Valencia and Atletico Madrid square off at the Mestalla with both clubs having endured a mixed start to the new La Liga campaign.
A win and a defeat have come from their opening fixtures, putting the respective players under pressure to keep pace with the early frontrunners in the division.
Having watched Real Madrid dominate last season, Atletico Madrid entered this campaign with renewed motivation to regain the La Liga title.
When they thrashed Getafe in their opening fixture, Diego Simeone‘s side looked in good shape, but that would not be the case when they played host to Villarreal.
Atletico conceded twice during the closing 17 minutes to fall to defeat at Wanda Metropolitano, and Simeone and his squad are now under pressure to deliver during the remainder of their testing schedule over the coming weeks.
Monday’s fixture is followed by meetings with Real Sociedad, Celta Vigo and the champions, leaving Atletico in a position where they can ill-afford another setback at the Mestalla.
Although Alvaro Morata netted twice in the first game, speculation persists regarding the Spaniard’s future with a number of clubs said to be eyeing his signature.
As far as Valencia are concerned, Gennaro Gattuso will feel that his squad are well equipped to challenge for the top 10 this season, providing that he can be creative in the transfer market over the coming days.
Los Che are under pressure to raise more funds through a player sale in order to boost their financial position, but Bryan Gil is still expected to arrive through the door on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
While Valencia are yet to score a goal from open play, Gattuso will be encouraged by just one strike being conceded at the other end as they prepare to take on a potential title contender.
Last season’s corresponding fixture ended in a 3-3 draw with Valencia scoring twice in the closing minutes to earn a share of the spoils.
Valencia will again be without Jose Gaya and Eray Comert as they continue to serve their respective suspensions.
With Hugo Duro also absent through injury, Maximiliano Gomez should lead the line for Valencia in his place.
Barcelona loanee Nico Gonzalez is pushing for his first start, but he may have to remain on the substitutes’ bench for the time being.
Nahuel Molina is missing for Atletico after the right wing-back was sent off during the closing stages against Villarreal.
While Simeone has a number of solutions available to him, Yannick Carrasco could switch flanks to allow Saul Niguez to take his spot on the left.
Jose Gimenez should be recalled to the back three to replace the injured Stefan Savic.
Valencia possible starting lineup:
Mamardashvili; Correia, Paulista, Diakhaby, Vazquez; Musah, Guillamon, Soler; Castillejo, Duro, Lino
Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Gimenez, Witsel, Reinildo; Carrasco, Llorente, Koke, Lemar, Saul; Morata, Felix
If their opening double-header is anything to go by, these two clubs could be unpredictable as the season progresses. Valencia will fancy their chances of causing the upset in this fixture, but we cannot go against Atletico at this stage with Simeone’s men possibly coming through by the odd goal in three.
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