Under normal circumstances, it would be extremely difficult to make a case for Sporting Gijon to win this fixture but, fortunately for the Asturians, the circumstances aren’t normal this weekend. With an international break looming, Atletico Madrid could be made to pay a heavy price for their exertions in an epic Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven in midweek.
The Colchoneros themselves do little to encourage this course of action. When it comes to dealing with issues like fatigue and complacency, they rarely seem to put a foot wrong. However, we should first remind ourselves of two things: 1) those players are only human and they were taken to the emotional limit by Philip Cocu’s men just four days ago, and 2) the home win is 15/2, so the risk to reward ratio is firmly in our favour.
Bottom of the table with nine games remaining, draws are being viewed as pointless commodities by Abelardo’s men now, so there’s no need to toil over how to get with the home side. It’s a shot to nothing. Sporting know they couldn’t have handpicked a better weekend to play this game, or indeed have scheduled a better kick-off time, so we should bank on those factors encouraging them to find an above-par level of performance.
Ordinarily, games involving Atletico take a predictable course. Diego Simeone’s men have scored the first goal in 22 out of 29 league matches and, the two games against Barcelona aside, they’ve only dropped two points from a winning position all season. It adds up to a staggering 19 clean sheets and just 12 goals conceded, the Blaugrana being the only team to have scored twice against them in the same game.
But these numbers are so good, you have to question their sustainability over an entire 38-game season and the conditions coming into this weekend are such that, even if Atletico do take something from this game, they might have to go about it a slightly different way than normal. With this in mind, a bet on Sporting Gijon to score over 1.5 goals is also recommended.
Allowances should be made for the Simeone effect and the fact that Atletico consistently outperform their shot data. Nonetheless, my ratings make the home side no bigger than 4/1 to win and roughly the same price to score twice or more. For all their faults, Sporting do at least take the game to the opposition at El Molinón and come into this game having scored 15 in their last eight on home soil.
Click here for more information about Mike Holden’s shot-based ratings system
1pt Over 1.5 Sporting Gijon goals at 6/1