Atletico Madrid – Girona (La Liga)
Atletico Madrid and Girona come up against each other on Saturday afternoon at the Wanda Metropolitano, for the 20th round of La Liga. Atletico Madrid suffered an unusual home defeat in midweek, against Sevilla for the 1st hand of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, something unusual for Diego Simeone’s team. Girona, on their turn, recovered from two league defeats in the best way possible, trashing Las Palmas at the Montilivi, a result that exponentially increases the players motivation.
Atletico Madrid are in 2nd place with 42 points, result of 12 victories, 6 draws and 1 defeat, with 28 goals scored and 8 goals conceded. Although the Colchoneros have succumbed to an unusual home defeat, that match was for the Copa del Rey, and they remain undefeated at home for La Liga. The Madrid side are the closest team to Barcelona at the top of the table, but there are 9 points separating both teams, a difference already very difficult to recover.
Diego Simeone’s men won 6 of their last 7 consecutive matches, losing the other one, and have only conceded goals in 2 of those 7 games, having kept clean sheets in the remaining 5. The Colchoneros are yet to be defeated at home in a La Liga match, having won 5 of the 8 games played here, scoring 10 goals and conceding only 3. At home is where the team has a better defensive organization as they concedes less goals, but is also where they score less goals.
In their last 5 official matches, Atletico Madrid has a record of 4 victories and 1 defeat. This sequence of results started with a 0-4 victory against Lleida Esportiu, for the Copa del Rey. This result was followed by a 2-0 victory against Getafe, a 3-0 victory against Lleida Esportiu, for the Copa del Rey, a 0-1 victory over Eibar, and in their last match, a 1-2 defeat against Sevilla, for the Copa del Rey. Diego Godín is out due to suspension.
Probable Lineup: Oblak – Vrsaljko, Giménez, Savic and Luis – Ñíguez, Gabi, Koke and Correa – Griezmann and Diego Costa.
Girona, on their turn, are in 9th place with 26 points, from 7 victories, 5 draws and 7 defeats, with 28 goals scored and 28 goals conceded. After un undesired year’s end and a less good entry in 2018, losing the last game of 2017 and the first official match of 2018, the catalans recovered well from those two defeats against Las Palmas, beating them at the Montilivi by 6-0. Away from home, Girona lost the last two La Liga matches, against Eibar and Valencia, conceding 6 goals and scoring only 2 in the process, but these are are their only 2 defeats in their last 8 La Liga away games.
The catalans managed to take points from Atletico Madrid in the reverse fixture, and will try to do the same here. With just 3 points behind an Europa League spot, the team can dream with the European competitions in the next season, and they have already shown quality enough to enter in the race for those european spots. The 6-0 victory over Las Palmas came at the right time, giving a huge boost to the players motivation.
In their last 5 official matches, Girona has a record of 3 victories and 2 defeats. This sequence of results started with a 0-1 against Espanyol. This result was followed by a 1-0 victory over Getafe, a 4-1 defeat against Eibar, a 2-1 defeat against Sevilla, and in their last match, a 6-0 victory over Las Palmas. Jose Raymundo Luis Suarez is out due to injury.
Probable Lineup: Bono – Espinosa, Ramalho and Juanpe – Pons, Granell, Benítez and Mojica – Portu, Stuani and García.
The only direct confrontation between the two teams ended in a tie.
Liga Espanhola 17/18
Atletico Madrid are showing a great defensive organization, and are managing to score often, something that has changed for the better with the arrival of striker Diego Costa. Expect Atletico Madrid to control the game and constantly looking for a goal, with Girona expected to respond through counter-attacks, so this could be a game with several chances at both ends of the pitch.