La Liga, Saturday, 18/03/2023

Not so long ago, the match between Atletico Madrid and Valencia was considered an absolute top duel. In 2023, however, the world looks very different, Atletico is fighting for a place in the top flight while Valencia’s only concern this year is to stay in the league.

On the last La Liga matchday before the two-week international break, the hosts want to continue their successful series. “Los Colchoneros” have not lost for 9 league games and currently occupy third place in the table.

With 20 points from the last 8 games, the red and white are the most in-form team in the league after Barcelona.

Find out why I think Atletico can build on their last few games and keep the points in Madrid in my Atletico Madrid Valencia tip.

Consistency versus inconsistency – that could be the headline for the match between Atletico Madrid and Valencia. On the side of the Champions League aspirants, coach Diego Simeone has now been in charge for over 11 years.

For the “Blanquinegros”, on the other hand, Ruben Baraja is already the third coach to coach Valencia this season. When Gennaro Gattuso was sacked a few weeks ago, the Mediterranean coast initially tried interim coach Voro.

This experiment was quickly abandoned, however, and after three defeats in three games, the next change on the sidelines followed.

Former Spanish international Baraja was given the chance and still managed to pick up six points in four games. It is interesting to note that all previous games under his management ended with a 1-0 score (two wins, two defeats).

The former Valencia player’s signature is clearly recognisable: keeping a clean sheet at the back and focusing on efficiency at the front.

Baraja won both home games, but lost both away games so far. Last weekend, “Los Ches” were able to enjoy a three-pointer when Osasuna were defeated at home. The 2004 champions hardly conceded anything in the entire 90 minutes, so that the visitors hardly had a goal-scoring chance worth mentioning.

Valencia FC are currently in 17th place, level on points with eighteenth-placed Getafe FC. It is all the more pleasing that Elche FC seem to be the first team to be relegated. The promoted team from 2020 is bottom of the table with 13 points and has hardly any chance of staying in the league.

Just as you would expect when a top team meets a relegation candidate, the odds are clearly in favour of the favourite. Bookmaker Bwin, for example, offers very good conditions for a home win with 1.60 odds.

Should Valencia take home the three points, the bookmakers, who also accept Paypal payouts, will reward this with six times the payout.

In view of the table constellation and the current form of the hosts, I think the odds are justified. I also consider the 1.70 odds for a 2.5 goal bet to be fair, as Atletico and Valencia are two defensively strong teams that will meet.

Not for nothing Atletico have conceded just 19 goals in 15 games and share the second best defence in the league with Real Madrid’s city rivals.

That Atletico would be in third place at this point in the season was not necessarily foreseeable. For a long time, Simeone’s team lagged behind its own expectations and threatened to miss out on the Champions League at an early stage.

Unusually often, the Madrilenians made careless mistakes and lost games as a result. But the rudder was turned around and the individual mistakes were largely eliminated, which is why goalkeeper Jan Oblak only had to make three saves in the last eight matches.

Atletio are unlikely to be able to challenge for the championship, with leaders FC Barcelona already 17 points ahead of them.

However, Atletico have the best chance of qualifying for the Champions League, as they have a six-point cushion over Betis Sevilla, who are fifth in the table.

The hosts’ current form is largely down to the fact that new signing Depay and Antoine Griezmann are working in perfect harmony. Since his move to the capital, Depay has been in superb form, scoring on average every 64 minutes.

Teammate Griezmann is the top scorer with 8 goals and 9 assists, collecting four goal assists in the last four games.

With Alvaro Morata, Simeone has another offensive weapon in the squad that is currently making an impact. The centre-forward has come off the bench in each of the last two games, netting three times.

Especially important was his 1-0 goal at Girona last week, which was also the deciding goal.

In total, Atletico and Valencia have met 177 times in a competitive match, with the Blanquinegros winning 69 of them. In the recent past, the winner has usually come from the capital, with 4 of the last 5 direct duels going to Atletico Madrid.

The signs are clear: Atletico are the favourites and want to get the three points, Valencia, on the other hand, would probably be satisfied with a draw.

It’s a mystery to me how the visitors’ harmless attack is supposed to create scoring chances at the Metropolitano. I’d almost be surprised if Atletico don’t go without conceding a goal on Saturday night.

I’m going with the favourite and betting: Atelico Madrid win against Valencia!