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.


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

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.

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

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.




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Oblak hailed as world’s best

Goalkeeper Jan Oblak has been hailed as the best in the world by his head coach at Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone.

The 26-year-old Slovenia international has been an outstanding performer for Los Rojiblancos since his arrival from Benfica in the summer of 2014, helping Atleti reach the Champions League final in 2016.

Oblak has also excelled in aiding the men from Madrid to enjoy success in the Europa League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.

And Oblak was at his best at the weekend as he made several fine saves in the 2-0 home win over Celta Vigo, with Simeone clearly thankful of having such a fine keeper at his disposal.

He told the Spanish media: "Jan Oblak is the best goalkeeper in the world and we are very lucky to have him in the squad.

"I am very proud to have him in my team and for him to be in the dressing room at this club – he has improved a lot since he arrived at the club.

"When he first came, until February he had not played any games, but he's worked so hard to get a regular spot in the team.

"Right now, there is no doubt that for me he is the best goalkeeper in the world."

Atleti are back in action next Saturday afternoon, when they head to the Ipurua Municipal to take on mid-table Eibar.

The visitors are 6/4 to win the game, 6/1 to do so by a 1-0 scoreline and 7/4 to keep a clean sheet.

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La Liga: What Lies Ahead?

There are just six rounds to go in another fascinating La Liga season, and while we mostly agree who is going to win the league, there are plenty of matters to be settled and we’ll the there right to the end with our us tips and updates.

Barcelona took a stranglehold on the title with a 2-0 win over Atletico Madrid last week and the pre-season La Liga 2019 predictions of the title staying with Barca are looking good as Lionel Messi and Co have built up a nine-point lead.

It would be a shock of epic proportions if Ernesto Valverde’s side was to let that advantage slip.

Kings of Madrid

Outside Catalonia, the biggest La Liga 2019 news is the battle for second place between the two Madrid giants. Both are out of the Champions League, rather earlier than expected so ceding the second spot to the other will represent a disappointing season to the side which finishes third.

Zinedine Zidane has been helicoptered back into the Bernabeu to see out a rocky ride of a season, in which the fans have turned against Gareth Bale as a scapegoat for the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo, from which Los Blancos don’t seem to have recovered. ZZ promises an overhaul in the summer.

It hasn’t all gone smoothly down at the Wanda Metropolitano either. Atleti will have to complete their season without the services of striker Diego Costa after he copped for an eight-match ban when he said something a little too offensive to the referee during the defeat to Barca. But, unlike Real, Diego Simeone’s team has plenty of firepower in the shape of Antoine Griezmann and Alvaro Morata, who were both on target in a 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday. And, of course, they have the meanest defence in Europe, led by the granite-hard Diego Godin.

Prediction: Atleti will hold off Los Blancos and take the Madrid crown.

La Liga: Can Atletico Madrid bounce back without their key player Diego Costa?

Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa walks off the pitch after receiving a red card during their match against Barcelona

Champions League Race

Sevilla is well in the hunt for that invaluable fourth spot and a hard-fought 3-2 win over Real Betis showcased their attacking options alongside main man Wissam Ben Yedder. Pablo Sarabia, Franco Vazquez and El Haddadi Munir were all on target and Sevilla’s strength in depth will come into play in the final run in.

On paper, Valencia is the strongest team to challenge Sevilla but has two tough games coming up, away to Real Betis and Atletico Madrid. And it has been surprising package Getafe making the running at the moment. Jose Bordalas has his team well organised and the strike partnership of Jorge Molina and Jaime Mata has been fruitful for the Madrid side.

Getafe plays Sevilla next week and that is a huge game.

Deportivo Alaves has fallen away recently after taking just one point from 12 and is one of the teams likely to miss out, and will have to aim for the consolation of a Europa League place, guaranteed for those in fifth and sixth… and there may be a place for seventh. Athletic Bilbao and Real Betis are both in that hunt.

Prediction: Sevilla’s superior squad will grab fourth place.

Relegation Battle

There is a fierce fight raging to stay in the division, with seven teams at risk of landing one of the three unwanted relegation places. Huesca occupies bottom spot but is putting in a spirited effort to stay at the top table, holding Barca, minus Messi, to a goalless draw this weekend. But it will be a big ask for them to survive. The other two places are unclear, with big names Villarreal and Celta Vigo in danger, along with Rayo Vallecano, Real Valladolid and Levante. And moneybags Girona could get sucked into the fight having lost three on the bounce.

Prediction: The Yellow Submarine will rise just in time and Huesca and Rayo Vallecano will be joined by Levante in the drop zone.

Pichichi Trophy

Well, there are no prizes for this one. Lionel Messi’s going to win the Pichichi Trophy for the sixth time and the third in a row and he’s the all-time top scorer in La Liga. Barca’s genius has scored 33 league goals already, 13 ahead of his team-mate Luis Suarez.

And there has to be an honourable mention for Girona’s Cristhian Stuani, who has scored 18 goals despite his side getting pulled into a relegation scrap.



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“Powerful” United a threat to Barca

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said Manchester United are a "powerful" side who pose a threat to his side.

The teams meet at Old Trafford on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

The Spanish side are top of La Liga and with an 11-point lead, seemingly destined for the title.

Their focus in midweek though will be the Champions League where they are going for their first title since 2015.

Real Madrid have won for the last three years but Barca are in a good position to keep the trophy in Spanish hands, though Valverde is well aware of the threat that United pose.

After they beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 on Saturday, he said of the United game: "They are a powerful team. They are going through a good run, even if they lost their last match.

"Physically they are really strong and they know how to put pressure on their opponents. They have players who are physically very powerful, and they can be dangerous strategically as well.

"This match is a classic in European football. Barcelona have never won at Old Trafford I believe and we are going to try and change that."

United are 5/2 to win the first leg at Old Trafford with Barcelona 1/1 and the draw 13/5.

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi got the goals against Atletico who remain second in the La Liga table.

Barcelona cruised into the last eight of this year's Champions League with a 5-1 aggregate win over Lyon in their round of 16 clash.

United looked set for an early exit after losing their home leg 2-0 to Paris St Germain but thrillingly won 3-1 in Paris to go through on away goals, a last minute penalty seeing them through.

Barcelona are 10/3 to win the Champions League this season with United 20/1.

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Messi record has Barca on brink

Lionel Messi broke his latest La Liga record as the champions Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-0 at the Nou Camp to move closer to retaining their crown.

Late strikes by Luis Suarez and Messi gave the Catalans an 11-point lead at the top of the table after they overcame stubborn ten-man Atletico.

Their surely unassailable lead at the top is now stretched with just seven games remaining, leaving Barca on the brink of more Spanish title glory.

Messi has now won more La Liga games than anyone in history – moving ahead of former Real goalkeeper Iker Casillas on to 335 victories.

Atletico realistically needed to win at the Nou Camp for the first time since 2006 to stay in the title race and they played with ambition and intelligence in the opening stages, though they were left staring into the abyss when Diego Costa earned a straight red card on 28 minutes, seemingly for dissent to the referee.

Several players were involved in an ensuing altercation, with Barca's Gerard Pique eventually ensuring that Costa left the field.

"I asked the referee and he told me Costa said something to him," Atletico boss Diego Simeone said afterwards. "Other players have said things and not been sent off but that does not justify what Costa did."

Former Liverpool striker Suarez bent in a low shot from 25 yards with five minutes remaining in the game and, within a minute, Messi raced in on goal to double the lead.

Barcelona are at Old Trafford this week for a Champions League last-eight showdown with Manchester United.

The Spaniards are 1/1 to win the first leg, with United 5/2 and the draw 13/5.

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La Liga: Who’s Going to Stop Barca Now?

Barcelona 2-0 Atletico Madrid

Two late goals from Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi beat Atletico Madrid tonight, and that must surely mean the La Liga title is heading back to Catalonia.

Over 92,000 fans packed into the Camp Nou to see Barca’s huge win, but they had to wait for 85 minutes to see their players break down a resolute Atleti defence and a brave goalkeeper.

This was a must win game for Atletico but they lost their heads in a dramatic first half and went down to ten men, before picking themselves up and almost holding out. The Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid highlights are well worth catching up on. It was a game which had everything and one which took Barca 11 points clear at the top of the table.

Highlights of the game

Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa is sent off during their recent La Liga match

Atletico Madrid players complain to Jesus Gil Manzano after Diego Costa was given a straight red card by the referee

Leo Messi was rested for the midweek game against Villarreal but had to climb off the bench to rescue a point. So it was a sure fire bet that he’d be starting tonight; and he got to work straight away, splitting the Atleti defence to find Jordi Alba, who lifted the ball over Jan Oblak but it bounced back off the post and into the keeper’s welcoming hands.

Simeone’s team knew they had to attack and Antoine Griezmann worked his way into the Barca area but shot straight at Ter Stegen. But then the pressure seemed to get to the visitors and a moment of madness made Los Rojiblancos’ difficult task infinitely harder when Diego Costa got himself sent off. The Enfant Terrible was lucky to escape a card early in the game when he caught Clement Lenglet with a stray elbow, but he received a straight red for something he said to the ref.

As chaos ensued Jose Maria Gimenez was booked for more moaning in the ref’s ear and a minute later his defensive partner and captain Diego Godin joined him in the book.

Atleti got themselves together to go in level at half time, Godin making a brilliant interception to deny Messi, but their fans must have feared the worst for the second half.

Messi continued to pull the strings, laying the ball off for Sergio Busquets but he blazed his shot over the bar. And then Messi brought a save from Oblak after leaving Koke in his wake. Minutes later he drove into the Atletico half before passing to Suarez who just had Oblak to beat, but the big Slovenian keeper made a superb save.

Messi was in scintillating form, skipping past defenders at ease, and these were top defenders, it seemed a matter of time before the Catalans broke through. Atleti was still in the game though, and when Griezmann had a chance from a free-kick he forced Ter Stegen into a save.

Oblak made an outstanding double stop to deny Messi and then Malcom with his follow up. Then at the other end Atleti had a glorious chance to score when Rodri met a Griezmann cross, but missed with his header when he should have scored.

And then finally, the goal came on 85 minutes, and it was a beautiful finish from Luis Suarez, bending the ball into the corner to send the Camp Nou fans wild.

After waiting so long for one goal, the Barca fans had only two minutes to wait for a second and it was that man Messi who got his 33rd league goal of the season. Ivan Rakitic released the genius and he beat Oblak with a clever finish. Cue Bedlam.

I’d day that’s la Liga won.

Key statistics

Our pre-match Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid betting tips took a close look at the last six games which were all close affairs. And so was this, but in the end Barca’s numerical advantage, and Messi, made the difference.

The Catalans haven’t lost to Los Rojiblancos at the Camp Nou in 19 games now; they are unbeaten in 16 and have lost just three times in 76 league games.

Diego Costa was the ninth Atletico Madrid player to pick up a red card against Barcelona since Diego Simeone became manager. Do you get the impression he doesn’t like the Catalans?!

Arsenal Asian Handicap -0.25 @ 2.00 1X2 Arsenal @ 2.22 Total Goals 2-3 @ 1.86CLICK HEREDisclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.Europa League

What’s next?

Next for Barcelona it’s the Champions League and a trip to Old Trafford for Ernesto Valverde’s team. Manchester United dumped PSG out of the competition and their head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was at the Camp Nou to run the rule over his opponents.

Keep your eyes open for our us tips on that game. On this showing I’d be leaning towards Barca, but OGS will have his team ready to cause another upset.

Los Rojiblancos are out of Europe’s premier competition and they must content themselves with a home league game against Celta Vigo. Their visitors are deep in relegation trouble and will be fighting for their lives.




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Valverde prepared for difficulties

Head coach Ernesto Valverde believes his Barcelona side will take plenty of positives from having fought back to draw 4-4 at Villarreal.

The Catalans looked certain to suffer only their third La Liga loss of the season when they trailed 4-2 heading into the final minute of normal time at El Madrigal, before Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez scored to salvage a point.

That was enough to keep Barca eight points ahead of Atletico Madrid, who won 2-0 at home to Girona, with the title rivals meeting this Saturday evening at the Camp Nou.

A relieved Valverde told reporters: "It shows that the league is not won and I have the feeling that this match can help us a lot in the face of what is coming.

"It's very big because we were losing and now we will face Saturday's game with another sensation, of having come back from two goals in the last minutes.

"Atletico is a rival who will never give up. We were not surprised and we will find this difficulty in all our remaining matches."

Meanwhile, Suarez praised the fighting qualities of his team after he had ensured the spoils were shared on Tuesday evening.

He added: "This team has so much spirit and we never throw in in the towel. We want to win this league and we have made that clear."

Barcelona can be backed at 4/5 to defeat Atleti on Saturday, with the draw priced at 13/5 and a 1-1 final scoreline available at 6/1.

Four of the last seven meetings of the two sides have ended in 1-1 draws, including the league clash with the Metropolitano earlier this season.

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Allegri hopes for swift Ron return

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri is hoping to have injured Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back in action in the very near future.

Ronaldo sustained a thigh problem during a 1-1 draw between the Selecao and Serbia on Monday evening, being replaced half an hour into the game at the Estadio da Luz.

That injury means he will definitely be absent on Saturday when Juve play host to Empoli in a Serie A fixture, with Allegri admitting that his star forward is also a major doubt for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Ajax on Wednesday.

He told reporters: "He's already started to move, but he won't return to training until he feels fit and there is a risk he'll miss the first leg against Ajax.

"We have to be careful because we're in a tricky period of the season. It's better he misses one match and comes back when he's 100 per cent, so there's no risk of a repeat injury.

"It's better to miss one match than two months."

Ronaldo has scored 24 goals in 36 appearances for Juve since his big-money arrival from Real Madrid last summer, including a hat-trick in the second leg of the Champions League last-16 showdown with Atletico Madrid.

Atleti had won the first leg 2-0 in the Spanish capital, before being undone by Ronaldo and Juve in the return in Turin, with the hosts claiming a 3-0 victory to progress.

Juventus are currently priced at 7/2 to win the Champions League this season, with Barcelona available at 10/3 and Manchester City 9/4.

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Atleti exit tough for Hernandez

France World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez says he has made the most difficult decision of his career to date by opting to leave Atletico Madrid.

The versatile 23-year-old defender had been offered an extension to his current contract by Los Rojiblancos, but has decided not to sign on and instead he will head to Bayern Munich this summer.

However, having spent more than a decade in the Spanish capital, Hernandez says his final decision was not an easy one to make.

He told Atleti's official website: "This is the most difficult and important decision I've ever had to make in my career. Atletico means a lot to me, because this is where I grew as a footballer and as a person.

"Saying no to Atletico was extremely hard, but I've decided to seek a new challenge at Bayern Munich.

"I want to thank everyone at Atletico, the officials, coaches, team-mates and fans. These 12 years have been incredible and unforgettable and Atletico will always be in my heart."

Hernandez is currently sidelined by a knee injury which will require surgery, so he may have already played his last game for the La Liga outfit.

Meanwhile, following the international break, Atleti return to action on Saturday when they visit Alaves, who are unbeaten in their last five league games.

The visitors can be backed at 4/5 to win the game at the Mendizorrotza, with Atleti 4/1 to secure a 1-0 victory, while loan striker Alvaro Morata is priced at 7/4 to score at any time in the game – having netted five times in his last six appearances for club and country.

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Hernandez moves to Bayern

French international Lucas Hernandez is to join Bayern Munich from Atletico Madrid in the summer for what is believed to be a club record fee.

The 23-year-old moves to Germany on a five-year deal and becomes the most expensive player in Bundesliga history.

Hernandez, who was part of the French squad which won the 2018 World Cup, played in all their games in Russia bringing his international caps to 15.

The defender, who can play at centre-half or left-back, has made 67 La Liga appearances for Atletico Madrid, having joined them as a youth player in 2007.

He said of his move to the Bundesliga champions: "This is a really important day in my footballing career.

"Bayern Munich is one of the best clubs in Europe and the world. I'm proud to be able to fight for all possible titles with Bayern."

The club's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic added his delight at having completed the move, saying: "I'm very happy that in Lucas Hernandez we've been able to sign one of the best defensive players in the world.

"Lucas can be used both in central defence and on the left. He will also continue our tradition of outstanding French players and strengthen our team."

He will join Bayern on 1st July but in the meantime will stay with Atletico who are currently second in La Liga though 10 points behind leaders Barcelona.

They are back in action on Saturday evening when they travel to face Alaves and are 3/4 for the win with the home side 4/1 and the draw 12/5.

Meanwhile the Bundesliga title race looks like going down to the final games of the season with Bayern and Borussia Dortmund level on 60 points after 26 matches.

Bayern are 4/11 to win the title with Dortmund 2/1.

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