Atlético Madrid’s match against Valencia was bumped up one day, from Saturday to Friday — which could help these two sides ahead of Champions League ties next week.
In the meantime, though, neither side can really afford to look that far ahead — not when Champions League places for next season are up for grabs. Atlético sit fourth entering this matchup, three points off third-place Getafe. Valencia are seventh, but just two points behind Atleti. A win for the visitors would be a serious blow to Los Che’s hopes of a third straight Champions League appearance, while a home win would knock Los Colchoneros out of the European places.
Atlético have not won at Valencia the past two seasons, and the reverse fixture in the capital ended 1-1.
No Diego Costa or João Félix in the squad, as the two forwards are now in a race against time to be fit for Tuesday’s Champions League game against Liverpool. Álvaro Morata is fit but will not start as Diego Simeone wants him at his best for Tuesday. José Giménez is back after a month on the sidelines, but Héctor Herrera remains out with a muscular injury and an uncertain return date. Atlético B wingback Ricard is in the squad for a second straight week.
Possible XI Oblak; Arias, Felipe, Savić, Lodi; Thomas, Saúl, Llorente, Koke; Correa, Vitolo
Prediction 1-1. Valencia have been highly competitive in big fixtures this season — but like Atlético, injuries and inconsistency have taken their toll. The hosts were steamrolled at Getafe last week, while Atleti narrowly avoided a stumble versus Granada. Both coaches would probably be okay with a draw in a game that I suspect will not be fun to watch.
My record on the season 17-15
Date Feb. 14, 2020
Location Mestalla, Valencia, Spain
Kickoff 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. EST, 12:00 p.m. PST
Available TV/streaming Movistar+ (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), DAZN (Italy), SL4G (Ghana), ESPN (Brazil), QQ Sports Live (China)