Atletico Madrid v Elche
Atletico Madrid Summary
Fifth-placed Atletico Madrid has fallen away from leaders Barcelona, but the morale and confidence remain positive, and they are determined to push for the league title this season.
Atlético de Madrid is missing a handful of players and a couple of them are important starters for the home game with Elche. Molina, Correa, and De Paul all remain in South America celebrating their World Cup success.
Further weakening the midfield area was the late scratch of Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel, forcing starts for lesser used and lesser creative men like Kondogbia and Barrios.
Simeone can however call on Croatian star Ivo Grbic their highly rated backup keeper. He returned to training on Monday in time to take a seat on the bench.
Below is the predicted XI from the Spanish press which is a strong side despite the international absentees. The subs bench however lacks options as a result. Oblak; Llorente, Giménez, Savic, Hermoso, Carrasco; Lemar, Kondogbia, Barrios; Griezmann, Joao Félix.
Bottom club Elche parted ways with their manager after their loss to Girona before the World Cup break, and the meeting with Atletico will see new coach Pablo Machin take charge for the first time in the league.
With the managerial change and ample time to prepare, the commitment and focus levels should be much improved for the Elche, whose realistic hope for this match will be to get a draw.
Pablo Machin guided his new club through a comfortable 3-0 cup win last weekend, but the much-needed victory came at a cost, with important winger Ferrandez joining a growing injury list. Machín, therefore, leads his team significantly weakened to the contest in the capital. Missing John Chetauya and Josan Ferrandez for certain, while Lirola is a huge Doubt. Nico Fernández returned to training on boxing day but is far from match sharp.
Looking at the 1×2 market first, where the overwhelming favourite for this game is Atletico Madrid to get a win @ 1.25. For punters that do not have faith in the host, the draw can be backed @ 6.00 and a shock away win would pay @ 14.
Moving onto the Asian handicap market for this contest where Atletico begin -1.75 @ 2.04. Given gap between sides, punters could have some confidence that Atletico can win by at least a two-goal margin which would see at least a half win. However, Elche +1.75 @ 1.83 have the boost of a new boss making his debut plus the host have not won by a multi goal margin in their last seven games.
Looking at The Under/Over market last of all where the line is set at 2.75. One may feel backing the Over @ 1.94 is like betting Atletico -1.75, as Elche will struggle to score at the Wanda Metropolitano. Under is @ 1.88, it is likely Elche play very defensively and try to frustrate, this could be the way to go as Atletico would settle for a 2-0 win.