Atletico Madrid will look to bounce back from a narrow 1-0 loss to Barcelona when they welcome Mallorca to the Civitas Metropolitano Stadium on Wednesday evening in La Liga.

A 1-0 defeat away to champions-elect Barcelona at the weekend has ended Los Rojiblancos’ impressive run of form in the calendar year and put a dent on their hopes of finishing second in La Liga. So Atletico Madrid will be keen to return to home comforts, where they have won five in a row, when they face Mallorca.

Diego Simeone’s Los Rojiblancos have been in terrific form since the turn of the year, picking up ten league victories in their last 13 matches and moving well clear of fourth-placed Real Sociedad in the process.

Since they have no chance of winning the title, their only aim in the remaining games is to stay among the top four teams and secure the Champions League next season, possibly pipping their city rivals to the second spot if possible. With a 12-point lead, it is almost impossible they will drop from the top four, while they are now five points adrift of Los Blancos and will look to cut the gap here.

They now face a Mallorca that, under the management of Javier Aguirre, are now all but safe in La Liga after their 3-1 defeat of struggling Getafe at the weekend to make it successive wins. Given that Mallorca escaped relegation last season on the knife edge only by one point, they have taken a huge step forward towards establishing themselves as a top-flight club.

With 40 points from 30 games, they are currently sitting in tenth place and are enjoying a fantastic season. They are ten points clear of the relegation zone with eight games left in the season. In fact, they are much closer to clinching a European berth than they are to fight for relegation.

Mallorca defeated Atletico Madrid in the reverse fixture in the first half of the season. In fact, the visitors have won each of the last three meetings between these two sides, meaning the hosts will be out there seeking vengeance.

Team News & Tactics

Atletico Madrid

Forward Memphis Depay, who suffered an injury while playing for the Netherlands national team and missed the next four games for Atletico Madrid, remains doubtful for the Mallorca game and will be assessed late before the game.

Both Marcus Llorente and Geoffrey Kondogbia are back from suspension, while Reinildo Mandava remains in the recovery room. Central defender Stefan Savic has suffered a fifth-toe fracture, so will also miss out here, with Axel Witsel dropping deeper into the back-three.

Diego Simeone looks set to go in with a 3-5-2 system that turns into a 5-3-2 while defending. Jan Oblak is a sure starter in goal, while the back three should be made up of Witsel, Jose Gimenez, and Mario Hermoso.

Nahuel Molina could continue his fine form at right-back with Yannick Carrasco holding down the other flank. Skipper Koke will be entrusted with doing the dirty work in midfield, allowing Marcus Llorente and Rodrigo De Paul to push forward.

The attacking duo of Alvaro Morata and Antoine Griezmann will lead the line and look to make something happen upfront. The duo is the club’s top two goalscorers and accounts for almost 45 percent of Atletico’s league strikes this season. The onus to make the difference on the day could once again fall on them, with Carrasco and Molina serving as wide creators to supply them.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Witsel, Gimenez, Hermoso; Molina, Llorente, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Morata, Griezmann

RCD Mallorca

Ludwig Augustinsson, Matija Nastasic, and Giovanni Gonzalez remain on the sidelines with injuries, leading to almost an injury crisis at the back.

The visitors are likely to continue with their 5-3-2 formation, with Predrag Rajkovic starting in goal. The likes of Jose Copete, Dennis Hadzikadunic, and Martin Valjent are expected to start in a back three for Mallorca, flanked by Sanchez and Pablo Maffeo.

Iddrisu Baba and Manu Morlanes should line up in the centre of the park, with their primary objective being to sit deep and shield the defence while launching quick out-balls to the attackers.

The in-demand Lee Kang-in is a real creative force thanks to his sheer technical qualities, dribbling, and ability in tight spaces. He is even a threat in dead-ball situations and will be a big weapon for Mallorca as they look to hit the hosts at pace and catch them cold on the break.

After a 3-1 victory over Getafe, coach Javier Aguirre addressed the media, and said it was a nice win, especially because they did not play well in the first half. “Maybe we don’t play brilliant football, but it has given us life and triumphs,” he added.

Despite scoring 29 goals all season, Mallorca have recently improved offensively. They have scored seven goals in the previous four games. Vedat Muriqi, who has scored 12 league goals so far this season, will be one of the two forwards, with him being most likely partnered by Amath Ndiaye.

Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Rajkovic; Sanchez, Valjent, Copete, Hadzikadunic, Maffeo; Morlanes, Baba, Lee Kang-in; Muriqi, Ndiaye

Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid have won their last five home games in a row.
  • Mallorca are on a run of six defeats in eight games on the road.
  • Atletico Madrid have won three of their last seven matches at the Metropolitano by at least two goals.
  • The visitors are on a four-game unbeaten run, having scored seven goals during that stretch.
  • Mallorca won the last three head-to-head games against Atletico Madrid.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Embed from Getty Images

Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann is enjoying the best form of his career in 2023. Griezmann has spearheaded Atletico’s upsurge in La Liga. The 32-year-old has already brought his La Liga tally up to 11 league goals, along with eight assists in league action in 2022/23, both club-leading stats.

The Frenchman also seems to have repaired his relationship with the fans, who were angered by his move to Barcelona in 2019. He was an absolute menace in the first half against Barcelona but failed to maintain that level as the game went on. He will be looking to have a telling influence this time around.


Atletico Madrid 2-1 Mallorca

We are expecting another tight game, as the visitors will be buoyed by back-to-back wins. But they will battle it out with technically superior and in-form opponents. Given the mayhem that Vedat Muriqi’s presence often causes, we can definitely see Mallorca scoring,

But Diego Simeone’s men need to win as they are still targeting their city rivals, Real Madrid, in second place and should have more than enough talent to do so here. The Hard Tackle predicts a 2-1 win for the hosts.

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