Atletico Madrid resumes their La Liga campaign as they welcome Elche to Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday night. Diego Simeone’s side sits in the fifth position and will face the 20th-placed Elche side, who will be looking to turn their luck around.

Atletico Madrid comes off a lean performance streak, as they have only one win in the last five games. Simeone’s side will take confidence from the performance his players put out at the World Cup. Players like Antoine Griezmann and Rodrigo De Paul played a huge role and returned to their best form. Forwards Alvaro Morata and Joao Felix also looked at the situation in Qatar and will be looking to replicate the same format domestically as well.

Elche, on the other hand, is struggling at the bottom of the table with just four points from 14 matches. They are still winless and are eight points away from 17th-placed Celta Vigo. Manager Jorge Almirón will be urging his players to put their best foot forward to avoid relegation.

We now look at some stats that could predict the outcome of the match.

How the teams have performed

La Liga preview: Atletico Madrid vs Elche

Atletico had a good start but has recently slipped into a rut. With only one win in the last five matches, Diego Simeone and his team will be looking for an improved performance on Thursday. The team has scored 24 and conceded 14 goals. They have developed an unwanted trend of conceding the first goal, and it will be the last thing Simeone wants as the season restarts. We can observe from the visual that Atletico Madrid is ranked very low in high pressing, and even though Simeone likes a defensive approach, the lack of press has haunted them. Atletico is ranked high in goals per 90 minutes and is the team with the third-most goals this season. They would be looking to increase the goal difference in the second half of the season.

La Liga preview: Atletico Madrid vs Elche

Elche, sitting at the bottom, are in a puddle of their own making. They haven’t won a single match this season and have just four points from 14 matches. Elche have struggled in every department and have scored just ten goals while conceding 31. Jorge Almiron, their third coach of the season, will be urging his players to show more character and responsibility as they travel to Madrid. We can observe from the visual that Elche is ranked very low in goals per 90, which could be a direct consequence of their lack of shots.

Contrasting attacks

La Liga preview: Atletico Madrid vs Elche

La Liga preview: Atletico Madrid vs Elche

The two visuals above show the contrast in the attacks built by both teams. While Atletico Madrid have managed to be at the top of the list for attacks, Simeone will be urging the team to improve their efficiency. Atletico Madrid launches an average of 26.64 positional attacks, with just 27.4% of them leading to shots, while Elche launches an average of 22.43 positional attacks, with a mere 17.3% of them leading to shots. Both teams will be looking to improve their efficiency in positional attacks. Moving to counter-attacks, Atletico Madrid makes around 1.36 counter-attacks per game, with 63.2% of them leading to shots, while Elche makes around 1.07 counter-attacks per game, with 53.3% of them leading to shots.

While the percentage of attacks leading to shots is not much different, the shots leading to goals are as different as sky and earth.

Low recovery rate in the opposition half

La Liga preview: Atletico Madrid vs Elche

As both teams are not good at pressing high and recovering possession in the attacking half, they both sit at the bottom of the above-given list. Atletico Madrid, with 9 recoveries per game in the opposition half, sits some places above Elche on the list. Atletico Madrid makes around 78.43 recoveries per game, and Elche makes around 70.36 recoveries per game. They both, even though they like to sit back, should be looking to recover the ball more often in the attacking half.

Key Players

La Liga preview: Atletico Madrid vs Elche

Antoine Griezmann, who had a stellar World Cup in Qatar, will be looking to continue his form in La Liga as well. Griezmann, who took on a new role as a creative playmaker, was the heart of the French national team and created the most number of chances at the World Cup. He had two assists in the tournament and was one of their best players. With Griezmann proving himself in a new role at the biggest of stages, it will be interesting to see if Simeone makes a similar shift in position for the 31-year-old.

La Liga preview: Atletico Madrid vs Elche

With very little to be proud of this season, Pere Milla is one of the bright spots in the Elche camp. The 30-year-old has three goals to his name, with two of them coming from open play and one from a spot kick. He has attempted nine shots this season, with three on target. Elche will be hoping Milla produces a great display at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Team News

Atletico Madrid will have a large number of players available, including World Cup winners Rodrigo De Paul, Nahuel Molina, and runners-up Antoine Griezmann. Alvaro Morata and Joao Felix should also be available for their first match after the World Cup.

As for Elche, Jony Alamo and John Donald will miss the clash due to injuries. Alex Collado and Pere Milla are expected to start the match.

As the two teams who sit far apart in the table take on each other at the Wanda Metropolitano on Thursday, both managers will be hoping to restart their campaign with a win. Both of them will be looking for the same result—a win—but for different reasons. It is a chance for Atletico Madrid to finish in the top four and qualify for European competition, while it is a chance for Elche to avoid relegation.

Visuals via TFA data viz engine