Monday, February 6, 2023

Prediction: Almeria vs Atletico Madrid

Veselin Trajkovic in Free Soccer Predictions 14 Jan 2023

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Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

Almeria and Atletico Madrid will face each other on Sunday afternoon at the Estadio Mediterraneo in the town of Almeria on the south coast of Spain, in what will be the 17th match of the La Liga season for both teams. Naturally, the three points on offer are extremely important for both sides, though unsurprisingly, they need those points for very different purposes.

Almeria

For Almeria, the only important thing is, of course, to keep their top-flight status in Spanish football after being without it for seven years, and there’s a lot of work to be done to reach a safe place. Elche, who sit at the bottom with no more than four points from 16 games, are obviously condemned to relegation already, but Cadiz and Espanyol, who are also in the relegation zone, are no more than three and two points, respectively, behind Almeria in 15th place with 17 to their name. Celta Vigo (also 17) and surprisingly enough Sevilla (15) are squeezed in the two spots in between.

It’s not very easy to get a proper feel for the form of this team, given that their last-six run of competitive matches consists of four games played before the World Cup in Qatar, but for what it’s worth, it includes a 3-1 home win over Celta, a 2-0 defeat away to Barcelona, a 1-0 win over Getafe at home, a surprising 2-0 defeat away to Arenteiro in the first round of the Copa del Rey, a 1-1 draw away to Cadiz, and a 0-2 defeat at home at the hands of Real Sociedad.

Team News

Coach Rubi won’t have defender Ivan Martos at his disposal again. The 25-year-old centre-back is yet to play this season due to an ACL tear, but at the moment, he is the only player missing.

With Fernando Martinez in goal, Srdjan Babic and Rodrigo Ely are expected to form the centre-back partnership, with Sergio Akieme on the left and Alejandro Pozo on the right. Cesar de la Hoz should be anchoring the midfield and providing protection for the back four, with Gonzalo Melero and Lucas Robertone in the two box-to-box role. Largie Ramazani and Adrian Embarba are the wingers expected to start either side of striker Dyego Sousa.

Atletico Madrid

With Real Madrid and Barcelona in the league, nobody really expects other teams to compete for the La Liga title before hand, and when it does happen, it’s rightly considered a huge success. Atletico Madrid have been taking advantage of that view to avoid feeling too much pressure when they aren’t playing great, even though they did lift the trophy twice since Diego Simeone took charge of the team back in 2011.

Be that as it may, Atletico are currently in sixth place with 27 points from 16 matches, 14 behind leaders Real but just one off top four, with both Villarreal in fourth and Real Betis in fifth on 28. In all likelihood, the Rojiblancos will eventually qualify for next season’s Champions League, which they left this term after the group stage. They finished bottom of Group B, behind FC Porto, Club Brugge and Bayer Leverkusen.

Atletico’s last-six run consists of a 1-0 defeat away to Mallorca, a 0-2 win over Almazan in the opening round of the Copa del Rey followed by a 1-3 triumph over Arenteiro in the second, a 2-0 home win over Elche, a 0-2 away win against Oviedo in the Copa round of 32, and a 0-1 home defeat against Barcelona last week.

Team News

Joao Felix has left the club to join Chelsea on loan for the rest of the season, widening the possibility of Alvaro Morata starting upfront with Antoine Griezmann. World Cup winner Rodrigo De Paul should start in the middle of the park along with Koke and Pablo Barrios, and with Marcos Llorente and Thomas Lemar out wide.

At the back, there will be no Stefan Savic after he got sent off against Barcelona, and probably Mario Hermoso, who isn’t 100% ready to play. That should leave Jose Gimenez as a nailed-on starter, along with Felipe and Reinildo. Jan Oblak will, as always, stand between the posts.

Apart from Savic and Hermoso, winger Yannick Carrasco is out of this match as well, through a muscular issue.

Conclusion

This will be a very tough contest for both sides. Atletico appear likelier to win, by the narrowest of margins.

Verdict: Total goals under 2.5

Best odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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