By 90Min
March 17, 2018

Atletico Madrid travel to Estadio de la Cerámica to take on Villarreal in La Liga on Sunday. 

Both teams are fighting towards the top of the league, with Villarreal in 6th place, 20 points behind second placed Atletico. 

Atletico are having a brilliant domestic season, having only lost 2 games all season - both by one goal to nil. Despite this, they are still 8 points adrift of leaders Barcelona, and it will take a monumental effort to overhaul the 2016 Champions. 

Meanwhile, Villarreal have recorded just 2 wins in their last seven games, losing 4, and were knocked out of the Europa League by Lyon during the round of 32. 

The last meeting between the two clubs ended in a 1-1 draw. Here is everything that you need to know about the La Liga clash. 


Classic Encounter


Villarreal 4-4 Atletico Madrid (October 2008)

AFP/GettyImages

Who doesn't love a high scoring draw? And this is exactly what this encounter delivered. 

Atletico took an early lead when Simao scored in the first minute. Diego Forlan doubled Atleti's lead in the 22nd minute, and it looked like it would be a routine win for the team in 2nd place. 

That was until Éver Banega was shown a straight red for a reckless tackle in the 37th minute, meaning that Atletico would have to defend their lead with 10 men. 


Half time 0-0

After the break Villarreal took advantage of the extra man when goals from 

    Marcos Senna (48') Joseba Llorente (51') and Gonzalo Rodríguez (58') put them into a 3-2 lead. And Villarreal would have thought that they had wrapped up the three points when 

      Giuseppe Rossi gave them a 2 goal lead in the 68th minute. 

      DIEGO TUSON/GettyImages

      But Atletico had other ideas, and fought back with two goals in the last 10 minutes to grab an unlikely point. Simao got his second goal of the game on 83 minutes to half the deficit, before Raúl García scored in the 85th to complete the comeback. 

      8 goals and a red card, what more can you ask for? 


      Key Battle

      Antoine Griezmann vs Álvaro González & Daniele Bonera

      Un premio del equipo y de la afición 🤙🏼🤙🏼

      A post shared by Antoine Griezmann (@antogriezmann) on


      As with most Atletico games, how opposition defenders deal with the threat of Antoine Griezmann could determine the outcome of the game. 

      Griezmann has scored 21 goals in 36 games so far this season, and is one of the hottest strikers in Europe. With Diego Costa out injured for the next few weeks, more emphasis will now be put on Griezmann to score the goals, but it is unlikely that he will shy away from the responsibility. 

      Volveremos a intentarlo, a levantarse!!! 💛💪🏼

      A post shared by Álvaro González (@alvarogonzalez_) on

      He will come up against Álvaro González and Daniele Bonera who have kept 2 clean sheets in their last 2 games.


      Team News

      Diego Simeone will be without Griezmann's strike partner Diego Costa for the trip after being taken off in the second half against Celta Vigoafter taking a blow to the ankle. The manager will also be missing striker Kevin Gameiro who also picked up an injury during the game, leaving Simeone short on attacking options. 


      Stefan Savic is back in training after suffering a thigh injury, but is unlikely to be risked in this game. 

      Спасибо Господи за все 🙏🇷🇺

      A post shared by Denis Cheryshev (@cheryshev90) on

      Winger Denis Cheryshev could return for Villarreal, after missing the last game against Las Palmas through illness. But they will be without Javi Fuego and Bruno Soriano due to ongoing and long-term injuries. 


      Prediction

      Atletico are going really well in the league so far this season, and it is hard to see past the Madrid club taking all 3 points home. Although Villarreal will be a tough test for Simeone's men. 

      Atletico's defensive solidity will help them get past the fact that they are missing some important players, but Thursday's Europa League encounter could take it out of them. 

      Prediction: Villarreal 0-2 Atletico 


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      HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
      OUT
      HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
      IN
      Eagle (-2)
      Birdie (-1)
      Bogey (+1)
      Double Bogey (+2)