Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid
Estadio de la Cerámica, Villarreal
Friday, 06-12-2019 @11pm
Ref: Alejandro Hernandez
Villarreal looked set to home in on the European qualification spots after securing five wins from seven throughout September and October; however, things have since taken a pretty significant turn for the worse for Javier Calleja and his side.
Last weekend’s 2-1 loss against Valencia in the Derbi de la Comunitat marked their fourth La Liga defeat in five and saw El Submarino Amarillo drop to 13th in the standings.
They have been beaten by three teams in the bottom five in recent weeks (2-1 vs Eibar, 3-1 vs Mallorca and 3-1 vs Celta Vigo), with a 0-0 home stalemate against Athletic Bilbao on Matchday 12 the only mild relief for Calleja’s charges amid a truly wretched run.
While clearly low on confidence and struggling defensively after leaking 10 goals in their last five matches, Villarreal will at least take heart from the fact they have lost just one from seven at home this season going into Friday’s game; they have the attacking tools to test Atleti with 28 goals notched in their 15 games thus far.
Atletico Madrid finished a relatively distant second to Barcelona last season and they are already six points behind the Catalan giants after losing 0-1 when the teams met at Wanda Metropolitano last Sunday night.
Los Rojiblancos played extremely well after a run of just one win from six in all competitions and arguably deserved a share of the spoils, but they ultimately failed to take their chances and succumbed to a Lionel Messi strike four minutes from time.
Diego Simeone’s side were consequently shuffled down to sixth in the table following Matchday 15 wins for Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad, and they desperately need to hit back this Friday night at la Ceramica to stay in touch at the top of the standings.
It’s quite possible, though, that recent exertions and last weekend’s sucker punch may have left their mark on Atleti and they will hardly go into this contest with all guns blazing, having failed to win any of their last six away fixtures in all competitions.
Both of these teams will feel on edge going into Friday’s clash and are likely to prioritize avoiding defeat as they seek to stop the rot. That could lead to quite a cat and mouse affair.
The other Spanish La Liga match-day 16 fixtures
-Real Madrid vs Espanyol @3pm
-Granada vs Deportivo Alaves @6pm
-Levante vs Valencia @8:30pm
-Barcelona vs Mallorca @11pm
-Eibar vs Getafe @2pm
-Getafe vs Athletic Bilbao @4pm
-Valladolid vs Real Sociedad @6pm
-Leganes vs Celta Vigo @8:30pm
-Osasuna vs Sevilla @11pm