Atletico Madrid will look to return to winning ways when they hit the road to square up against 10th-placed Villarreal.

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid have not been at their best in the ongoing season, and they will be desperate for all three points when they face Villarreal. The visitors are fighting for a finish in the top four, while the home team will look to build on their results before the international break.

Villarreal have accumulated 38 points in their 29 outings and are currently tenth on the points table. They might have been knocked out of the Europa League, but they are unbeaten in their last nine league games and have won each of their last four.

They will be heading into this fixture against Atletico Madrid with a lot of confidence, having turned things around at the right time. Their last outing was a 1-0 win over Valencia. While it was not their best performance, they did get the job done.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid have not lived up to the expectations. They are expected to challenge for the league title on a regular basis. But this time around, they are fifth in the league and finishing inside the top four is the task at hand with nine games to go.

They are just one point behind fourth-placed Athletic Club and if they keep getting the right results, they can surely walk back into a UEFA Champions League spot. They are heading into this fixture on the back of consecutive defeats in the league.

Their last outing before the international break was a 3-0 hammering at the hands of Barcelona and they will be eager to bounce back. Meanwhile, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could put to use.

Team News & Tactics


The home team will be without the services of quite a few first-team players because of injuries. Denis Suarez, Yeremy Pino, Juan Foyth, Ramon Terrats, and Pepe Reina are all unavailable. Meanwhile, Eric Bailly, Raul Albiol, and Alfonso Pedraza’s availability is doubtful.

Full-backs Alberto Moreno and Kiko Femenia are both suspended for this fixture. Marcelino will make a few changes to the XI that started in their last outings. They will stick to the 4-4-2 formation, where Filip Jorgensen will take charge in goal. Carlos Romero and Jorge Cuenca will feature as the full-backs, while Yerson Mosquera will start alongside Aissa Mandi in the heart of the defence.

Bertrand Traore and Alex Baena will provide the width from the midfield. Meanwhile, Santi Comesana and Dani Parejo will feature in a more central role. They will look to control the tempo of the game. In attack, Gerard Moreno will pair up with Alexander Sorloth.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Jorgensen; Romero, Mosquera, Mandi, Cuenca; Traore, Comesana, Parejo, Baena; G Moreno, Sorloth

Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal Predicted XI

Atletico Madrid

The visitors will be without the services of Thomas Lemar because of an Achilles injury, while Nahuel Molina and Rodrigo De Paul are suspended having picked up a milestone yellow last time out. Meanwhile, the availability of Mario Hermoso and Jose Gimenez remains a major doubt.

Simeone will stick to the 3-5-2 formation, where Jan Oblak will continue in goal. The back three will be made up of Stefan Savic, Axel Witsel, and Reinildo Mandava. They will look for a clean sheet and will have the support of Marcos Llorente and Samuel Lino who will feature as wing-backs.

In the centre of the park, Pablo Barrios will start alongside Saul Niguez and Koke. The trio will look to ensure they dictate the pace of the game and do not let the opposition have too much of the ball. In attack, French superstar Antoine Griezmann will feature alongside Alvaro Morata.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Savic, Witsel, Reinildo; Llorente, Koke, Barrios, Saul, Lino; Griezmann, Morata

Atletico Madrid vs Villarreal Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid won the reverse fixture 3-1 earlier this season.
  • Villarreal have been unbeaten in their last nine league games.
  • The last time when Simeone’s men played Villarreal away from home they failed to win (2-2).
  • The home team have won each of their last four league games.
  • Atletico Madrid have lost four out of their last five away matches in all competitions.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Embed from Getty Images

The French World Cup winner has been in sensational form in the ongoing season. He has featured in a total of 38 matches and has contributed towards 26 goals. He has found the back of the net on 19 occasions and has also bagged seven assists.

The 33-year-old forward has been Diego Simeone’s go-to man when the going gets tough and with the Colchoneros chasing a top-four finish, he will hope Griezmann comes good yet again.


Villarreal 1-2 Atletico Madrid

Villarreal were in exceptional form before heading into the international break, and they will look to continue from where they had left. They are playing at home and will be confident of getting the right result. While Atletico Madrid suffered back-to-back defeats before the break, they will be eager to bounce back.

It is a very important game for them in terms of the top four race and they are expected to go all guns blazing. Recent form suggests Villarreal could have a great day at the office but given the kind of quality Atletico Madrid have, The Hard Tackle feels they will bounce back and win 2-1 on the night.

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