Sports Mole previews Wednesday’s La Liga clash between Atletico Madrid and Levante, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Diego Simeone‘s side will enter the contest off the back of a 4-3 win over Getafe on Saturday, while Levante were also involved in a high-scoring contest at the weekend, losing 4-2 to Real Betis.
Atletico’s 4-2 loss to Barcelona on February 6 had seen the champions drop out of the top four in La Liga, but Simeone’s team managed to return to winning ways on Saturday, coming out on top in a seven-goal thriller with Getafe at Wanda Metropolitano.
The home side actually trailed 3-2 in the latter stages of the first period, but Angel Correa‘s second of the match levelled the scores at 3-3 heading into the interval before Mario Hermoso came off the bench to net an 89th-minute winner for the reigning champions.
Atletico are not in the title race this season, sitting 15 points behind leaders Real Madrid, but they are level on points with fourth-placed Barcelona, so a draw or a victory in this match would see them return to fourth spot in the table, while Real Betis are only four points ahead of them in third.
The Red and Whites now have back-to-back league games against Levante and Osasuna before hosting Manchester United for the first leg of their last-16 Champions League contest on February 23.
Simeone’s side have been strong at home in La Liga again this term, picking up 24 points from their 11 matches, suffering just one defeat in the process, while Levante have the worst away record, collecting just two points from 11 games, which is a worrying record ahead of this contest.
Levante scored twice against Real Betis in Sunday’s league encounter, but it was not enough for the strugglers to get anything from the match, with the visitors running out 4-2 winners in Valencia.
The Frogs have picked up just 11 points from their 23 league matches this season, which has left them rooted to the bottom of the division, some 12 points from the safety of 17th position.
Levante have finished 15th, 15th, 12th and 14th in their last four campaigns at this level but now appear destined to drop back into the Segunda Division for the 2022-23 campaign.
Alessio Lisci‘s side have scored 23 league goals this season, which is far from a disastrous total, but they have conceded 50, which is at least 11 more than any other side in Spain’s top flight this term.
Levante are actually unbeaten in their last three La Liga matches against Atletico, though, and recorded a surprise 2-0 victory when they travelled to Wanda Metropolitano for the corresponding match last term.
Atletico Madrid La Liga form:
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):
Levante La Liga form:
Felipe is also out following his red card against Getafe, so Hermoso is expected to return to the back four, while Simeone could freshen his midfield by introducing Rodrigo De Paul for Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Joao Felix is also in contention to start and could potentially come in for Luis Suarez if Simeone decides to protect the fitness of the Uruguay international ahead of the Champions League clash with Man United.
Meanwhile, Jose Campana, Sergio Postigo and Shkodran Mustafi remain on the treatment table for the strugglers, who should again select Dani Gomez at centre-forward following his two goals against Real Betis.
Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Llorente, Savic, Hermoso, Reinildo; Correa, Koke, De Paul, Lemar; Cunha, L Suarez
Levante possible starting lineup:
Cardenas; Rober, Duarte, Caceres; Miramon, Malsa, Melero, Son; Morales, D Gomez, De Frutos
We say: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Levante
At home to bottom of the league, Atletico are rightly the favourites, but Simeone’s side have had a difficult season. Levante have goals in their side, and we fancy them to find the back of the net in Madrid, but Atletico should have enough to secure all three points, which would move them to within a point of third-placed Real Betis on the same number of matches (24).