What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Valencia vs Atletico Madrid
When: Saturday 3rd November, 2012, at 21:00 UK time
Where: Mestalla, Valencia, Spain

Important Game Ahead

For a team that is used to occupying the higher rankings in La Liga, Valencia’s 2012/13 season is not going according to plan so far. With only three wins out of nine matches in the Spanish top flight – having also drawn two and lost four – Valencia need to start improving their act should they want to avoid their season turning into a catastrophe; Los Che currently sit in 11th position in the league standings. Now they must battle Atletico Madrid at the Mestalla, knowing that the Mattress Makers are the league’s joint-leaders.

Valencia’s Joao Pereira admitted worries about the opposition Los Che will face and one man in particular – Radamel Falcao.

“Falcao was already a very good player and scorer at FC Porto, but Atletico are not just Falcao. There are other players who can play a good game and be decisive, so on Saturday we have to play as a team and not only think about Falcao”, said the Portuguese right-back.

Extending the Run

Not even the most ardent Atletico Madrid supporters would have thought at the start of the season that their side would be splitting the league’s leadership with Barcelona nine games into the campaign. Along with 22 goals scored and nine conceded so far, Atletico can proudly boast the best home record this season, having won all of their games at the Vicente Calderon. Here they must carry on their run in order to keep their season going smoothly.

Like Barcelona, the Rojiblancos have won all but one of their La Liga encounters, with their only setback being an opening day draw with Levante. Naturally, the fact that Falcao has been proficient up front helped their cause, as the Colombian has already netted ten times this season.

But the striker cannot carry the team on his own, and other players have contributed to achieving this feat, such as full-back Juanfran and Turkish midfielder Arda Turan. With the team meeting both Real Madrid and Barcelona in December, as well as having to battle through Getafe and Sevilla this month, Atletico Madrid need to improve their performances even more.

Recent form

BATE Borisov 0-3 Valencia (23/10; Champions League)
Real Betis 1-0 Valencia (27/10; La Liga)
UE Llagostera 0-2 Valencia (30/10; Copa del Rey)

Atletico Madrid:
Atletico Madrid 2-1 Academica (25/10; Europa League)
Atletico Madrid 3-1 Osasuna (28/10; La Liga)
Real Jaen 0-3 Atletico Madrid (31/10; Copa del Rey)

Key absences

Valencia: Sergio Canales; Jeremy Mathieu

Atletico Madrid: Diego Costa (doubt); Cristian Rodriguez (doubt)

Players to watch

Valencia – Roberto Soldado: One aspect of this game will be the battle of the strikers between Soldado and Falcao. The ex-Getafe man has shown his colours this season, but cannot be considered on Falcao’s pedestal yet. A good showing against Atletico will only increase his stock however.

Atletico Madrid – Radamel Falcao: The former FC Porto striker is now considered as decisive as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are for their respective clubs. A completely ruthless forward, he can decide the fate of the game should he be given a second of freedom.

Match Prediction

Valencia are solid at home, but facing Atletico Madrid could prove to be too much for them at the moment. The Europa League holders have proven to be tough opposition so far this season, and they will be sure to leave the Mestalla with the spoils. Valencia 1-2 Atletico Madrid.

Visit Inside Bet and read our Valencia v Atletico Madrid betting preview before you bet.