The new season of La Liga kicks off this weekend on an exciting note as Valencia host Atletico Madrid at Mestalla on Monday night.
Both sides are coming on the back of strong seasons, and both have high aspirations this season. It would be an interesting encounter between two powers of Spanish football.
After finishing a couple of seasons in the bottom-half, Valencia did well to finish fourth under Marcelino last season. The Spaniard manager has done an incredible job by guiding Los Che back into Champions League football in his first year with the club. Valencia quite comfortably bettered the likes of Villarreal and Sevilla in the league table. However, the next step would be the most difficult one for Los Che as they are expected, according to the odds with 888sport this term, to challenge the supremacy of the top-three this season.
Valencia have been quite ambitious in the transfer market, and there is a sense of optimism around the club. Right-back Joao Cancelo has departed in a big money move, and he would be a huge miss. But, Valencia have managed to strengthen on several areas of the pitch with acquisitions such as Geoffrey Kondogbia, Kevin Gameiro, Mouctar Diakhaby, Daniel Wass and Michy Batshuayi.
Atletico Madrid enjoyed success on multiple fronts last season. They not only finished runners-up in the league, but they also lifted the Europa League trophy. However, they never really managed to challenge Barcelona for the league title. There was only a six-point gap between Valencia and Atletico in the season-ending table. This would be an encouraging statistic for the hosts going into the game.
Atletico have also conducted impressive business during the summer. They have splashed money on names like Thomas Lemar, Rodri and Nikola Kalinic while Kevin Gameiro and Diogo Jota have departed. Following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, Atletico are expected to provide the main title challenge to Barcelona this season.
Los Rojiblancos boast of an imposing head-to-head record against their opponents in recent years. Understandably, they are slight favourites to win the game with most bookmakers. Atletico are without a defeat in their last seven league meetings with Valencia with five wins and two draws. The Madrid side have also picked up two wins in their last three visits to Mestalla. Last season, both sides played a goalless draw in the corresponding fixture.
Last season, two league meetings between these two sides witnessed a total of one goal. We expect a low-scoring game on Monday, and we believe under 2.5 goals is a safe bet in this game. In the match-result market, we are putting our money on a draw.