Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Villarreal – prediction, team news, lineups
In their bid to continue a perfect start to the La Liga season, defending champion Atlético de Madrid will face a tough test on Sunday, hosting Villarreal at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Diego Simeone’s men have already overtaken Celta de Vigo and Elche to move to the top end of the La Liga table, while their visitors are off to a relatively slow start and will be looking for their first league win of the season on Sunday.
With 58 points from their first 23 games of last season, coinciding with difficult campaigns for Barcelona and Real Madrid, Atlético de Madrid seemed poised to sail towards the La Liga title, but a slight drop in form made the battle for the first place it will heat up.
With the pressure built up, Simeone’s men needed to win their last three matches to succeed, and they did what was required, grinding 2-1 wins over Real Sociedad, Osasuna, and Real Valladolid to bring the La Liga trophy to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. for the 11th time, and the first since 2014.
With giants Barcelona and Real Madrid battling it out, Los Colchoneros will enter the new campaign with their sights set on retaining the title, and they got off to a winning start when a double by Ángel Correa secured a narrow 2-1 victory in a tough Away clash with Celta de Vigo.
Correa was back on the record last time, when he scored the winner in a 1-0 win for Simeone’s men, watching them post back-to-back victories to start the season.
With their two main title rivals already losing points, the Madrid side will be eager to continue their strong streak to immediately establish themselves at the top, but they face a difficult test on Sunday.
Villarreal had an impressive campaign overall last time out, as they triumphed in the Europa League with a penalty shootout victory over Manchester United after defeating Red Bull Salzburg, Dynamo Kiev, Dinamo Zagreb, and Arsenal in two games in your way to the end.
However, the seventh place in La Liga may have slightly disappointed Unai Emery, who added a third Europa League to his trophy cabinet, and the Yellow Submarine will be looking to break into the top six this time.
However, they did not get off to an ideal start, as despite dominating much of the game, Granada drew goalless on an opening day.
Emery’s men then traveled to face the newly promoted Espanyol, and a similar game produced an identical result, as the Yellow Submarine took a point again after failing to break the deadlock.
After two rather disappointing results, Villarreal will be looking to cause some surprise on Sunday to put their first league win of the season on the board.
Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Savic, Gimenez, Kondogbia; Llorente, Saul, Koke, De Paul, Lemar; Correa, Carrasco
Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Foyth, Mandi, Albiol, Pedraza; Pino, Trigueros, Capoue, Danjuma; Moreno, Dia