Moyes’ in-form Sociedad prepare for tough away test at Atletico
All the pressure is on defending La Liga champions Atletico Madrid (odds-on favourites at 2/7 with Coral for victory) ahead of them hosting Real Sociedad (7/1), as their Champions League spot for next season is not yet assured.
The Basque outfit have already beaten Atleti this term, although it was just before David Moyes’ tenure started, so will need to be wary not to slip up again, particularly as the Scot has lost just one of his last eight in the league.
Atletico have suffered only one defeat in that time too, but have drawn three of their previous five, which has put them nine points behind leaders Barcelona and only four above fifth-placed Sevilla.
But the capital club beat basement side Cordoba 2-0 at the weekend and, prior to that game, boss Diego Simeone had some inspiring words for his team. “We are very aware that we play with the shirt of Atletico Madrid,” he said.
“There are ten finals ahead of us in the league. Words matter little at this stage of the season.”
“Valencia and Sevilla have improved tremendously,” the Argentine added. “Villarreal are still looking up the table. This is good for competition in the league and hopefully it stays that way.”
Meanwhile, on the upcoming clash, he said about his players: “In the last game, against Real Sociedad, they competed very well despite being reduced to ten men, and they played so until the end of the match. I can’t imagine any other situation that shows a competitive team, that fights and is competitive.”
The main man to help Atleti to a crucial win will be prolific forward Antoine Griezmann, who fired in his 18th goal of the season in all competitions against Cordoba. The Frenchman is odds-on at 10/11 to net anytime again, and 16/5 to score first.
Former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, Moyes’ old nemesis while the Scot was at Everton, will be hoping to continue his impressive return to his home club too, and is 7/2 to strike last.
For the visitors, forwards Carlos Vela and Imanol Agirretxe were on target for Sociedad last time, and they are tempting 4/1 and 7/2 shouts respectively in the anytime market.
Moyes’ men have won three of their last four in La Liga to take them up to 10th in the table, and are now only two points behind eighth place. However, they drew at the weekend with Malaga, and a share of the spoils (7/2) at the Vicente Calderon would be a great result too.