Griezmann confirms Atleti departure

France World Cup-winning striker Antoine Griezmann has decided to leave Atletico Madrid and seek a new challenge after five seasons with the Rojiblancos.

The 28-year-old joined Atleti from Real Sociedad in the summer of 2014 and has since scored 133 goals in 256 appearances in all competitions, helping the club to challenge strongly both domestically and in Europe.

Atletico won the Europa League in 2018 and reached the Champions League final in 2016, with Griezmann playing a pivotal role in France winning the World Cup just under a year ago.

The forward has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona for some time and Griezmann feels the time is now right for him to seek a fresh challenge.

A statement from the player read: "After speaking with people in the club's hierarchy, I wanted to speak with you, the fans. You have always shown me a lot of love and I wanted to be the first to tell you that I've taken the decision to leave to see other things and take on other challenges.

"It's been a difficult route to take, but it's what I feel I need. Thanks for everything during five fantastic years here, where I was able to win my first big trophies.

"There have been some incredible moments that I will always remember. You, the supporters, will always be in my heart."

Atletico complete a season which will see them finish second in La Liga with a trip to Levante on Saturday.

The visitors are 19/20 to win the game and 15/2 to do so by a 1-0 scoreline, with Griezmann priced at 10/11 to score at any time in the game.

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La Liga: Can Atletico Be Kings of Madrid?

Atletico Madrid vs Valencia

Atletico Madrid could be kings in their city.

They are closing in on second place in La Liga and to finish ahead of Real Madrid, their major rivals who are on a different playing field financially, would be the latest coup of boss Diego Simeone.

Yes they managed it last season but that paled into insignificance by their neighbours clinching a third successive Champions League crown.

This game will go a long way to determining whether they achieve that.

It won’t be straightforward of course.

us followers of the Spanish top flight know Valencia are chasing a top six finish themselves and, of course, are in the Europa League semi-finals where they will meet Arsenal.

Talking Points

Valencia can compete with the best on their day, as they have already proven this season.

They have proven matchwinners on their day and have often revelled in taking on the heavyweights.

Of course, similarly to Valencia in the early part of this decade, Atletico have also relished being in that role in recent seasons and enjoyed even greater success, reaching two Champions League finals and winning the domestic crown themselves.

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Now they chase a runners-up spot which will go some way to easing the pain of their last 16 exit from Europe last month.

Antoine Griezmann should return for this one after he missed the Easter weekend’s 1-0 victory at Eibar through a one match suspension.

In contrast, Jose Maria Gimenez played for more than 45 minutes against Eibar with a fractured toe and seems set to miss out.

The Uruguayan defender suffered a bone fracture associated with the dislocation of a toe, according to the club’s medical staff.

It is a painful injury that puts his participation in the next couple of matches under serious doubt.

On the positive side for Los Rojiblancos, Stefan Savic has stepped up his recovery and managed to train with the rest of the group on Easter Day.

This means the Montenegro international could be ready to fill in for Gimenez against Valencia alongside Diego Godin.

Another Diego continues to make the news for all the wrong reasons.

Costa reportedly refused to train last week, supposedly hurt by the lack of protection he received from Los Colchoneros following his red card against Barcelona and subsequent eight match ban which means he is not eligible to play again this season.

Goncalo Guedes is expected to upset us tips and win in Madrid

Goncalo Guedes celebrating his goal in Valencia’s win against Villarreal

Valencia have their own star qualities with Goncalo Guedes in fine form in recent weeks and setting up both goals in last week’s Europa League second leg victory over Villarreal before netting a fine double at the weekend.

Los Che centre-back Mouctar Diakhaby has also produced some notable performances.

A tight yet entertaining prospect is on the cards in the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

History

If goals are your thing, then perhaps this is not the game for you. The last three meetings have produced just three goals and has resulted in two draws. Earlier this season, on the opening day in fact,the sides played out a 1-1 draw with Angel Correa and Rodrigo on target. Rodrigo will miss this fixture after being sent off during their 2-1 success at Real Betis on Easter Day.

Last season Atletico won this corresponding fixture thanks to a solitary Correa goal.The other match ended goalless.

La Liga news statistics show that in the most recent eight meetings, Atletico have won five with the other three clashes ending all square.

Valencia last defeated Atletico 3-1 in October 2014. It remains their only success against them in the last 12 clashes.

Atletico and Valencia have met 43 times in total with Madrid triumphing on 16 occasions and Valencia 13. Fourteen encounters have ended all square.

Betting Tip

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Atletico Madrid vs Valencia Atletico Madrid Asian Handicap -0.50 @ 1.95
April 25 01:30 (GMT+8)

us La Liga betting odds are in favour of a home win.

Atletico are priced 1X2 @ 1.94 with Valencia @ 3.60.

The draw is available @ 3.25.

Asian Handicap betting odds are similar with Atletico – 0.50 @ 1.94 and Valencia +0.50 @ 1.96.

Over 2.25 goals @ 2.08 and under 2.25 goals @ 1.82 both suggest a fairly low scoring game.

Total goal 0-1 @ 2.56 and total goal 2-3 @ 1.92 contrasts with total goal 4-6 @ 4.90 – again expectation that few goals are expected.

Double Chance Valencia or Draw @ 1.76 is the best Double Chance offer, while a repeat of the opening weekend encounter – correct score 1-1 – @ 6.00 is tempting.

A repeat of this fixture last season – correct score 1-0 – offers odds @ 5.40.

I can see Atletico leading at the break and there are attractive offers of First Half 1X2 Atletico @ 2.67 and First Half Asian Handicap Atletico -0.25 @ 2.14.

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Euro 2020: Winning Start for World Champs

Moldova 1-4 France

France made an impressive start to their Euro 2020 campaign in Chisnau with a win over Moldova thanks to a 12 minute three goal blitz in the first half.

Didier Deschamp’s team was head and shoulders above their hosts for most of the game and with the match won at half time, they had a relatively easy second 45. Moldova head coach Alexandru Spiridon will be pleased how his team stuck at their task in the second half, but they had no answer to goals from Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane and Olivier Giroud in the first.

Kylian Mbappe added a late fourth and Moldova bagged a consolation which was enough for the home fans to celebrate.

Our pre-match us odds of 1.11 pointed to a big win for Les Bleus and it could have been bigger had the World Champions kept their foot on the gas, but it’s job done.

Highlights of the game

This game was a baptism of fire for Moldova and as expected they were under the cosh right from the off. France almost went ahead on eight minutes when Antoine Griezmann headed a back across goal but Alexei Koselev cleared brilliantly as Kingsley Coman set himself to score.

1X2 Newcastle United @ 8.50 Asian Handicap:-1.50 Arsenal @ 2.12 +2.75 Under @ 2.06CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.Premier League

Antoine Griezmann has been the subject of transfer speculation for two seasons now, and he may have been unsettled by Atletico Madrid’s surprise exit from the Champions League. But the way he took the opening goal suggested he can cope with the distraction. Paul Pogba chipped a delightful ball over the Moldova defence, and Griezmann watched it over his shoulder to fire a brilliant volley into the roof of the net.

Griezmann was the supplier for the second, sending over a corner which Raphael Varane met at the near post to glance his header home. Two goals in three minutes and Les Bleus had the game in the bag before the half hour.

Two became three on 36 minutes and it was oh so easy, as Blaise Matuidi found space behind the Moldova defence to dink a cross over which Olivier Giroud poked into the net.

It had been exhibition stuff at times from the French as Moldova spent much of the half just watching helplessly.

The hosts’ pride may have been a little dented and they came out for the second half with more bite, and Artiom Rozgoniuc was lucky to escape a card when he went right through Kylian Mbappe with a reckless challenge. Deschamps wasn’t amused.

France were happy to knock the ball around with Moldova often chasing shadows but, just as in the first half,  Les Blues couldn’t penetrate the home defence in the early stages of the second period. Pogba tested Alexei Koselev with a low drive which the keeper parried, and Moldova managed to get out of their own half for a while, before Mbappe tried his luck after a mazy run, but again Koselev saved. Then the keeper made an even better save when Pogba headed a Griezmann free kick towards the corner.

Mbappe made no mistake when he was put clean through on goal, firing low into the corner to make it four, but as the clock ran down Moldova had their big moment. Hugo Lloris couldn’t hold on to a header from Vitalie Damascan and Vladimir Ambros fired home the loose ball to send the home crowd wild.

Vladimir Ambros score his first international goal in Euro 2020 game vs France

Moldova’s Vladimir Ambros celebrates scoring their first goal with team mates

This result wasn’t exactly big Euro 2020 news but the way Les Bleus dismantled their hosts in the first half will have alerted their rivals.

Key statistics

These two teams are 168 places apart in the FIFA Rankings and boy did it show tonight! In the first half France took the game away from their hosts with three goals in 12 minutes as they registered nine shots on goal to Moldova’s zero.

France had only won one of its last four away games but this turned out to be an easy chance to improve that ratio and Les Bleus have now won 13 of their last 18 in total.

Spiridon has only won one of his 12 games in charge of Moldova. He wouldn’t have expected too much from this match but he’ll hope his team can improve from here. Worryingly, his side has only scored in five of his 12 games in the hot seat.

What’s next?

Next up Les Bleus go back home to welcome Iceland, and their opponents will present a good challenge to France as one of the teams in Group H which is capable of living with the best. But the Euro 2020 betting odds have rightly installed France as a potential tournament winner and their showing tonight did nothing to question that.

For Moldova, it’s a trip to Turkey, and that won’t be much easier after their hosts started with a good win away to Albania.

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Griezmann happy at ‘home’

Alvaro Morata doesn't envisage talisman Antoine Griezmann departing Atletico Madrid any time soon.

The French international has often been touted for a move away from the Spanish capital, with Barcelona heavily interested in his services last summer, before Griezmann announced via an elaborate documentary that he wanted to stay.

Morata, who joined Atletico on loan from Chelsea in January, can't see the key forward leaving this summer.

"I'm not worried. In general I see Antoine very happy with us. This is his home and I think he's happy here," said the Spaniard.

Morata is thankful to be involved with Spain after a tough spell at Chelsea saw his career stalling under the stewardship of Maurizio Sarri.

He says he now feels ready to get back to his very best form, for both club and country, suggesting he finally feels trusted again by his coaches.

"I needed trust, that's for sure," he added. "I came from a bad time but that's in the past, let's leave all that behind.

"Right now, I'm where I've wanted to be for a very long time and that's what matters. I'm very grateful to my new coach as well as to the national team coach for their trust because it's thanks to them that I'm reaching my highest level again and I'm enjoying the pitch."

Spain are 2/11 to defeat Norway in their Group F opener on Saturday. The visitors are 12/1, with the draw priced at 6/1.

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Champions League: This Clash Could Be Too Close to Call!

Atletico Madrid vs Juventus

How these clubs would love to get their hands on the Champions League.

Both have provided Champions League 2019 highlights galore in recent years, and they are among the favourites if you study the Champions League 2019 betting odds.

What most of you us followers may not realise, however, is that the mighty ‘Old Lady’ of Turin have not triumphed in the competition since 1996.

It may not seem it, but 23 years is quite a long time ago!

And that creates pressure.

Talking Points

This is the year they want to put that right.

After two defeats in three seasons, their most recent coming at the hands of a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Real Madrid, Juventus decided to adopt the motto ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’.

They broke the bank last summer to sign the then-33-year-old Ronaldo who has given them a new lease of life, firing them to what looks like an unassailable lead in Serie A.

Yes, they are dominating domestically – the 13-point lead they hold over second-placed Napoli is the biggest Serie A gap by Week 24 since 2006-07.

Yet it is in Europe where their ultimate desire surely lies.

The deal was widely considered a statement of intent by the Bianconeri to end that wait.

With Ronaldo joined by the likes of Paulo Dybala, Mario Mandzukic, Sami Khedira and the defensive doyens of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini, they are among the favourites – even if yours truly thinks they will likely fall short again this season.

Ronaldo’s time at Juventus has certainly lived up to expectations with 21 goals and 11 assists so far and, at the age of 34, he remains a player hungry to achieve silverware at the highest level.

He has also tormented Atletico in recent years while at Real, including two goals in Champions League Finals and the most goals in Madrid derbies. He scored two hat-tricks at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, Atletico’s former home.

Atletico Madrid actually have a European trophy to their name this season, but not the one they crave most of all.

Their 4-2 success over city rivals Real Madrid in the early season UEFA Super Cup Final hinted at a special season ahead, following on from their Europa League triumph and La Liga runners-up spot at the end of last term.

However, while they have still performed well, Atletico trail La Liga leaders Barcelona by seven points and it’s highly unlikely they will be able to claw back that deficit in the final three months of the campaign.

In fairness to coach Diego Simeone, the Argentine has helped Atletico overachieve during his stewardship, to such an extent that they are now considered major players at the top table both at home and aboard. This is despite having only a fraction of the resources of some of their rivals.

Will Alvaro Morata prove helpful in their Champions League game with Juventus?

Atletico Madrid forward Alvaro Morata in action against Rayo Vallecano’s Santi Comesana in their recent La Liga clash

Knowing this season’s tournament final will be hosted at their own ground, the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, will either add to the pressure or give them, in the words of star man Antoine Griezmann, ‘extra motivation’ in the competition.

After scoring his side’s winner at the weekend, Griezmann became the club’s fifth-highest goalscorer of all time – he now has 130 goals for Los Rojiblancos and has surpassed former teammate Fernando Torres in the standings.

Alongside him is on-loan Chelsea man Alvaro Morata who will be keen to score against his former side.

The scene is set for a captivating tie, the winners of which will feel confident of progressing further in the competition – perhaps all the way to the final on June 1.

History

Aside from meetings during the UEFA Cup in two successive seasons in the 1960s, these clubs have only met twice since.

Those encounters came in the 2014/15 group stages of the Champions League.

Atletico won 1-0 at home, thanks to an Arda Turan goal, while the tie in Turin ended goallessly. Juventus went onto reach the final that season, losing 3-1 to Barcelona.

Betting Tip

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Atletico Madrid vs Juventus Total Goal 2-3 @ 1.94
January 21, 04:00AM (GMT+8)

The sides are so evenly matched and that is reflected in the betting odds.

In fact, the 1X2 odds could not be closer with Atletico @ 2.69 and Juventus @ 2.73.

The draw @ 3.00 is also indicative of how close this is expected to be.

Likewise, with Asian Handicap betting, you can find odds of Atletico -0.25 @ 2.38 and Juventus -0.25 @ 2.35.

Two teams known for normally being tight in defence is shown by the odds of over 2.25 goals @ 2.25.

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Points are Priceless at Both Ends of La Liga

Rayo Vallecano vs Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid make the short journey to the city’s district of Vallecas on Saturday in what promises to be a crunch match in La Liga.

Hosts Rayo Vallecano are deep in relegation trouble, but coach Michel has recently dragged them up to a position where they have a good chance of survival, and they will fight tooth and nail for every point. Before back-to-back defeats, ten points from four games brought Rayo’s season back from the dead. They are now just within one of safety, but consecutive 2-1 reversals to Espanyol and Leganes means a third consecutive loss may shift the momentum against Michel’s men.

Meanwhile, Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid are still in the title race. But at seven points behind Barcelona, they find their La Liga 2019 betting odds drifting alarmingly after they lost two league games on the run. Those defeats came at a terrible time for Atleti as the title race heats up…so expect to see a fierce battle at the Campo de Futbol.

Talking Points

Both teams rely heavily on one hitman

Rayo head coach Michel needs to lift his players again, especially after they led Espanyol at half-time,  only to lose to a 95th-minute winner. Their survival hopes depend heavily on the continued form of Raul de Tomas, currently on loan from Real Madrid, who is top-scoring on nine goals.

The 24-year-old is a hero in Vallecas, having scored 24 goals to fire Rayo to promotion from the Segunda Division last season. Equally comfortable with both feet and with a fine shot on him, De Tomas is accomplished in the top flight, recently destroying Celta Vigo with a hat-trick in Rayo’s 4-2 win. Los Blancos may have been wondering why they shipped him out so readily after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and injury to Gareth Bale, but they will be hoping he does a job on Atleti at the weekend.

Rayo’s next highest scorer is Alvaro Garcia with three goals.

Antoine Griezmann eyes to step up and help Atletico Madrid in beating Rayo Vallecano in upcoming La Liga match

Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann celebrates after scoring a goal against Real Madrid in recent Madrid Derby

A number of players have two goals for Atletico Madrid, but only one has more and that is, of course, Antoine Griezmann. The World Cup winner hasn’t been quite as prolific as last season so far, bagging 11 goals to date, but he still provides a dangerous threat to any defence.

And it’s their own rearguard which the Rojiblancos continue to rely on, conceding the lowest number of goals again, a miserly 17.

Atleti’s big-match sequence

Simeone’s men arrive at the Campo de Futbol still battle-weary from a huge game: a 3-1 defeat to Los Blancos in the Madrid derby was their first loss at home this season. That result really hurt Atleti fans, convinced they were ready to climb out of the shadows of their old foes and take the title of ‘Kings of Madrid’. After that bitter blow, it’s crucial that the Rojiblancos get back to winning ways without delay. Anything other than a win on Saturday could pretty much spell the end of their title challenge, depending on the other La Liga 2019 results this weekend. With Barcelona at home to Valladolid and Real Madrid entertaining Girona, Simeone’s team can’t expect any favours.

Then Atleti face one of the irresistible forces of European football when Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo and all, are the opponents in the Champions League match of the week. They can’t afford to go into that one on the back of a poor performance.

History

In the 23 games contested by these two sides since 1994, Atleti had much the better of things, winning 14, losing four, and there have been five draws.

Rayo haven’t won any of their last three games against Saturday’s opponents. The last meeting between these two resulted in a 1-0 win for Atleti at the start if this season, courtesy of a Griezmann goal. Who else?

But there is a glimmer of hope for Michel in Atletico Madrid’s away form. They have drawn six from 11, with two defeats and only three wins.

Betting Tip

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Rayo Vallecano vs Atletico Madrid Atletico Madrid, Asian Handicap -0.75 @ 1.96
February 16, 23:15 (GMT+8)

The visitors are odds-on favourites to leave Vallecas with three points at pre-match us odds of 1.76, while the draw is available at 3.65, and Rayo 4.40 to spring a big surprise.

This is a crucial game for both, and one of them could end up with a three-match losing streak. Michel’s men have been hard to beat on home soil and Atleti struggle to win away, but the hosts have not fared well against La Liga’s big clubs, and I think Atletico Madrid may be just too good for them.

0-1 looks a likely outcome at 5.20, while 0-2 is at 7.40 if you think Atleti may have a more comfortable afternoon.

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La Liga: Atleti Put the Pressure Back on Barca

Atletico Madrid 2-0 Getafe

Two first-half goals from Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez gave Atletico Madrid another three points to take them to within two of league leaders Barcelona.

Over 55,000 fans packed into the Wanda Metropolitano with the hopes to see another home victory, and the hosts put on a clinical display to frustrate Getafe as the visitors ended up with nine men. Atleti put the pressure back on Barcelona at the top of La Liga, but the champions have a game in hand, and La Liga 2019 betting markets expect the Catalans to keep their noses ahead.

Highlights of the game

Getafe had the first shot on goal on five minutes when wing-back Damian Suarez fired in a dangerous ball, but Angel Rodriguez’ effort was blocked. Leandro Cabrera’s header met the same fate after he rose to get on the end of a cross from Vitorino Antunes. But after a bright start, Jose Bordalas’ side found itself a goal behind. And that’s always a bad thing for the visitors to the Wanda Metropolitano.

Los Rojiblancos have been relying heavily on the goals of Griezmann, and the Frenchman came good again on 27 minutes: he took a pass from Thomas Partey and fired a left-footed shot from outside the box into the corner of the net and beyond the reach of David Soria.

As the hosts began to turn the screw, Griezmann tried his luck from distance. While his shot was wayward, Atleti doubled their lead on 37 minutes. Nikola Kalinic saw his shot saved by Soria, but there was nothing the Getafe stopper could do when Atletico kept the heat on and Saul Niguez fired low into the bottom-right corner.

Partey almost made it three just before half-time when Niguez found him in space outside the penalty area, but his shot flew narrowly over the bar.

Atletico keeper Jan Oblak was called into action early in the second half to save a header from Jaime Mata which was well-aimed towards the bottom-right corner; and then on 57 minutes, Niguez brought a save out of Soria, taking a nod down from Griezmann and firing at the keeper.

Can Antoine Griezmann continue his journey with Atletico Madrid to the top of La Liga?

Antoine Griezmann puts Atletico Madrid in momentum against Getafe

Getafe hadn’t given up, and Oblak had to stretch himself to make a fine save: Samu Saiz took a pot shot from 20 yards, but the keeper got his hand to it in the top-right corner. That was about it for the visitors, and what looked like being an expected and respectable defeat became a bad day at the office when Djene Dakoman and Leandro Cabrera both lost their discipline and picked up a second yellow card each, Dakoman for a nasty foul on Thomas Lemar.

Key statistics

We thought Getafe might get a goal in our pre-match us tips, but that was going to be a big ask with only two shots on target. Atleti scored twice and brought four saves out of Soria, but the overall shot count of ten to six tells the story of a well-contested game snuffed out by Atleti’s clinical professionalism, keeping the ball well with a passing accuracy of 83 per cent compared with Getafe’s 65 per cent.

It’s been 13 games since Getafe drew a blank. But you can’t fault their commitment, though slightly over-zealous at times, committing 26 fouls and picking up three yellow cards and two reds!

Atletico Madrid now won 21 of the 33 meetings since 2001 and are unbeaten against Getafe in seven.  And Simeone’s men are now on a run of 19 games without defeat.

What’s next?

On Sunday Barcelona make the short trip to take on Girona in the Catalan Derby, but Atleti have cut the gap at the top to two points for the time being.

Simeone’s men meet Europa hopefuls Real Betis away from home next week, and then it’s the big one the following week. Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid will go a long way towards moulding the end of the season for both the Madrid giants. Don’t miss that game; it’s going to be an epic feature in the La Liga 2019 highlights.

Los Azulones have a second-leg Copa del Rey tie away to Valencia in midweek, and they go in with a one-goal advantage after Jorge Molina gave them the lead in the first leg.  And then it’s away to Levante when Jose Bordalas’ team will try to keep their own Europa League dream alive.

 

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La Liga: A Must Win for Atleti – But This is No Pushover

Atletico Madrid vs Getafe

If anyone is going to wrestle the La Liga title off Barcelona this season, and it’s a big ‘if’, then Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid will probably have to be the one.

Atleti is five points behind the leaders with 18 games to play, so they can’t afford to drop many, if any points. Real Madrid is a further five points back and, while not entirely out of the hunt, they must hope the Catalans implode for them to have a realistic chance.

So a home game against Getafe is a must win game for los Rojiblancos, but it isn’t going to be easy. It may only be the visitors’ second season back in the top flight but they are in impressive shape. In two and a half seasons, head coach Jose Bordalas has taken Getafe from the Segunda Division to the top six of the Primera among La Liga’s elite, so we’ll be circumspect with our us tips for this one!

Talking points

Atletico needs to share the goals better

Diego Simeone’s team has built a strong reputation throughout Europe as being a side very difficult, sometimes impossible, to break down. But at the opposite end of the pitch they have relied heavily on the goals of Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman’s own form has been good, not spectacular, in scoring ¾nine so far¾but los Rojiblancos don’t have another player with more than two.

Defensive rock Diego Godin is one of a clutch of player on a pair, and that speaks volumes.

Simeone’s side struggled to beat Levante in their last home league game, relying on a second-half penalty from Griezmann to secure a 1-0 win and the boss is moving quickly to strengthen his forward line. A deal to bring Chelsea’s unsettled striker, Alvaro Morata, to Madrid is set to complete. While Gelson Martin could be heading the other way, with Premier League Newcastle United enquiring about the striker.

Atleti needs to find another gear to chase Barca down, and Morata could be the man to provide that. The leaders too have a tricky match this weekend, away to Girona in the Catalan derby. With an epic Champions League clash against Juventus looming, Simeone needs to balance the need for points with the fine tuning of his players. An injury to a key figure now would be disastrous.

Getafe is a team in fine form

Jose Bordalas’ side is on a great run, flying high in sixth. Getafe followed up a resounding 4-0 victory over fifth placed Alaves last weekend with a Copa del Rey win over Valencia. They have lost just once in 11 games and that a narrow 2-1 defeat to league leaders Barcelona.

Striker Jorge Molina followed up a brace against Alaves, including a 25 yard screamer, with the winner against Valencia. That’s one to pick up in the La Liga 2019 highlights when you get the chance. Molina now has eight for the season and as captain, is leading from the front.

Los Azulones are used to playing in front of four figure crowds at home but this weekend the Wanda Metropolitano will be packed to the rafters as Atleti attempts to burst Getafe’s balloon. Atleti may have the best defender in Godin, but Getafe has its own Uruguayan influence in defence with Damian Suarez and Leandro Cabrera in the back line for much of their successful run.

 Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata to settle on Madrid loan for the season

Alvaro Morata could be the man to complete Madrid.

History

We can’t simply base our La Liga 2019 predictions on the head-to-heads. The Madrid giants have dominated the 32 games played since 2001, winning 20 and drawing eight, while Getafe has managed just four wins.

Indeed, Getafe hasn’t won any of the last six games against Atleti, losing five with a solitary draw back in 2017.

The hosts’ recent form provides little comfort to Bordalas’ men as they haven’t lost in 18 games, nor 15 at home.

While Griezmann, on nine, has one more goal than Getafe’s hit man Molina, the visitors do have other players regularly hitting the net, with Jaime Mata on six and Angel Rodriguez on five, and that could work in their favour.

Betting tip

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Atletico Madrid vs Getafe First Half Over 0.75 @ 1.89
January 26, 23:15 (GMT+8)

Atleti is well fancied to win this one at odds of 1.57 with Getafe at 6.00 and the draw at 3.70

And a 1-0 home win is the hot tip and very short at 4.40, but it’s been 13 games since Getafe drew a blank, and I have a sneaky feeling they may breach the Atletico defence at some point.

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?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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La Liga: Antoine the Man Sees off Brave Levante

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Levante

Atletico Madrid climbed to within two points of Barcelona at the top of La Liga thanks to a second half Antoine Griezmann penalty to end a stubborn Levante challenge.

57,000 fans packed in to the Wanda Metropolitano hoping to see the Rojiblancos pick up another crucial three points and they delivered, though it was never easy.

The pre-match Atletico vs Levante betting tips formed a consensus that Diego Simeone’s title chasers would win this one relatively comfortably. But Paco Lopez’ team has shown it can take down the best in the league and he set them up to frustrate the hosts with three at the back and a congested midfield.

With more La Liga 2019 updates to come during the weekend, that narrow gap at the top looks likely to stretch again, but for now Atletico have done their bit.

Highlights of the game

The hosts had the lion’s share of the first half but couldn’t break through the Levante defence, though they did have the ball in the net on ten minutes. Vitolo played Koke in and the midfielder slotted home, only to have his goal cancelled by VAR.

Atleti were having a lot of success down either flank with Angel Correa setting up Stefan Savic but his header was blocked, and then Correa fired in a cross which Antoine Griezmann was close to converting but his effort went narrowly wide.

Jose Luis Morales was the visitors’ biggest threat and he had a shot on 21 minutes which was blocked, and then Roger Marti forced a save from Jan Oblak as he arrowed a shot from distance low towards the corner. The hosts went back on the attack and Griezmann and Thomas Partey combined well before Partey’s shot was well saved by Oier. Griezmann was in lively form and he came close again when Koke put him in but he narrowly missed.

The Levante defence held firm until the break, blocking shots from Griezmann and Vitolo to keep a 45 minute clean sheet. The visitors have recently stunned Barca in the Copa del Rey after a four match winless streak, so they were quite happy at the half time whistle.

But that only lasted ten minutes of the second half. The hosts had been on the attack again with Koke testing the Levante keeper once more, but the breakthrough came when Nikola Vukcevic cracked under the Atleti pressure and handled in the box to give the referee an easy decision.

Griezmann stepped up and smashed the penalty into the top right corner to put the hosts 1-0 ahead and it was no more than they deserved. Griezmann scored Atleti’s goal in the recent 1-1 draw with Sevilla and he’s a man in red hot form.

The hosts tried to put the game to bed but long range shots from Correa and Partey were off target. Vitolo came close but the second goal wouldn’t come. Levante was still in the game and sniffed a chance when Morales took a pass from Borja Mayoral but his shot was saved; and then Enis Bardhi fired just over the bar when his chance came.

With ten minutes to go both sides were pressing for the crucial next goal. Thomas Partey came close after Koke had presented him with a chance and then Bardhi had a shot charged down at the other end.

Atletico vs Levante betting tips may have predicted Levante's defeat against Atletico

Oier in action playing for Levante against Atletico Madrid

Oier kept the score down with a fine save to deny Griezmann a second, as the game entered injury time and then Jason had a shot charged down as Levante rolled the dice for the last time.

Key statistics

This was a well deserved win in the end as the hosts enjoyed 58 per cent possession and won the shot count to by 19 to seven, with Oier the busier goalkeeper as the hosts fired five on target to Levante’s two.

Last season Atleti did the double over Levante with Lopez’ team failing to find the net and that pattern continues.

The win took Diego Simeone’s team up to within two points of the leaders, with Barca set to play Eibar at the Camp Nou later. If Atletico can maintain this level of ruthlessness then us La Liga 2019 might just have an exciting finish.

What’s next?

Simeone has expressed an interest in Chelsea’s unsettled striker Alvaro Morata as Atleti looks to strengthen their assault on the league leaders. They have an away game against bottom club Huesca next weekend, but before that it’s a second leg tie in the Copa del Rey at home to Girona, with the game balanced at 1-1.

Levante has that exciting Copa clash with Barcelona to continue, 2-1 up but likely to face an onslaught in Catalonia. Then they host Valladolid in a crunch La Liga clash. Lopez’ team is in mid table but only four points above the drop zone and with teams below them hitting form it could be a nervy run-in.

 

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La Liga: Can Levante Pull Off Another Big Upset?

Atletico Madrid vs Levante UD

Ask any football fan who is keeping an eye about the current La Liga season, and they will likely tell you about how interesting the campaign has developed for all of the teams involved.

Barcelona are still the league leaders in the Spanish top flight, but everyone knows that they aren’t as invincible as they seem and their small hiccups have allowed Atletico Madrid to mount a serious challenge for the title.

However, the title chase won’t be entirely easy for the Rojiblancos. They will be facing an extremely confident Levante team that received a boon by beating the very same Blaugrana in the first leg of their Copa del Rey match.

They will be able to keep the pressure on the league leaders if they manage to come away with the victory. However, a team that is looking to end their winless streak is just as dangerous as a side that is already enjoying a fantastic time at the top.

Talking Points

Can Levante use Barca to win?

Levante aren’t the most intimidating team in the Spanish top flight. They are currently 10th in the league table and just came off a four-game winless streak in the league until they pulled off a superb upset against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. The Estadio Ciudad de Valencia were up on their feet as Erick Cabaco and Borja Mayoral scored two quick goals to give them the important win.

Sure, many will point out that Ernesto Valverde didn’t field his best team against Levante in order to give them some much-needed rest in a very compact schedule. However, that doesn’t discount the fact that the XI he fielded had Philippe Coutinho, Malcom and Arturo Vidal in their ranks.

Moreover, this isn’t the first time Levante took down a giant. Fans of the us La Liga market cannot possibly forget the major upset caused by the Granotas when they took down Real Madrid by a peg in October.

Moreover, they have the men capable of trading blows with the best Atletico have to offer. Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti are leading the way in terms of scoring while Jason is doing a fine job of distributing the ball in the midfield.

Paco Lopez’s men have proven that they can take down any team in the league, and Atletico will be wrong not to take this seriously.

Antoine Griezmann aim to extend Atletico's unbeaten run of 15 games when they take on Levante in La Liga

Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring their first goal

Atletico need this win

Things are going swimmingly for Los Colchoneros, but underneath the fine facade are the problems that are bugging the team that could possibly derail their title chase against Barca.

The first issue would be that Atletico don’t have any consistent goalscoring threat aside from Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman has scored eight league goals for the side, but there hasn’t been one man in the squad that has helped him in the attack. Their lack of firepower was obvious during their 1-1 draw against Sevilla.

Their other problems don’t directly affect their season, but it will surely have an impact on their future campaigns. Their defensive core of Diego Godin and Filipe Luis are in their early 30s, and I doubt that they will remain as effective as they are now. They need to find the future stars that will take over when they can’t perform to their expected standards any more.

Moreover, Godin made La Liga 2019 news over his future. There are reports that he is planning to leave the club for the Serie A, and his departure may be causing fractures in the locker room. Diego Simeone can only hope that the future of his star centre-back won’t fully affect his team’s performance against Levante.

History

These two clubs have met 26 times since the turn of the century, and they started the 2000s in the Segunda Division. Levante dominated Atletico that time, but the Rojiblancos have since then won 15 matches. Levante have only taken six games since then, and four were drawn.

Moreover, the most recent results haven’t been particularly friendly to the visitors: Atletico Madrid scored eight goals over them last season without conceding a single one.

However, it’s important to remember that both Girona and Sevilla managed to keep Atletico Madrid to 1-1 draws by fielding three-defender formations and clogging the middle of the final third to make life difficult for Griezmann and friends.

Betting Tip

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Atletico Madrid vs Levante UD Atletico Madrid -1.75 @ 2.17
January 13, 19:00 (GMT+8)

Life might be tough for Atletico ahead of this big match, and Atletico Madrid vs Levante odds back this claim. They have failed to score against considerable opposition, and there’s no solid attacking talent to help Griezmann get the goals the team needs. This is probably why they are looking at getting Alvaro Morata on loan from Chelsea.

However, they will be playing this match at the Wanda Metropolitano, and the fans will make sure that the Levante players will not feel at home in their stomping grounds. Moreover, the hosts managed to beat a strong team in Deportivo Alaves when they played there in December.

I choose to trust the Frenchman’s supreme attacking talent to help Atletico Madrid get at least two goals. If you aren’t comfortable with my recommendation, then the First Half Asian Handicap and the Total Goals markets have interesting odds that will surely pique your interest.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident) ?? = €10 (CONFIDENT) ?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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