All signs would point to an Atletico victory, considering the Spanish giants have won their last eight home H2H clashes against Rayo, although Atletico do come into this clash on the back of four straight La Liga losses.
Atletico de Madrid
Two Champions League contenders will battle it out at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, as Atletico Madrid lock horns with Rayo Vallecano. All signs would point to an Atletico victory, considering the Spanish giants have won their last eight home H2H clashes against Rayo, although Atlético do come into this clash on the back of four straight La Liga losses. Two of those four losses came despite Atlético scoring first, but at home it tends to be a different story for ‘Colchoneros’ who have won in 80 per cent of the games in which they have found an opener. Atletico will also hope to let in the New Year in style, boasting an impressive record in their opening La Liga game of a calendar year, going unbeaten in such matches across the last 12 years.
This season’s surprise package so far, Rayo, will be hoping to play the role of ‘party-poopers’, although their miserable recent away La Liga record against sides from Comunidad de Madrid suggests they will have their work cut out. Several confirmed Covid-19 cases certainly won’t help Rayo’s cause, but if they can upset the odds and secure victory, then they’d become the first newly-promoted side since Hércules in 2010/11 to win against both Barcelona and Atlético in a single season. While no side in La Liga has claimed more points at home than Rayo ahead of the round, it’s been a totally different story on the road, with their paltry total of five points one of La Liga’s lowest. Perhaps the reasoning behind Rayo’s travel sickness is the eight away game openers they’ve conceded – the most of any La Liga side this season.
Atletico may look to Matheus Cunha should they need a late goal – his three La Liga strikes this season have all come beyond the 65th minute. Meanwhile, Radamel Falcao scored Rayo’s last La Liga away winning goal and three of his five La Liga strikes this season have proved to be winners. Only Valencia (12) have conceded more first-half La Liga away goals than Rayo (ten) ahead of the round.