24 February 2019
Highly motivated after a 2-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League, Atletico Madrid welcome Villarreal to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano trying to strike back-to-back La Liga triumphs and keep their chances of wrapping up the title alive.
The hosts seem to have bounced back after losing two successive LL clashes, but they have a long way to go before returning to challenge Barcelona for the title. Unsurprisingly, six of Atletico’s previous triumphs have seen them beating their rivals to nil, but a troubling fact for Diego Simeone is that his players failed to win all of the last five clashes in which they’ve failed to keep a clean sheet (D3, L2). Although Los Colchoneros have the second-best home record in La Liga (W9, D2, L1), have bagged just 20 goals on an average of goals 1.67 scored per match. But, Los Rojiblancos share the best defensive home tally having conceded only seven goals so far.
Meanwhile, the visitors have finally managed to end their misery by pulling off a stunning 3-0 win over Sevilla last time out. It was Villarreal’s first LL triumph after ten successive failures (D6, L4) and also the second time they’ve scored over 2.5 goals per match this entire LL campaign. However, the Yellow Submarine are yet to escape the relegation zone although they now trail 17th-placed Celta Vigo by just one point. Javier Calleja’s men are winless in their last eight LL road meetings (D4, L4) having conceded 2+ match goals six times in that period. However, Villarreal are one of very few teams that can boast a positive record in Madrid, at least in the last four years. They have racked up a four-game unbeaten road run against Atletico Madrid, preventing the last season’s runners-up from scoring three times in the process.
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