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Atletico Madrid have boosted their chances of a top-four finish in La Liga of late
Sevilla have improved under Jorge Sampaoli but there is still work to be done
Atletico Madrid can get the better of this weekend’s visitors to the Civitas Metropolitano
The odds for Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla have been taken from the FanDuel sportsbook. Make an account and you can get a no sweat first bet worth up to $1000.
Diego Simeone’s side have returned to form and they should prove too strong for their inconsistent opponents this weekend.
Back Atletico Madrid to beat Sevilla and under 2.5 goals. (+220)
Atletico Madrid fans must have feared the worst when their team headed to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu last weekend. The home of Real Madrid has not been a particularly happy hunting ground for Diego Simeone’s side in recent years.
In January, they threw away a 1-0 lead to lose 2-1 to their local rivals in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey. In Spain’s top tier, they have won just one of their last 14 trips across the city to the Bernabeu, where Madrid were hoping to pile the pressure on Barcelona in the La Liga title race.
In the end, Atletico were not able to triumph. But they did at least avoid defeat, drawing 1-1 with Carlo Ancelotti’s side. That was despite significant adversity: Atletico lost their left-back Reinildo to a season-ending injury in the first half, before Angel Correa was shown a red card in the 64th minute.
Despite those setbacks, Atletico took the lead through Jose Gimenez and were just five minutes of normal time away from emerging victorious. But even though Alvaro leveled the scores in the closing stages, Simeone was pleased with both the performance and the result, as his team continue to push for Champions League qualification.
“Everything I see is that it was a beautiful game, we played with strength despite the painful and important injury to Reinildo; we fought back from a sending-off,” the long-serving Atletico boss said in his post-match press conference.
It has been a good few weeks for the Colchoneros, who are now on a seven-match unbeaten run in La Liga. Four of those games ended in victory, and Atletico have thus far been able to hold off the challenges of Real Betis and Rayo Vallecano in the race for the top four.
In the middle of January, rumors abounded that Jorge Sampaoli could be sacked after just 16 games in charge of Sevilla.
Appointed to try and lead the beleaguered club out of relegation trouble, the Argentinian had overseen just one victory in his eight previous league matches. Reports in the Spanish press suggested Sevilla were considering an approach for Jose Bordalas, the former Getafe and Valencia head coach.
Since then, however, Sevilla’s form has picked up. They have won half of their last eight matches in La Liga. Despite a 3-2 loss to Osasuna last time out, Sampaoli’s side sit 14th in the standings.
However, Sevilla are yet to fully leave the relegation battle behind. The gap to the bottom three stands at just three points. And the Rojiblancos have struggled on their travels under Sampaoli. They have won just one match at opposition stadiums since the ex-Chile and Argentina manager returned for a second spell at the helm.
There is still plenty of soccer to be played this season, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Sevilla could finish in the top half. But they must not get ahead of themselves. Despite the fact they were briefly title contenders last term, Sevilla are still in a relegation battle.
It will be interesting to see whether Simeone is still in charge of Atletico at the start of next season. After a poor start to 2023, it looked unlikely. Even a section of the fan base believed it was time for a change. But perhaps Atletico’s recent form will have changed a few minds.
In many ways this season has still been a disappointment. Atletico have long been out of the La Liga title race, and they were eliminated from the Champions League (and by extension the Europa League) before Christmas.
However, a top-four finish would at least salvage something from the campaign. In order to qualify for the Champions League, Atletico will need to improve their record in front of their own fans. They rank only ninth in the home table this term, having won just five of their 11 games at the Metropolitano.
Sevilla are an unpredictable team. Although they are near the bottom of the table, they have enough quality within their ranks to beat virtually any team in La Liga on their day.
Atletico must control Sevilla’s attack if they are to come out on top. The visitors to the Metropolitano would prefer a fast-paced, end-to-end encounter, but Atletico have a better chance of winning by keeping things tight. Back a home victory and under 2.5 goals.
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Teams: Atletico Madrid vs Sevilla
Location: Estadio Civitas Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Time: Mar. 4, 2023, 3 p.m. EST
How to Watch: ESPN+
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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