Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal

Atletico Madrid and Villarreal are set to lock horns at the Estadio Metropolitano in a handsomely-looking La Liga encounter.

Atletico Madrid demolished Celtic 6-0 in midweek Champions League action before renewing Diego Simeone’s contract, meaning they come into this round in high spirits despite losing 2-1 to Las Palmas in their last La Liga outing. ‘Los Rojiblancos’ won’t care much about that setback, knowing they return to the Metropolitano, where they’ve won their 14 top-flight matches on the trot for only the second time in the 21st century. Atletico’s scoring prowess has been off the charts this season, with Simeone’s side bagging 38 goals across 15 competitive games at an average of 2.53 per game. That’s a positive sign, considering they’ve only managed one clean sheet in their last ten home league matches. Moreover, they’ve gone winless in three successive top-flight H2Hs at home (D2, L1) since a 3-1 win in February 2020.

Extending their decent run in Madrid looks like a pipe dream for Villarreal, who, despite beating Maccabi Haifa 2-1 in the Europa League in midweek, sacked underperforming manager Pacheta. Indeed, the visitors’ horrible season has already seen them relieve two coaches of their duties, with interim boss Miguel Angel Tena looking to help them bounce back from a 3-2 home defeat to Athletic Bilbao last time out. Easier said than done, though, as ‘El Submarino Amarillo’ have only won three of their 12 La Liga fixtures this season (D3, L6). However, there’s a silver lining. They’ve gone unbeaten on four of their five league travels in 2023/24 (W2, D2), but it’s worth noting that both their away wins came against sides stranded in the bottom half of the table.

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