Monday night (9:00pm UK) in Valencia, Atlético de Madrid look to bounce back from a rare home defeat, while Valencia look to make it two wins from two at home in the 2022-23 La Liga season.
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Where to watch Valencia vs Atlético de Madrid on TV:
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Valencia team news
Valencia have kicked off their 2022-23 La Liga campaign on both sides of 1-0 results.
In their season opener at home at Mestalla, Valencia emerged victorious over newly-promoted Girona. On the surface, a minimum-margin win, thanks solely to a first half stoppage time penalty by Carlos Soler over the bookies’ favourite for relegation isn’t the most stellar of results.
To be fair, Valencia were nowhere near as aggressive as they’d have liked to be in that contest after losing 24-year-old Swiss defender Eray Comert to a red card, and having to navigate the last 38 minutes a man down. Under circumstances, despite relinquishing the majority of possession (54%), Valecnia limiting Girona to just five shots (just one on target) and hold on for the win is, in fact, pretty impressive.
Valencia’s Matchday 2 contest was a near-mirror image of the opener. In Bilbao to take on Athletic Club, Valencia were granted the lion’s share of possession (63%) and generated 122 attacks and 70 dangerous attacks, but failed to put a single one of their ten shots on target. Athletic, meanwhile, parlayed their 37% possession into two shots on goal, one of which – a 42nd-minute effort from Alejandro Berenguer – found the back of the net, and held up as the game’s lone tally.
Valencia wouldn’t be wrong to believe that might have gotten more from their first two games, it’s tough to be too disappointed with the results after the opening fortnight. On another positive note, Gennaro Gattuso’s side comes into Matchday 3 with a clean bill of health, with only defender José Luis Gayà unavailable, after his four-match ban for comments made late last season about La Liga officials was upheld earlier this month. All eyes should be on 22-year-old forward Hugo Duro, won turned heads in this matchup last season, scoring three of his seven La Liga on the campaign against Atlético.
Conversely, Gattuso will have the services of striker Maxi Gómez at his disposal, though relations between player and club have become somewhat frayed, as Gómez is threatening to block a move away from Mestalla that would clear the way for the arrival of his Uruguayan countryman, Edinson Cavani.
Atlético de Madrid team news
Atlético de Madrid come into this match in a near-identical situation to their hosts. Atleti’s season opener, ‘away’ to fellow Madrid-based side Getafe, was an excellent display of efficiency, as Atleti parlayed just 36 dangerous attacks into five shots on target and three goals, while not allowing a single shot on target against them. Though Getafe don’t possess the firepower to consistently trouble the top teams in the league, they are a tough and organized squad, and Diego Simeone will surely have been delighted with such an emphatic and comfortable victory.
Last week, in their home opener, Atleti replicated much of their attacking performance from the season opener, conjuring a relatively modest 54 dangerous attacks, but generating 13 shots and five shots on target off of them. However, unlike in the week prior, none of their high profile attackers – not Antoine Griezmann, not João Félix, not Álvaro Morata – found the net.
Meanwhile, their opponents, Villarreal, on a downright humble 30 dangerous attacks, unleashed 19 shots, equaled Atleti’s tally of five on target, and broke through with an opener from Yeremi Pino in the 73rd minute. The 1-0 score line held until well into an eventful stoppage time period, in which three players were shown yellow cards, Atlético’s Nahuel Molina saw red for unsportsmanlike conduct and Gerard Moreno sealed a 2-0 final in the 94th minute.
It can be tempting to read too much into this type of result. However, given the organization and efficiency with which Simeone’s side played in the opener and much of the Villarreal match, combined with the facts that: a) this was Atlético’s first home loss in the league in their last eight; b) this was Atlético’s first defeat in the first two games of a season since 2011-12 (Simeone’s first season in charge), and; c) the match was a nip-tuck 1-0 affair until a crazy final three minutes.
While this is certainly not a vintage ‘Cholismo’ side capable of shackling any opponent at will, this is still a high-end team, led by a top-tier manager who’s reiterated his faith in both his tactics and ‘very complete squad’.
Until we have a more concrete reason to think otherwise, it’s probably prudent to chalk up the Villarreal result as an isolated scuffle, rather than a cause for serious concern. Looking ahead to Matchday 3, Simeone will assuredly have his side refocused and ready to compete in Valencia – and that side boasts more than enough in attack to take full points from their second consecutive away outing.
Scoreline prediction: Valencia 1-2 Atlético de Madrid
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