On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid will have the opportunity to secure their third consecutive league victory as they face Rayo Vallecano.
Rayo Vallecano, on the other hand, will be hoping to return to winning ways in this midweek La Liga clash after failing to win any of their last three competitive matches.
Following their loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final, Atletico Madrid has been on a positive run of results.
They started with a 4-2 extra-time win over Los Blancos in the Copa del Rey last 16. Atleti then narrowly defeated Granada in La Liga and secured a 1-0 victory over Sevilla to progress to the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
In their recent home match against Valencia, Diego Simeone’s side emerged victorious with a 2-0 scoreline thanks to goals from Samuel Lino and Memphis Depay. As a result, Atleti currently sits in third position, two points clear of fifth-placed Athletic Club.
Before their third encounter with Real Madrid in a month at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday, Atletico will look to extend their lead on Wednesday.
Atletico Madrid has a strong home record, having won 20 of their last 22 home league games (D2) since January 2022, when they suffered a 1-0 defeat to Barcelona.
They have also dominated their previous meetings against Rayo, winning 12 out of their last 15 encounters, including a commanding 7-0 victory in their most recent clash in August.
Rayo Vallecano enters Wednesday’s game without a win in their last three matches since their extra-time win over Huesca in the Copa del Rey third round.
They were subsequently eliminated from the cup competition by Girona and suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Las Palmas in La Liga.
Despite failing to win, Rayo managed to secure a point against Real Sociedad in their recent away fixture against a top-six side.
However, they have struggled to find the back of the net, failing to score in 10 of their 21 league matches and having the second-lowest goal tally in La Liga with only 18 goals.
Currently in 12th place, Rayo has an eight-point cushion above the relegation zone, putting them in a comfortable position to remain in the top flight for a fourth consecutive season.
Rayo is well aware of the tough challenge that awaits them on Wednesday as they seek to secure their first victory against Atletico since February 2013 and their first away league win over Atleti since August 1999.
Atletico Madrid will be without defender Cesar Azpilicueta and midfielder Thomas Lemar due to knee and Achilles injuries, respectively.
Centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez is expected to be sidelined for two to three weeks with a muscle injury sustained in the win over Valencia.
Forward Alvaro Morata is a doubt due to a knock and may not be risked ahead of Sunday’s derby against Real Madrid.
Manager Diego Simeone is likely to make several changes to the starting lineup due to the busy schedule, with players like Mario Hermoso, Alex Witsel, Marcos Llorente, and Rodrigo Riquelme all in contention for a starting role.
Rayo Vallecano will be missing Diego Mendez due to injury, while Pathe Ciss and Bebe are on international duty.
Midfielder Unai Lopez will serve a one-match suspension after receiving his fifth yellow card of the season. However, Alvaro Garcia will return to the squad following a one-match ban and is expected to start on the left flank.
Possible Starting Lineups
Atletico Madrid: (3-5-2)
Savic, Witsel, Hermoso;
Llorente, De Paul, Koke, Niguez, Riquelme;
Rayo Vallecano: (4-2-3-1)
Balliu, Lejeune, Hernandez, Espino;
Palazon, Trejo, Garcia;
Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Rayo Vallecano
Although Rayo has collected most of their points from away matches, we predict that they will leave empty-handed in this encounter against an Atletico side that has won 10 out of their 11 home games in La Liga this season.