MARK O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) European NAP returns with La Liga taking focus on Easter Sunday.
Cordoba v Atletico Madrid | Saturday 17.00 | Sky Sports 5
Defending champions Atletico Madrid enter the final 10 games of the season sitting in fourth. It’s not a position the Mattress Makers would have envisaged in August and it’s not a position that’s likely to be received too well by the Atletico hierarchy, or even boss Diego Simeone.
The Argentine coach continues to claim that a top-four finish was the start of season aim for the capital club but he’s lying. Atleti were focussed on retaining their crown and with Sevilla creeping up to just four points behind Simeone’s side, even a top-four place is coming under pressure.
Two wins in six since destroying bitter rivals Real Madrid at the Vicente Calderon have put the brakes on Atletico’s season but we should be backing the Mattress Makers to get back on track this Saturday when they head to a Cordoba side that are looking all but relegated.
The hosts have now lost nine consecutive games and defeat at their Nuevo Arcángel home this weekend would see Los Califas equal the second longest losing streak in La Liga history. Six of their last 11 games as hosts have ended in defeat and having axed Miroslav Djukic, the club are now onto their third coach of the season with Jose Romero taking the reigns.
Romero’s side were beaten 3-1 at Sociedad last time out in a match that saw three Cordoba players sent off. That means Aleksandar Pantic, Inigo Lopez and Dani Pinillos will all be missing; Pantic and Lopez’s absence in the heart of the Los Califas defence could have dire consequences.
Pantic has missed just six games this season and Cordoba have picked up only one point without him. Furthermore, the home side have lost just four of 12 matches with both Pantic and Lopez playing but 12 of 16 when one has been missing. This is the first game both will have missed.
Atletico boast an outstanding record when taking on clubs from the Andalusia region of Spain (W22-D7-L1) under Simeone and with six wins from their previous eight away days at bottom-six clubs (all secured by a margin of two goals or more), the Mattress Makers should be snapped up at 3/4 with a -1 start on the Asian Handicap line.
Taking this selection means we’ll get our cash back should the visitors win by just a one goal margin but we’ll pocket profit should Simeone’s defending champions come out on top by two goals or more.
Cordoba v Atletico Madrid – Atletico Madrid -1 Asian Handicap (3/4 BetVictor)
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