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Atletico Madrid v Malaga
It’s Atletico Madrid v Malaga on Saturday, May 5. Kick-off at the Estadio Vicente Calderon is at 20:00 GMT.
Atletico Madrid’s push for the top four suffered a minor setback after conceding a draw to the visiting Real Sociedad side (at the same time losing Gabi to a second yellow which means the midfielder cannot play against Malaga). Things got better later in the evening when both Levante and Malaga lost their games respectively, giving hope for a snug top-four finish should things go perfectly right for them in the next two weeks.
Malaga manager Diego Simeone will definitely go for the win their upcoming tie against Malaga – three points will most likely see them within pouncing distance of a Champions League playoff opportunity next season. The only problem Simeone will be wary of against Malaga is the fact that his team tends to concede goals in the last few minutes of the game. In fact 9 of the 16 goals they have conceded at home came in between the 76 to 90th minute mark. Malaga meanwhile likes to leave it late on the road – 8 of their 18 away goals were scored in last 15 minutes of the game. Playing down these two trends, we might be able to witness a game of defensive lapses and late-game heroics.
Malaga’s Camp Nou misery puts them in a precarious situation at the moment. They do have the upper hand in the race for a top-four finish against Levante and Atletico Madrid but only for now. A head-to-head match against chasers Atletico gives Manuel Pellegrini no choice but to win their upcoming game. A draw could be just as useful given that their last fixture is against relegation-bound Gijon.
The loss to Barcelona confirms Los Boquerones’ inability to pull off results when playing away. Only four wins on the road so far, Malaga is surviving their trips by forcing draws where wins look unlikely. Against Atletico Madrid, Malaga might have to endure their woes for one more game as their host has been rock solid at home as of late, only losing on three occasions so far in the season.
Atletico Madrid v Malaga Betting Preview
The two teams in the reverse fixture of this match ended in a scoreless draw at La Rosaleda. Prior to this draw, Malaga has dominated this fixture – three wins in the last four matches. Although dependable at home, Atletico Madrid has not beaten Malaga at the Vicente Calderon since August 2008. It’s a nagging record that could come to haunt them back this time of the season.
Verdict: Atletico Madrid with the slight edge, 2-1.
Tip: Malaga receive a good favour ahead of this game as they are tipped to win the game at 7/2. Given their record at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, an upset is not to be discounted and this punt may prove worthy in the end.
Atletico Madrid’s tendency to score in the second half and concede goals late is something to consider, given that Malaga loves to leave games late. A correct half-time/full-time score line of “Draw 0-0 and Atletico Madrid 2-1” is at 30/1.
All odds are from Bet365.com (£200 FREE BET!).