Rayo Vallecano take on the visitors Atletico Madrid in the round 3 match of Spanish LaLiga. The match will be played on Monday, August 28th at Campo de Futbol de Vallecas (Madrid).
Rayo Vallecano are doing well even without Iraola. The Bees were under Andoni's leadership for the past 3 years. With the ex-defender of Athletic Bilbao and, to some extent, the Spanish national team during its golden era, this unique Madrid club managed to return to La Liga, winning the playoffs in Segunda, and then twice achieved solid mid-table results in La Liga. However, it seems that the young coach decided he had reached the ceiling of his possibilities in Madrid and set his sights on England. He wasn't released to Leeds in the winter, but his contract expired in the summer, and nothing could prevent him from signing an agreement with Bournemouth. Francisco became the new coach, and so far, everything is going well for him. Both matches were won, and interestingly, both were away games with an identical score of 2-0. However, they were against fairly passable opponents, Almeria and Granada. Now, they face a true test of their professionalism.
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Atletico hasn't been particularly surprising so far. The Mattress Makers are rightly considered a giant in Spanish football. However, after their recent significant achievement – winning the La Liga title in 2021 – they've reverted to being considered a force #3. Moreover, the previous season started off poorly, particularly in the Champions League, where the experienced team managed to finish only 4th in a relatively easy group, failing to qualify for the European competitions' playoffs. Yes, they managed to recover later, but the outcome was spoiled by the fact that Cholo's Team failed to surpass the neighboring Real, a team that was unstable and even somewhat in crisis during the 2022/2023 season, in the battle for 2nd place. Furthermore, in the new season, after strengthening their defense (including signing Seuyndju and Azpilicueta for free) and shedding some weight (except for Joao Felix, whom they can't seem to place anywhere), the team has already dropped points. While they managed to overcome Granada at home (though it was a 1-1 draw until the 67th minute), they held a confident goalless draw against Betis.
Rayo last defeated Atletico more than 10 years ago, in February 2013. In their most recent 8 matches, Atletico have won 7, and only in the previous season, The Bees managed to take points from The Mattress Makers by drawing with them. Experts consider Diego Simeone's charges the favorites. However, they are also far from being perfect, and it's worth considering a total under 2.5 goals in this match.
Prediction for the match: Under 2.5 scored goals.