Atletico Madrid v Deportivo Alaves- Sunday 21:15, Sky Sports 1
Atletico have earnt the right for the La Liga ‘Big 2’ to become the ‘Big 3’ with some fantastic campaigns under Diego Simeone in recent seasons. Last year’s runners-up welcome Segunda champions Alaves to the Vicente Calderon first up.
Atletico have been one of the best sides defensively in Europe in the past few seasons so it will be some challenge for Alaves to break them down, especially given the newly promoted side didn’t find the net with great regularity last season. The hosts won’t be as potent going forward as usual though, with the Euro 2016 Golden Boot winner, Antoine Griezmann, suspended for this game.
Alaves’ matches last term averaged exactly two goals per game – the second lowest in the league and we don’t expect this trend to alter much with the arrival of new manager Mauricio Pellegrino, who has seen 69% of his 158 managerial career matches finish with fewer than three goals. Both managers were defensive-minded players so there will be an emphasis on the defence and as a result this game has ‘unders’ written all over it.
Indeed, 1.92 looks a fantastic price for no more than two goals to be scored here but considering Atleti have won all 13 home matches against promoted sides with Simeone at the helm, the home win and under 2.5 goals looks the best option. Furthermore, Atleti failed to score more than once in either of the two games the talismanic Griezmann missed in 2015/16, so a 1-0 scoreline is worth considering.