It’s become a bit of a cliche to suggest Diego Simeone’s Atleti like to keep things tight and not concede many goals, but that’s pretty much what they’re all about, even if there has been something of an opening-up of their style over the past 18 months or so.
In their last 10 matches, they’ve kept five clean sheets and only once conceded more than a single goal in a match. By the same token, they’re not exactly prolific in front of goal either, notching one goal in a game on five occasions through the same period.
The first leg of this tie, fittingly, ended 1-1 in Girona, and given this one’s in Madrid, you’d have to imagine it’ll be played to Atletico’s tempo. It would be no surprise if there were two goals or fewer (in 90 minutes) in this fixture, so we’re taking Under 2.5 total match goals at 3/4.
This will be the third time in a week that these sides have played one another. In the first leg of this tie, the Andalusians beat the Basque side 3-1 in Bilbao, but Athletic returned the favour and beat Sevilla 2-0 at home in the league three days later.
That, however, was a result that went against expectations. Athletic are not firing in La Liga this season, and currently sit in 15th despite going undefeated in their previous five league matches. Sevilla, though not in title contention, are third and looking pretty solid.
Admittedly, Pablo Machín’s team have been stuttering of late, but they’re clearly the more accomplished of these two teams, and you’d imagine they’ll want to make amends for that loss last time out. They have the ammunition to get it done, and should be capable of winning in 90 minutes.
As most people will be aware of at this stage, Real are pretty bad this year.
They currently languish in 4th place in La Liga, 10 points off the pace set by Barcelona. Even so, they’re a much, much better team than Leganes, who are 13th and went down 3-0 to Los Merengues in the first leg of this cup tie.
Leganes are a small club, and don’t have the resources to compete on several fronts. Considering the result of the first leg, you’d imagine they won’t be giving this game their all.
With that in mind, it’s hard to see anything other than a Real win – despite their iffy form – and with the price at 11/10, we won’t say no to that.