Atletico Madrid will welcome Valencia to the Wanda Metropolitano stadium in the 34th Matchday of La Liga this evening.
Atletico’s title hopes are virtually over after Barcelona’s 0-2 win at Alaves last night. However, the game against Valencia is still important for Diego Simeone’s side as the Colchoneros fight with their cross-town rivals Real Madrid for the second place in La Liga.
Los Ches travel to the Spanish capital on the back of a 2-1 away victory at Real Betis. Valencia has been in excellent form since mid-January, climbing up the La Liga table to the fifth position, two points behind fourth-placed Getafe.
A win in this game would be a big boost in the race for a Champions League spot for the Bats. The three points would take them to fourth place, as Getafe take on Real Madrid on Thursday night.
Antoine Griezmann will be back in Simeone’s first team after missing the trip to Eibar through suspension, while Diego Costa is out due to his eight-match ban following the red card against Barcelona.
Uruguayan defender Jose Gimenez dislocated his toe over the weekend and is expected to miss tonight’s game.
Lucas Hernandez had knee surgery earlier in the season and has likely played his final game for the club before his switch to Bayern Munich.
— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) April 23, 2019
Rodrigo Moreno is suspended for Valencia, after seeing red in the 2-1 victory at Real Betis on Sunday.
The Bats will also miss Geoffrey Kondogbia and Denis Cheryshev, while Jaume Domenech and Cristiano Piccini are doubts with muscle problems and concussion respectively.
What did the managers say
Diego Simeone was full of praise for Valencia’s team, saying they have a group of players capable of fighting for the top spots in La Liga.
“Valencia have assembled a squad that is able to fight for the top spots in the Spanish league. They haven’t been lucky in front of goal, that’s why at the beginning of the season they drew several matches, but they didn’t lose many and they’ve always competed very well
“I think what they are doing in this final part of the season is what the club had imagined with the squad that they have,” Simeone said via the Atletico Madrid official website.
“I am not surprised at all to see them grow in the way that they’re growing, because they are a reliable and well-organized team, with clear ideas and many good players.
Valencia manager Marcelino does not believe the game against Atletico Madrid will be decisive in the race for a top-four finish.
“We don’t believe that it’s decisive, but it will be a huge result in our favor if we win,” he said via Valencia’s official website.
💭 ¡Buenas noches, afición!
— Valencia CF 🦇💯 (@valenciacf) April 23, 2019
“Now that we’ve beaten Betis, this game isn’t going to be decisive, but with so few games left, we are going to try with everything we have to win at the Wanda Metropolitano. That would be a big step forward, but not decisive.
“Atletico Madrid are a great side, and they have everything: Great players, a playing style that has been successful for many years, a lot of experience, the capacity to provide the individual ability for the collective benefit, a great coach… they are an example for us to look at.”
The history books are on Atletico Madrid’s side, as Los Colchoneros are unbeaten in their last eight matches against Valencia, noting five wins and three draws in the process.
They have been beaten only once in the last 15 home games against the Bats, winning 10 of them.
Valencia have suffered only one defeat in the last 22 games across all competitions, reaching the Europa League semi-finals and the Copa del Rey Final.
Real Madrid is the only team that has managed to beat Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium this season.
Diego Simeone’s boys have won 18 of the 22 games they’ve played at home during the 2018-19 campaign so far.