Atletico Madrid will travel to the Valencian city of Elche to take on Elche in the La Liga encounter at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero on the 12th of May. Atletico Madrid will have the wind blowing in their sails after a massive win over city rivals and new league champions Real Madrid in the Madrid Derby. A win here will all but confirm their place in the top four of La Liga while a victory for Elche would confirm their survival in the top flight.
Before April, hosts Elche had picked up 32 points from their 31 matches in the league this season. That had cost a shadow of doubt on their survival in the Spanish top flight beyond the season and they looked said to be involved in the heated relegation scrap going into the final few matches of the campaign. However, they were able to secure two very important and desperate results in April which have now boosted their chances of survival.
Elche first took on fellow strugglers Mallorca and secured a much needed confidence boosting 3-0 win over them. Johan Mojica and Pedro Bigas found the back of the net while Lee Kang-in of Mallorca scored an own goal in favour of Los Colchoneros.
More importantly, they were also able to take away all three points from what looked to be an extremely difficult trip to Seville as they took on Real Betis. The contest was poised to end in a stalemate. However, Elche had the last laugh as Tete Morente scored the decisive goal of the game in the 82nd minute. Those two victories seem to have revitalised Elche’s season and they have now climbed well clear of the relegation zone.
Francisco’s side now have 39 points from 35 games and are 14th in the league table. They have a seven-point lead over Mallorca in the dangerous red zone. Elche followed up on the impressive couple of victories with a rather commendable 1-1 draw with Osasuna, with Pere Milla securing a desperate point for them six minutes before the end of the stipulated time. However, it was followed by a disappointing trip to Cadiz which resulted in a heavy 3-0 loss.
While there are reasons for the Elche players to be disappointed by their performance over the last weekend, they must not allow their heads to drop. Francisco will be well aware that the recent upturn in form has given them a major head start in their battle to avoid relegation. Following the match against Atletico Madrid, Elche will end the season with fixtures against Celta Vigo and Getafe. Even a single win from these three matches will confirm their presence in Spain’s top flight for the next season.
Elche will be up against an Atletico Madrid side, who are looking to register back to back victories. They came out on top in the all important Madrid Derby last weekend and Diego Simeone will be well aware that another win here could potentially confirm their place in the top four if other results go their way during the midweek round of fixtures.
Last season’s Spanish champions Atletico Madrid begin their title defence in extremely poor fashion. However, they have now put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the Champions League next season, with a strong resurgence in form since January. They also went on a run of six consecutive wins between February and April, which has helped them make headways into the top four.
While it’s true that following that streak of victories, Los Colchoneros struggled for form, as was evident in their shocking defeat to Mallorca. That upset was followed by a win over Espanyol and then a draw against Granada followed by a 2-0 defeat to Athletic Bilbao in San Mames.
Before heading into the Madrid Derby the previous weekend, Atletico Madrid’s gap with Real Betis in the fifth place side was cut down to only three points. They knew that they had to get a positive result at their home at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium and that’s exactly what they ended up achieving. While Real Madrid rotated heavily and rested plenty of key players including Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior, Yannick Carrasco’s goal five minutes before half-time break sealed the contest in their favour.
Atletico Madrid have now picked up 64 points from their 35 matches this season. They have restored their lead over Real Betis back to six points following the Andalusian side’s defeat at the hands of Barcelona. Last season’s champions will now have the opportunity to seal a top four finish, potentially, if they can take all three points from this fixture. However, Diego Simeone’s side must show more consistency, otherwise, the risk of missing out on European football for next season remains.
ECF vs ATM, La Liga 2021/22
Date: 12th May, 2022
Time: 1:00 AM IST
Venue: Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero, Elche
Elche La Liga form:
Elche form (all competitions):
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
Elche wins: 2
Atletico Madrid wins: 10
Elche Team News: Elche will miss the services of attacked Ezequiel Ponce on Wednesday as he was given his marching orders after coming off the bench as a substitute against Cadiz last Saturday. As a result, Francisco might be tempted to start with the same frontline that started against Cadiz. Guido Carillo will lead the line and find support from Pere Milla who has found the back of the net eight times in La Liga so far this season.
Experienced Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore will be looking for a start in midfield and is expected to be at the heart of their creative movements. Meanwhile, Edgar Bedia has pipped Kiko Casilla to be the favourite in between the sticks since the turn of the year and he will be expected to start here once again.
Atletico Madrid Team News: Atletico Madrid will miss the mercurial presence of Joao Felix upfront. The Portuguese remains sidelined with hamstring injury along with Thomas Lemar who is also suffering from the same problem. However, Felix has been getting back on the recovery road and hopes to end the season by returning to first-team action in a couple of weeks’ time.
Atletico Madrid will also be able to count on the defensive duo of Mario Hermoso and Reinildo who served one-game suspensions in the last match due to an accumulation of yellow cards. Diego Simeone will be able to count on Stefan Savic who is will be expected to start at centre back alongside Jose Maria Gimenez and Sime Vrsaljko.
Although Simeone started with Geoffrey Kondogbia and Hector Herrera in central midfield last time around, they will be replaced by Koke and Rodrigo de Paul in the engine room this weekend. Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Angel Correa, Matheus Cunha, and Yannick Carrasco will be battling to start in the frontline against Los Blancos, with Griezmann, Corre, and Carrasco being the favourites to start. The Belgian winger found the back of the net against Real Madrid and is expected to be crucial here as well.
Elche possible starting lineup:
Badia; Barragan, Mascarell, Bigas; Fernandez, Guti, Gumbau, Palacios; Perez, Carrillo, Milla
Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savic, Gimenez, Lodi; Llorente, Koke, De Paul, Carrasco; Correa, Griezmann
The win over league champions, despite the circumstances under which it arrived with Madrid resting and rotating players, will have restored plenty of confidence for Diego Simeone’s side. A result in the Madrid Derby always ends up being bragging rights and Atletico Madrid secured all three points in front of their own fans at the Wanda Metropolitano the last time around.
They will also be the favourites to make it two wins in a row. Diego Simeone has excellent players all over the pitch and they have enough in their arsenal to outgun and outclass Elche, who despite their recent uptick in form, will be the firm underdogs here.