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Atletico Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano preview, stats, team news and prediction

Atletico Madrid will host 13th-placed Rayo Vallecano on matchday 23 of Laliga at the Civitas Metropolitan Stadium. Here is a match preview.

Atletico Madrid defender Nahuel Molina

Atletico Madrid will host 13th-placed Rayo Vallecano on matchday 23 of Laliga at the Civitas Metropolitan Stadium.

Atletico boast a formidable home record, having triumphed in nine of their last ten home fixtures. Their recent 2-0 victory over Valencia showcased their prowess, marking their second consecutive league win. Diego Simeone’s men aim to extend their winning streak to three as they welcome struggling Rayo in midweek and fans with Atletico Madrid tickets are confident of another victory.

Rayo Vallecan’s resilient goalless draw against Real Sociedad away from home was a commendable response following their 2-0 defeat to Las Palmas at home in La Liga. Positioned 13th with 24 points, Rayo has secured only one win in their last five league outings. As they journey to Madrid, they enter the encounter as underdogs against Atletico, who currently sit 3rd in the league standings with 44 points.

Since their defeat to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final, Atletico Madrid has been on a positive streak of results. It all started with a thrilling 4-2 extra-time triumph over Los Blancos in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

Following that, Atletico managed to edge past Granada in La Liga, and then they secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Sevilla to advance to the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

Diego Simeone’s side continued their winning ways in Sunday’s home encounter against Valencia, clinching a 2-0 victory with goals from Samuel Lino and Memphis Depay. This victory propelled Atleti to third position in the league standings, holding a two-point advantage over fifth-placed Athletic Club.

With another opportunity to extend their lead on Wednesday, Atletico gear up for their third encounter with Real Madrid in a month, as they head to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid will enter their midweek clash with confidence, having secured victory in 20 of their last 22 home league games (with 2 draws) since their 1-0 loss to Barcelona in January 2022.

Moreover, Atletico boast an impressive record against Rayo, having emerged victorious in 12 of their last 15 encounters. Their most recent meeting resulted in a dominant 7-0 triumph for Atletico in August.

On the other hand, Rayo head into Wednesday’s fixture without a win in their last three matches since their extra-time victory over Huesca in the third round of the Copa del Rey. Following their cup exit at the hands of Girona, Rayo suffered a 2-0 defeat at home to Las Palmas in La Liga.

Rayo’s inability to secure a win over the weekend notwithstanding, they managed to secure a valuable point from a challenging away fixture against Sociedad.

Nevertheless, Saturday’s goalless draw extended their streak of matches without scoring to 10 out of 21 league games. Additionally, Francisco Rodriguez’s side ranks as the second-lowest scoring team in La Liga, having only netted 18 goals so far this season.

Despite their struggles in front of goal, Rayo find themselves in 12th place, enjoying an eight-point cushion above the relegation zone. This positions them well to prolong their tenure in the top flight for a fourth consecutive season.

As they prepare to face Atletico on Wednesday, Rayo understand the daunting task ahead. They aim to secure their first victory against Atletico since February 2013 and their first away league win over Atletico since their 2-0 triumph in August 1999.

Match details 

Location: Madrid, Spain

Stadium: Civitas Metropolitano

Date: Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Kick-off time: 20:00 UTC, 3:00 PM ET

Referee: Cesar Soto Grado

MATCH STATS AND HEAD-TO-HEAD

Atletico hold a significant advantage in the historical record against Rayo Vallecano, clinching 18 wins out of the last 29 encounters. Rayo, on the other hand, have managed only three wins during this period, with eight matches ending in draws.

•Rayo Vallecano have faced a challenging run in La Liga, remaining winless in 10 out of their last 11 matches, comprising five losses and five draws since late October.

• Atletico remain unbeaten at home in La Liga, boasting the league’s best home record with 31 points gathered from 11 matches. They have won nine of their last ten home games across all competitions.

•Atletico’s offensive prowess is evident, scoring an average of 2.0 goals per game, ranking fourth in La Liga. Conversely, Rayo struggle to find the net, scoring only 0.9 goals per match, placing them 19th in the league.

•Atletico maintain a solid defensive record, conceding just 1.1 goals per game, which ranks them fifth in the league. In contrast, Rayo face defensive challenges, conceding an average of 1.2 goals per match, placing them eighth in the league.

•Atletico boast a commendable goal differential of +19, ranking third in the league, while Rayo Vallecano lags with a goal differential of -8, placing them 14th. In terms of shots taken and faced, Atletico and Rayo rank 10th in shots taken and faced, respectively.

•Rayo face a daunting task as they seek their first head-to-head win against Atletico Madrid since February 2013 and their first away league victory over Los Colchoneros since August 1999.

•Atletico’s dominance at home is evident in their impressive record of 20 wins out of their last 22 home league games since January 2022, with only two draws.

TEAM NEWS

The home side, Atletico Madrid, continue to face absence issues with defender Cesar Azpilicueta and midfielder Thomas Lemar, both nursing knee and Achilles injuries, respectively.

Adding to their woes, center-back Jose Maria Gimenez faces a sideline stint of two to three weeks after sustaining a muscle injury during Sunday’s victory over Valencia.

There’s also a minor concern surrounding forward Alvaro Morata, who suffered a knock over the weekend. Simeone might opt not to risk Morata against Rayo, considering Atletico’s forthcoming derby clash with Real Madrid on Sunday.

Given the demanding schedule, Simeone is anticipated to implement several changes to the lineup. Players like Mario Hermoso, Alex Witsel, Marcos Llorente, and Rodrigo Riquelme are all contenders for starting positions in Wednesday’s match.

Francisco Rodriguez faces absence concerns in his team with Diego Mendez sidelined due to injury, while Pathe Ciss and Bebe are away on international duty.

In midfield, Kike Perez is slated to step in for Unai Lopez, who faces a one-match suspension after accumulating his fifth yellow card of the season in the previous match.

Meanwhile, Alvaro Garcia returns to the squad following a one-match ban and is expected to feature on the left flank against Atletico Madrid.

PREDICTED STARTING LINEUPS

Atletico Madrid predicted starting lineup:

Oblak; Savic, Witsel, Hermoso; Llorente, De Paul, Koke, Niguez, Riquelme; Griezmann, Depay

Rayo Vallecano predicted starting lineup:

Dimitrievski; Balliu, Lejeune, Hernandez, Espino; Valentin, Perez; Palazon, Trejo, Garcia; Camello

PREDICTION

Rayo Vallecano have managed to gather 16 points out of their total 24 from their away fixtures, demonstrating their capacity to perform outside their home ground. However, they are poised to encounter a formidable challenge against Atletico, who have emerged victorious in 10 out of their 11 home games in La Liga this season.

Reviewing the recent performances of both teams, it is anticipated that the upcoming match between Atletico and Rayo will culminate with a limited number of goals. Notably, five of Atletico’s previous ten matches have concluded with fewer than three goals, mirroring the trend seen in eight of Rayo’s last ten matches.

Given these patterns, spectators can expect a match characterized by minimal scoring opportunities at the Civitas Metropolitano.

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