Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 23/20
New-look Valencia enjoyed an impressive start to the season, but they now face another stern test against title-chasing Atletico Madrid. Los Colchoneros will play third straight game on the road, and they have so far brought decent four points from the travels.
Having serious financial difficulty in mind, the club’s main priority this summer was to trim down the hefty wage bill, while keeping the squad competitive, and we can say they did what they had set out to do. Two of the highest earners Nani and Abdennour were offloaded, just like key full-back Joao Cancelo, while in came experienced players Neto, Kondogbia, Murillo and Gabriel, plus two talented youngsters Andreas Pereira and Goncalo Guedes. The next step is for head coach Marcelino to rebuild the squad as soon as possible, but he does seem to be the right man for the job. The promising start to the season is likely to make everything a lot easier, as Valencia impressed to defeat Las Palmas at home before coming really close to beating mighty Real Madrid at the Bernabeu. With that in mind, the international break did not come in the best of times for los Che, although at least late signings had some extra time to work with their new teammates. It remains to be seen how the two-week break will affect Marcelino’s squad, and also how they will cope with the quality and intensity of Atletico Madrid.
Marcelino faces some defensive problems as both Ezequiel Garay and Gabriel Paulista are sidelined through injury, but new signings Andreas Pereira and Goncalo Guedes should be in contention.
Last season was not exactly a success for Atletico Madrid, who couldn’t keep up with Real Madrid and Barcelona on domestic stage, and they will certainly want to show some improvement this term. Los Colchoneros couldn’t sign any new players this summer due to their transfer ban, but they did secure a January deal for Sevilla star Vitolo and seem determined to bring Diego Costa back to Vicente Calderon. Atletico Madrid couldn’t prevent full-back Theo Hernandez from joining arch rivals Real Madrid, while also cashing in on some fringe players to further improve the financial situation ahead of the transfer ban being lifted. Diego Simeone’s men did not impress in the opening fixture against newly-promoted Girona, although they showed a great deal of character to come from two goals down and secure a 2-2 draw, scoring both goals with ten men on the pitch. Atletico showed massive improvement to record a 5-1 victory over Las Palmas, and they will now be hoping for more of the same when they face Valencia. The visitors are clearly high on confidence and they haven’t got too many selection problems at the moment.
Star player Antoine Griezmann continues to miss out through suspension, but Filipe Luis, Diego Godin and Kevin Gameiro have all recovered from injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- Atletico Madrid won last four matches vs Valencia
- Los Colchoneros won last two fixtures at Mestalla, scoring 5 goals
- Valencia lost two of last four matches at Mestalla
- Atletico unbeaten in last 13 La Liga games on the road (W7 D6)
- Both teams scored in last three of those matches
Valencia are going through the squad rebuilding process and despite surprising Real Madrid, we are not convinced they can match Atletico Madrid on Saturday afternoon. Los Colchoneros are slowly raising their form and we are backing them to make it three straight victories at Mestalla.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 23/20
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