Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid match preview and predictions for Sunday’s LaLiga match. Read on for the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups ahead of a key game at the top of the table.
|Date||Sunday 28th January 2021|
|Kick-Off||21:00 (local time)|
Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid Preview
It’s a really significant weekend in the Spanish title race with the top three all facing difficult opponents. If not the biggest, this is one of Atletico Madrid’s most important league games since they won the title on the last day at Camp Nou seven years ago. They’ve hit a severe downturn in form and what until only recently seemed an unassailable advantage at the top has been cut to just 3 points heading into this matchday.
Villarreal isn’t really the place you want to go in need of a morale boosting victory. The Yellow Submarine have only suffered three league defeats all season, which is less than everybody except their opponents in this match. The only thing separating Villarreal from being in the title race themselves is their draw column which reads a staggering 13, equating to over half of their matches and 3 more than any other team.
Unai Emery’s side may now really start to prioritise the Europa League over the coming months after impressively seeing off RB Salzburg 4-1 on aggregate on Thursday. They face Dinamo Kiev next and will see that tie as serving up a good opportunity for them to reach the Quarter-Finals but with no midweek fixture next week, they’ve no reason not to name their strongest eleven here.
Atletico Madrid’s eggs are all going to lie in one basket unless they can turn a 1-0 deficit around in their Champions League 2nd Leg in London against Chelsea. This is the toughest spell Atleti have endured in over a year with just one win in five games in all competitions. They have the Madrid derby to come next weekend too and the outcome of these next two matches may well shape the rest of their season.
The good news for Diego Simeone is that their selection problems have eased with the group of players who tested positive for COVID-19 recently all available again. They could do with a big performance here from someone like Joao Felix though and it feels as though the young Portuguese may really need to come to the party over the coming weeks and provide that bit of inspiration that may be the difference in tight games such as this.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 2 Atleti Wins, 1 Villarreal Win, 3 Draws.
- Atletico Madrid have failed to win on each of their last 5 trips to the Ceramica.
- Their last win here was a 1-0 success back in April 2015.
- The sides drew 0-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano earlier in the season.
Mario Gaspar and Ruben Pena are doubts for Villarreal who could end up having to play Juan Foyth at right-back as a result.
Atleti are missing Kieran Trippier and Jose Gimenez while Yannick Carrasco is rated doubtful.
Predicted Villarreal Starting Lineup:
Asenjo – Pedraza, Torres, Albiol, Pena – Trigueros, Capoue, Parejo – Gomez, Alcacer, Gerard (4-3-3)
Predicted Atleti Starting Lineup:
Oblak – Hermoso, Felipe, Savic – Lodi, Kondogbia, Saul, Koke, Llorente – Felix, Suarez (3-5-2)
Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid Predictions
LaLiga Expert Predicts: Villarreal 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Atleti’s overly cautious approach was much criticised against a Chelsea side that was short in defence and it’s unlikely we’ll see them throw much caution to the wind here either. Villarreal are a strong side but they aren’t exactly in the habit of winning league games right now and a draw certainly seems the most likely outcome here.