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Atl. Madrid vs Elche Preview
A Madrid derby defeat last weekend was more bitter than ever after Atlético Madrid’s city-rivals Real ended Atléti’s unbeaten club-record La Liga (LL) run. Still despite that 2-0 loss, Atlético’s defence remains the strongest across Europe’s top five divisions after conceding an average of just 0.36 goals per game, helping the Madrid outfit to secure a clean sheet in six of their eight LL wins this season.
An unbeaten LL run stretching back over a year still exists at home though (W13, D4), and includes five wins (from a possible five games) against sides promoted to the top-flight within the last two seasons – four of which saw Atlético win despite a -1 handicap. Expect more of the same here considering Atlético have won 11 straight top-flight home H2Hs, nine despite a -1 handicap.
Elche journeyed to Atlético for the first time nearly 61 years ago to the day, falling to a 5-1 defeat on December 20th 1959 – twenty top-flight away H2Hs since and they’re still searching for a first victory at Atlético (D3, L18). To their credit they’ve been hard to break down this season, losing just three LL games so far (W3, D5, L3), but a joint-league low tally of nine goals scored (0.82 per match on average) isn’t likely to give Atlético nightmares in the run up to this match.
The visitors shouldn’t be daunted though after starting every LL road trip this season as an outsider, but still managing to achieve an 80% unbeaten rate (W2, D2, L1) – one of the division’s best as an away underdog.
Players to watch:
Luis Suárez has scored four goals – all after HT – across Atlético’s home wins this season. Josan’s last strike also arrived in the second half, as he netted Elche’s consolation goal in their only LL away defeat.
Atlético haven’t conceded before the 85th minute in 11 straight LL home matches.
Will not play
Grbic I.(Illness) Carrillo G.(Knee Injury)
Herrera H.(Muscle Injury)
Referee: Fernandez J. (Esp),
Venue: Wanda Metropolitano (Madrid)