Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Club: Preview and Prediction

Atletico Madrid will look to return to winning ways when they host Athletic Club in what could be a season-defining match for both teams.

Atletico Madrid and Athletic Club are both fighting for a UEFA Champions League spot, and a win in this fixture could get them a step closer to their objective. Meanwhile, both teams have dropped points in their last outing and will be eager to bounce back here.

Diego Simeone’s team are fourth in the league, with 61 points in their 32 matches. They have not been able to perform at the levels they are expected to. Atletico Madrid have been knocked out of the Champions League and are now fighting to ensure they finish inside the top four.

The home team have dropped points in three out of their last five games, and they are heading into this one on the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Deportivo Alaves. Despite dominating the proceedings they ended up on the wrong side of the result.

This game is of vital importance to Simeone’s men, as Athletic Club are fifth and just three points behind them, having accumulated 58 points in their 32 matches. They are pushing for a top-four finish, and a win here will take the level on points with Atletico. But a defeat could literally end their dreams.

The Basque outfit are heading into this one on the back of consecutive draws, and those results have not done them any good. Failing to win against Villarreal and Granada has been a setback. But a win here could be a massive boost for them with just six games to go in the season. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both teams and tries to predict the tactics they could use.

Team News & Tactics

Atletico Madrid

The home team will be without the services of Marcos Paulo, Gabriel Paulista, Thomas Lemar, and Memphis Depay. Stefan Savic is suspended for this fixture, having picked up a milestone yellow last time out. They do have a boost as Marcos Llorente is back after servicing suspension last time out. Meanwhile, Alvaro Morata could return to the squad for this outing.

Diego Simeone’s team will line up in a 3-5-2 formation, where Jan Oblak will be in goal. The back three will be made up of Axel Witsel, Jose Maria Gimenez, and Cesar Azpilicueta. They will look for a clean sheet and will have the support of Nahuel Molina and Samuel Lino, who will feature as the wing-backs.

In the centre of the park, Rodrigo De Paul will start alongside Koke and Marcos Llorente. The trio will look to control the tempo of the game. In attack, Antoine Griezmann will continue alongside Angel Correa.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Oblak; Witsel, Gimenez, Azpilicueta; Molina, De Paul, Koke, Llorente, Lino; Griezmann, Correa

Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Club Predicted XI

Athletic Club

Yuri Berchiche remains a doubt for this fixture, while Oscar de Marcos is suspended. Despite being subbed off at half-time in their last outing because of an injury concern, Aitor Paredes is expected to be fit for this one.

Athletic Club will stick to the 4-2-3-1 formation, where Unai Simon will be in goal. Yeray Alvarez and Inigo Lekue will feature as the full-backs in this one, while Dani Vivian will start alongside Aitor Paredes in the heart of the defence.

The backline will be shielded by Ínigo Ruiz de Galarreta and Benat Prados Diaz, who will form the double pivot in the midfield. They will look to ensure the Atletico Madrid midfielders do not end up dominating the proceedings.

Inaki Williams and Nico Williams will feature on the flanks for the visitors, while Oihan Sancet will be the attacking midfielder. Finally, Gorka Guruzeta will continue to lead the line for Athletic Club against Atletico Madrid.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Simon; Yeray, Vivian, Paredes, Lekue; Ruiz de Galarreta, Benat; I Williams, Sancet, N Williams; Guruzeta

Atletico Madrid vs Athletic Club Predicted XI

Key Stats

  • Atletico Madrid have won 27 out of their last 51 matches against Athletic Club who have 17 wins to their name.
  • The reverse fixture between the two teams ended 2-0 in favour of the visitors.
  • Atletico Madrid have not lost both league games to Athletic Club since the 1999/2000 season.
  • The Colchoneros are unbeaten in their last 12 home league games against Athletic Club.
  • Athletic Club have only won one out of their 16 away league games against teams from Madrid.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Embed from Getty Images

The 33-year-old has been Atletico Madrid’s go-to man throughout the season, and the French international has delivered with 21 goals and eight assists in his 43 outings in all competitions.

Griezmann has found the back of the net on 13 occasions in the league, and he also has six assists in his 28 outings. Diego Simeone’s team have relied on him in the crucial moments and they will hope he comes good against Athletic Club as they look to seal a top-four spot.


Atletico Madrid 3-2 Athletic Club

Both teams are expected to go all out for all three points in this fixture, as it will help cement their spot in the top four. Irrespective of the recent form of both teams, this fixture is expected to be a closely fought encounter.

The hosts have suffered defeats in three out of their last five league games, while the visitors have been winless in their last three league outings. As a result, neither of them are clear favourites. But given the kind of quality Diego Simeone has at his disposal, his team could eventually come out on top. The Hard Tackle predicts a 3-2 win for the home team.

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