Valencia hosts the Spanish champions Atlético Madrid at the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday at 16:15 GMT. As the race for La Liga heats up, Atlético will seek to take all three points before the international break.
This match is important to Diego Simeone’s men as they seek to keep touch with the teams ahead of them, whereas José Bordalás’ side bid to climb the table from their current 10th position.
Can Valencia Inject Some Consistency Into Their Season?
Consistency has eluded José Bordalás’ side as they seek to win the points needed to climb into the top half of the La Liga table. They had problems last season when they finished 13th with 43 points and nine points from the drop zone.
This season does not look any different after several bad performances have seen Los Murciélagos lose four and draw four matches out of the first 12 outings in the La Liga season.
With just four wins this term, Los Murciélagos will need to improve their performances to achieve the consistency they need to impact the top half of the table.
Can Atletico Keep Pace With the Top of La Liga
Atlético’s defense of their title has not got to a flying start as many at Los Rojiblancos would have expected. But 22 points from a possible 33 and 3 points behind the league leaders with a match in hand means that Atlético’s campaign is in full swing.
Diego Simeone’s side will need to be more consistent and improve on their return of two wins, two draws, and a defeat from their last five matches in La Liga to recapture their title.
With Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Real Sociedad starting well, Atlético’s cannot afford to drop points without losing ground in the title race. The outing at the Mestalla Stadium provides a good platform for Los Rojiblancos to set a marker for the rest of the season and demonstrate that they mean business in defending their championship.
Valencia are on a five-match run where they have collected five points out of a possible 15 points, with one win, two draws, and two defeats.
When the run is extended to include 6 La Liga matches, Los Murciélagos have collected six points out of a possible 18. This is worrying form for José Bordalás’s side in their struggle to consolidate their position in the top half of the table and avoid relegation.
In their last six outings in La Liga, Atlético Madrid have collected 11 points out of a possible 18 points. The dropped points came in the form of two draws against league leaders Real Sociedad (2-2) and Levante (0-0), while they lost 1-0 to Alaves.
Atlético are second in the group behind Liverpool in the Champions League with one win, one draw, and one defeat.
Going into the outing at the Mestalla, Diego Simeone knows that his side needs to improve and be more consistent in collecting full points to keep up with the top of the table and improve their chances of defending their title.
José Bordalás will be without Thierry Correia in the match against Atletico. The 22-year-old suffered a muscle injury on September 20th and has missed seven matches since.
Valencia also have two players with a risk for suspension with accumulated four yellow cards. Mouctar Diakhaby and Hugo Guillamon both have four yellow cards in 10 appearances for the club this season.
Diego Simeone’s side are likely to be without Marcos Llorente at the Mestalla. The central midfielder suffered a muscle injury on October 22nd, and his return date has not been set. Llorente has missed four matches so far since the injury.
Thomas Lemar is also set to miss Atlético’s trip to Valencia with injury. Lemar suffered a muscle injury as well on October 25th. He has missed three matches so far since being sidelined.
Los Rojiblancos are also sweating on the availability of Geoffrey Kondogbia with a muscle injury, although his return is expected to be in a few weeks.
Atlético will also have to worry about José María Giménez, who is at risk of suspension, having collected 4 yellow cards in eight appearances for Los Rojiblancos.
Possible Starting Lineups
Cillissen; D. Foulquier, Gabriel, O. Alderete, J. Gaya; H. Guillmon; Helder Costa, U. Uracic, D. Wass, M. Andre; Goncalo Guedes
Oblak; S. Savic, J. Gimenez, H. Hermoso; K. Trippier, R. De Paul, Koke, Y. Ferreira Carrasco; A. Correa, A. Griezmann; L. Suarez
Players to Watch
If Valencia are to hit any consistent run of results, they will have to start scoring goals with frequency. Goncalo Guedes will play a crucial role in driving his team from the mid-table into the top half of the table as the tip of Valencia’s attack.
Guedes typically plays alone up front, which means he is vital in releasing pressure, holding the ball up, and linking up in the attacking end. He will be one of the most important players for Valencia in Sunday’s clash with the current champions.
Having moved from Barcelona with headlines about how he was a spent force, Suarez made all doubters eat their words. He led Atletico to the La Liga title ahead of his former club Barcelona and Real Madrid, the two favorites.
He will be important again if Diego Simeone’s men are to take all three points from the Mestalla to keep pace with the top of the table.
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Atletico will look to be solid in their approach, ensuring that all counter-attacks are dealt with while conceding as few chances as possible. This is the Diego Simeone way.
After forming this platform, Los Rojiblancos will look to get its attacking players into the game through quick transitions and push the wingbacks forward to join in the attacks.
Valencia will look to maintain solidity and avoid conceding a confidence-sapping early goal.
Given their current trajectory and the quality gap between the two teams, Atletico Madrid is likely to take all three points from the Mestalla.
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