Atletico Madrid will be looking to make it four straight La Liga victories when they continue their 2020-21 campaign away to Alaves on Sunday afternoon.

Diego Simeone‘s side are currently top of the table with two games in hand, while Alaves have made a solid start to the campaign, picking up 18 points from 16 matches to occupy 13th position.


Match preview

Joselu celebrates scoring for Deportivo Alaves against Real Madrid in La Liga on November 28, 2020© Reuters

Alaves are actually operating in their fifth straight season at this level of football, but they only just stayed up last term, finishing 16th, three points clear of the relegation zone.

El Glorioso will be relatively pleased with their start to the 2020-21 campaign, winning four, drawing six and losing six of their 16 matches to collect 18 points, which is enough for 13th spot in the table.

The Basque side are just three points clear of the bottom three but only one point off ninth-placed Cadiz, which is an indication of how the division stands heading into the next set of fixtures.

Pablo Machin‘s side have only lost two of their eight home league matches this season and picked up a point against Atletico in the corresponding match during the 2019-20 campaign, meaning that they will enter the contest in a relatively confident mood.

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone pictured in November 2020© Reuters

Atletico, meanwhile, will enter this weekend’s contest off the back of a 1-0 win over Getafe on Wednesday night, with Luis Suarez scoring the only goal of the match in the 20th minute.

Simeone’s side have beaten Elche, Real Sociedad and now Getafe in the league since losing 2-0 at Real Madrid on December 12, and the Red and Whites are in a very strong position in the table.

Real Madrid are second and would actually go one point above Atletico with a victory over Celta Vigo on Saturday night, but the latter would then have three games in hand over their bitter rivals.

Indeed, a record of 11 wins, two draws and one defeat from 14 matches has left Simeone’s team at the summit, two points clear of second-placed Real Madrid with two matches in hand.

Barcelona are 10 points off the top and have played a game more, meanwhile, meaning that it would take some collapse from the current leaders to allow Ronald Koeman‘s side to join the race at this stage.

Alaves La Liga form: WDLLWD
Alaves form (all competitions): DLWLWD

Atletico Madrid La Liga form: WWLWWW
Atletico Madrid form (all competitions): WLWWWW


Team News

Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier in action with Real Betis' Cristian Tello in La Liga on October 24, 2020© Reuters

Alaves will be without the services of experienced midfielder Tomas Pina on Sunday through suspension due to the booking that he picked up in the 1-1 draw with Osasuna on Thursday.

Rodrigo Battaglia will be back from a ban of his own, however, and should take Pina’s spot in the side.

Rodrigo Ely and Pere Pons remain on the sidelines through injury, but Machin’s team did not pick up any fresh fitness concerns during the clash on December 31.

There is expected to be a change in the final third of the field, though, with Lucas Perez likely to replace Deyverson, who was withdrawn at the interval last time out.

As for Atletico, Hector Herrera and Ivo Grbic remain unavailable for selection through injury and coronavirus respectively, while Kieran Trippier will again be absent as he serves an FA suspension.

Trippier’s absence should see Sime Vrsaljko earn another start as the right-sided wing-back, while Suarez is likely to again be joined in the final third of the field by Joao Felix.

There will have to be a change at the back as Stefan Savic is suspended due to the yellow card that he picked up against Getafe, with Jose Gimenez in line to come into the side.

Saul Niguez is pushing for a spot in the middle of the park, meanwhile, and the Spaniard could get the nod over Thomas Lemar to start alongside Koke and Marcos Llorente.

Alaves possible starting lineup:
Pacheco; Navarro, Laguardia, Lejeune, Duarte; Mendez, Battaglia, M Garcia, Rioja; Joselu, Perez

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Gimenez, Felipe, Hermoso; Vrsaljko, Llorente, Koke, Saul, Carrasco; Felix, L Suarez


SM words green background

We say: Alaves 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Alaves are certainly capable of making it a difficult 90 minutes for Simeone’s side, but we are finding it very difficult to back against the leaders, who are very much on the title charge. Atletico ran out 2-0 winners in their last away match against Sociedad, and we are predicting the same scoreline in this contest.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data


ID:428781:cQxSource: | This article originally belongs to Sportsmole.co.uk

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