4. Atletico end winless run against Villarreal
Villarreal have become something of a bogey team for Atletico Madrid. Atleti haven’t beaten them since 2015. Both teams started the season slowly yet Diego Simeone appears to have solved Atleti’s early issues, while Javier Calleja appears to be part of the problem for El Submarino Amarillo. Calleja’s use of a 4-4-2 and a 4-4-2 diamond is stifling the talented midfield they have while they also lack the defensive nous to grind out games.
Diego Costa is still having issues in front of goal, and hasn’t scored in his last 16 league matches, but the rest of the team is clicking into gear with Thomas Lemar taking on a significant amount of attacking responsibility after joining in the summer.
Atletico dropped seven points in their first four games as the summer signings adjusted to Simeone’s defensive approach, while regulars such as Diego Godin were out of form. A case can certainly be made that they should be more ambitious against weaker sides and kill games off rather than providing a route back into the game if they lack their usual solidity. However, they’re back to their nullifying best with five wins in six and only two goals conceded, including the draw against Real Madrid.
Villarreal’s home record is nothing to be feared, as they’ve only picked up one point from four games. Los Colchoneros can take full advantage by coming away with three points and making up ground on one or both of the teams above them, based on the result of their match.