Injury-plagued Atletico seeking to sink top four rival Sevilla
Spanish champions Atletico Madrid are now outsiders at 20/1 with Coral to retain La Liga, with consolidation of third spot appearing a more realistic aim.
With upcoming opponents Sevilla, plus the likes of Valencia and Villarreal in the chasing pack for a Champions League spot, inconsistent Atleti must regain their rhythm quickly and be in prime position to pounce should Real Madrid or Barcelona slip up.
Available at 11/8 to sink the Bathtubs, Diego Simeone’s side are undefeated against Sevilla in their last 10 duels and have emerged triumphant from their last two visits to the Andalusian outfit’s home turf.
The Spanish capital club smashed four past Unai Emery’s side earlier this season and are available at excellent odds of 6/1 to grab three or more goals again.
Top scorers Antoine Griezmann and Mario Mandzukic are 11/2 and 9/2 chances to score first and last respectively, and have struck eight of Atletico’s last 10 goals between them.
Fernando Torres is unlikely to disrupt that potent partnership by stealing a place in the starting XI, but is great value at 15/8 to be on target anytime.
What works in Sevilla’s favour, however, is Atleti’s injury list and poor form on the road. Seven of the Vicente Calderon side’s defeats this season have been away from their passionate home fans, so the Bathtubs are 2/1 favourites to triumph.
The Andalusian side have been in scintillating form on home soil, with seven victories in their last seven showings at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. In six of those outings, the Bathtubs also kept a clean sheet, which makes them a fantastic 4/1 to win to nil again.
Cunning Colombia striker Carlos Bacca is fourth top scorer in the La Liga standings so far this season, joint with Atleti’s Griezmann. The 28-year-old has struck 14 times in the league, so is 6/4 in the anytime market, or 11/2 to grab the opener.
Barcelona loan star Gerard Deulofeu is the Bathtubs’ top assistant, but is 7/2 to graduate from being a supporting artist to the main act and score anytime.
When Atletico are at their best, Simeone’s men are always tough to beat. However, mature performances from top stars will be needed with midfield schemer Koke, fullback Guilherme Siqueira, Turkey international Arda Turan and academy product Saul Niguez all injury doubts.