Soccer Betting News - SA's Leading Soccer Betting Newspaper: Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid Preview

Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid Preview


A game of varying identities and pressures, a real meeting of the minds of these two managers will always inevitably produce something special (and goals have nothing to do with it!).

I would say the pressure is on Atletico, but that would suggest Villarreal do not have any Top four aspirations…nothing would be further from the truth.

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Spanish La Liga
Sunday 9 January
Estadio de la Ceramica

To Win
Villarreal 37/20
Draw 22/10
Atletico Madrid 31/20


Villarreal would have wanted to continue their brilliant run into 2022 – and they have done just that! They are now unbeaten in six straight games, with a combined score line of 25 – 6. Attacking football has always been present at Villarreal, but the swagger and ease with which they are getting through fixtures is certainly a bonus.

Unai Emery is a classy manager. He’ll know that this will not be an easy game and that Atletico will want to make it a dogfight as early as possible. However, the Yellow Submarine are playing at home, they simply must dictate the flow of the game and I would even go as far as to say the earlier they can stretch the game, the better.

Villarreal, although in eighth place, are certainly not out of the Champions League picture. They are just four points from Atletico in fourth, but more so, they are playing a brand of football that suggests they will soon hunt down the likes of Rayo Vallecano and Barcelona.

If Villarreal come into this game knowing they can win, showing little regard for their opposition and seek to play their usual forthright style – they win for me. Atletico will play as though they have more to lose and the longer the game goes on the more pressure builds on Diego Simeone’s men and inevitably propels Villarreal.

It’s a gorgeous game of football to add to what 2022 has already offered up, and it’s a chess match either way.

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Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid desperately need to find some degree of form. Since losing to Real Madrid early on in December, they have since gone on to lose to Sevilla and (rather surprisingly) to Granada. It is the first time Atleti have lost three straight games since 2014, but now really isn’t the time to be celebrating these small stats, not for us or them!

The win against Rayo Vallecano was exceptional, Diego Simeone’s troops absolutely dominated their visitors. It was almost as though Atletico were playing like the wounded animal they seem to be. Their defensive structure was kept intact for the entire 90 minutes, they defended with tenacity and yet still registered 15 shots on target and kept over 50% of the game’s possession.

The very best teams in the world are those who can defend with quality and not have it adversely affect their impotence in front of goal…Atletico are usually that team and Diego Simeone is certainly that manager.

It doesn’t always look pretty, it’s not always going to shoot the lights out and make the highlight reel every time either, but it’s certainly effective. I think Atletico know they are starting to put themselves in a corner, it’s the turn of the year and before you know it, they might find they have their backs up against the wall if something doesn’t change.

The thing is, I think that is when Atletico are at their scary best. They will know they are going up against a Villarreal side who are unbeaten in their last five games, playing attacking football. This should be an absolutely smashing game of Spanish club football.

Prediction: Draw/Atletico Madrid + BTTS (29/20)

There is a reason El Cholo is Cholo. The ability to get a team to buy-in to the idea and mentality of ‘us against them’ is a craft – and there are few better than Simeone. Atletico have the team to win this game, and they have the patience to grind results out should they need to.

For me however, Villarreal are good enough to score and ask questions of Atletico early on. The ‘must-win’ nuance falls squarely on the shoulders of the visitors, and I think that brings with it an added intensity on their game in the final third. Atletico on the Win/Draw Double Chance and Both Teams To Score is the bet for me here.

Written by Ryan Liberty