20th of August 2018 Author: Johnny Karp
UEFA Super Cup winners Atletico Madrid start their LaLiga season with a tough away match, they face Valencia at Mestalla Stadium on Monday evening. Last season Valencia managed to hold Atletico to a goalless draw in this fixture, while the reverse match was won 1-0 by Diego Simeone's men. Overall, Atletico Madrid have won five of the last six direct matches against Valencia, including two away from home. Valencia have not defeated Atletico Madrid since 2014, when they recorded a 3-1 home victory.
Valencia had a great campaign last year, they finally managed to finish fourth again after two seasons of obscurity in the second half of the league table. That means they will get to play Champions League football again and that prospect attracted some important new players to Mestalla this summer: midfielder Jeffrey Kondogbia from Inter, striker Kevin Gameiro from Atletico Madrid and on-loan striker Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea. The two new strikers might not be ready to be in the first eleven yet, but Kondogbia should be the leader in Valencia's midfield on Monday in the absence of the injured Francis Coquelin.
Atletico Madrid started their season in the best possible fashion, with a victory over bitter rivals Real Madrid. Last week's UEFA Super Cup match saw Diego Simeone's men defeat Real 4-2 after extra time in Tallinn, Diego Costa scored twice during the first 90 minutes and then Saul and Koke scored in extra time. Summer signing Thomas Lemar did feature in last week's match and he should be in the starting eleven once again. Lucas Hernandez is suspended for the away side, but head coach Diego Simeone doesn't have any injury concerns ahead of this match.
Valencia: Neto - Piccini, Paulista, Garay, Gaya - Soler, Kondogbia, Parejo, Wass - Moreno, Mina
Atletico: Oblak - Juanfran, Gimenez, Godin, Luis - Koke, Rodrigo, Niguez, Lemar - Griezmann, Costa
My prediction: Atletico to win 1-0, Simeone's men seem to be ready for a memorable season.
Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:
Valencia win - 3.10
Draw - 3.20
Atletico win - 2.45
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