Espanyol vs Atletico Madrid Prediction, Preview and Betting Tips
Only couple of days before Christmas Atletico Madrid is heading to Barcelona, on the day after the Catalan regional election, where Diego Simeone’s men will face a not so well-performing Espanyol. In fact, “The Periquitos” have won four points only in the last six La Liga rounds while Atleti aims to add another positive result into its bag but to maintain its unbeaten league record as well.
La Liga: Espanyol vs Atletico Madrid 22.12.2017
If modern football history should teach us anything, it’s that you should never underestimate Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. Influenced by a transfer ban throughout 2017 and the dare of adapting to life in a newly built Wanda Metropolitano, not so many people anticipated them to deliver a serious title challenge this season, especially after an unconvincing beginning to the campaign. However Los Colchoneros are set to enter into their final 2017 La Liga fixture undefeated, occupying the 2nd position and with the chance to reduce the gap to leaders Barcelona to 3 points only. However, this is a scenario which is pretty much a subject of Atleti’s own behaviour as well as of the El Clasico’s outcome on Saturday.
With Diego Costa available next month, that’s a really good platform for Atletico Madrid to mount a serious challenge, particularly given they no longer have Champions League commitments to worry about. Even their trusty back four was being questioned a few months ago but once again the stats make very good reading as far as their defensive formation is concerned.
Espanyol fails to produce enough goal-scoring chances and the Catalans are one of the least effective attacking sides in the La Liga respectively. If “The Periquitos” want to climb up to the top-half of the table, like at the end of season 2016-17, their forwards must definitely show better finishing instinct as the squad led by Quique Sánchez Flores remains one of the toothless attacks with just 13 goals scored in 16 rounds. Of course, that’s pretty much related to the fact Espanyol are also one of the teams with least scoring chances created.
Anyway, Espanyol are generally quite organised defensively too with only 0.75 goals per game conceded at home.
Team News and Missing Players
Espanyol are winless in their last three games, winning one point only for that period. The point won during Sunday’s visit to Las Palmas was actually a massive disappointment to the Catalans who were holding a comfortable 0:2 lead until the closing 10 minutes, when Las Palmas answered with two sudden goals and could have even won, but Jonathan Viera missed to score a penalty in the stoppage time. So this basically means that the point was a very acceptable result to Espanyol at the end.
Unfortunately, captain Víctor Sánchez was booked for the fifth time this season and will miss out due to suspension. This opens a place for experienced Javi López, who looks set to replace Sánchez as a right-back.
The local veteran Fernando Torres netted Atleti’s winner against Alaves last time out and could partner Antoine Griezmann up front. That was the fourth consecutive La Liga victory of Atleti and they have yet to lose a domestic game since a narrow defeat vs Villarreal in end of April.
Otherwise Cholo Simeone is not expected to make any rotations and Stefan Savic is once more the favourite to start alongside Diego Godin at the centre-back, while José Giménez is recovering from injury. Nevertheless, Gimenez lost his starting position and latest rumours are he will be free to look for a new club.
Espanyol vs Atletico Madrid Prediction and Betting Tips
Seven of all 10 La Liga victories accomplished by Atletico Madrid this season are with one goal margin which is not something new. The guests do look like they could edge it though with Espanyol down in 16th place and having a very poor season. They are just on one of those runs where they win without playing brilliantly, an art Atleti have mastered in the last few years. Four of their last 8 league games have seen them win 1-0 and considering Espanyol’s lack of creativity, we won’t be surprised if Atletico Madrid gets another low-margin win at the “RCDE Stadium”. Furthermore, Atletico are undefeated in their last 20 La Liga games (13 wins, 7 draws) which is their longest unbeaten run in the competition.
Our betting prediction is backing the away side: Atletico Madrid to win against Espanyol.
Possible Lineups of Espanyol and Atletico Madrid
Venue: “RCDE Stadium”, Cornella de Llobregat, Barcelona.
Referee: Mario Melero Lopez.
RCD Espanyol: Pau Lopez – Aaron Caricol, Mario Hermoso, Oscar Duarte, Javi Lopez – Esteban Granero, David Lopez, Sergi Darder – Leo Baptistão, Sergio Garcia – Gerard Moreno. (4-3-2-1)
Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak – Filipe Luis, Diego Godin, Stefan Savic, Sime Vrsaljko – Koke, Gabi, Thomas Partey, Saul Niguez – Fernando Torres, Antoine Griezmann. (4-4-2)