Espanyol vs Atletico Madrid
Relegation-threatened Espanyol will be seeking a miraculous three points against high-flying Atletico Madrid when the two teams lock horns at the RCDE Stadium this midweek.
Goals on either side of halftime fired Espanyol to a crucial 2-1 win at Rayo Vallecano last weekend, reinforcing their hopes of extending a two-year La Liga status. But with only three games left and a four-point deficit on safety ominously looming over Los Periquitos’ heads, they’ll likely have to snap a five-match winless league run against Atletico (D2, L3). But that’s easier said than done, considering Luis Garcia’s men have only claimed one win in their last five top-flight outings on home soil (D1, L3), conceding at least twice in each defeat. Another slow start could cost them dearly, given that Espanyol have gone winless in all 12 La Liga home matches this season after letting their opponent draw first blood (D4, L8).
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid steadied the ship following a shock 1-0 defeat at basement boys Elche with an overwhelming 3-0 home victory over Osasuna last weekend to leapfrog cross-town rivals Real Madrid to second in the standings. After securing an 11th straight top-four finish, Diego Simeone’s men are now looking to address the travel sickness that has seen them lose two of their last three away league matches by an identical 1-0 scoreline (W1). But ‘Los Rojiblancos’ will likely have to grind their way to victory in Catalonia, having managed just three wins across their six most recent visits to the RCDE Stadium in La Liga (D1, L2). Conceding first could put this encounter beyond Atletico’s reach, as they’ve lost each of their last nine away league games in which they shipped the opening goal.