ATLETICO MADRID VS ESPANYOL PREDICTIONS, BETTING TIPS AND MATCH PREVIEWS
Atletico Madrid overcame Arsenal on Thursday to progress into another European final. While for the Gunners the main target was a route back into the Champions League, Diego Simeone’s men crave silverware, having not lifted a trophy since 2014. They will be thinking about how best to prepare for that match already but they also have an undefeated league record at the Wanda Metropolitano to defend and that shouldn’t be troubled here.
Like any team that moves into a new stadium, the first season is key in establishing it as a difficult place for opponents to go. Atleti have largely done that and if they can go the whole season unbeaten at home in La Liga, it would certainly be mission accomplished in that sense.
Espanyol have caused upsets this season though. They’ve beaten all of Spain’s so-called ‘big three’ and were 1-0 winners in the reverse fixture against Atleti in Barcelona. However all of those shock successes came at home and overall they’ve had a poor campaign, which somewhat predictably led to the dismissal of Quique Sánchez Flores.
Under caretaker management, they’ve taken four points from two games since he left. However their 1-1 draw at home to a woeful Las Palmas side last weekend won’t exactly have struck fear into the hearts of Atleti’s players. They average just 0.83 goals per game this term and only two teams in La Liga have worse records. Therefore, it’s just hard to see how they will break down this excellent Atletico Madrid defence.
Simeone’s men are in the midst of a stunning run of home form, where they’ve been almost impossible to break down. Atleti have kept a ridiculous 12 consecutive home clean sheets in all competitions. That equates to over 1000 minutes of football spread over more than three months and they’ve won 11 of those games. Up against a poor Espanyol side, that offers little creative threat, backing Atletico Madrid to Win to Nil is surely the way to go.
Atleti themselves haven’t been hugely prolific either though. Their average of 1.57 goals per game is only the 6th best in La Liga. 71% of their home games have produced under 2.5 goals and the same goes for 71% of Espanyol matches this term. Therefore backing Atleti & Under 2.5 Goals also looks good.
With Diego Costa and Angel Correa suspended, any rotation is not likely to see Antoine Griezmann rested. After a slow start, the Frenchman is having another fine season with a goal every 128 minutes in La Liga and is by far and away the most likely scorer here, so backing Griezmann to score anytime could be worth a punt.