, they now face the prospect of losing fourth place unless they manage to step up their game. Another reason for concern is that Los Colchoneros have struggled to secure a win in four of their previous five top-flight home clashes against Villarreal (D2, L2), failing to get on the scoresheet three times in the process. Yet, Diego Simeone can lean on Atletico’s recent LL home form (W3, D1), and the fact they’ve conceded just three goals in their past ten LL matches here and none in the previous four.
As for the visitors, they’ve won three of their last four league matches (D1), with all of those victories seeing over 2.5 goals and both teams score. Additionally, they are unbeaten on the road in four consecutive LL games (W3, D1), with each of their successes in that four-game sequence seeing precisely one first-half goal followed by two in the second period. But, Villarreal’s lapses in concentration after the halftime break saw 65% (11) of their 17 LL away goals conceded come in the second half. Therefore, it’s not strange that they lost two of six LL away games in which they’ve been on the front foot at the break. Also, ten of their 13 LL away fixtures have produced over 2.5 goals (83%) – league’s joint-high.
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