​Atletico Madrid travel to Malaga on Saturday for their next La Liga clash. Atleti will be in good spirits after defeating Valencia 1-0 in their last match. They have now extended the gap between them and the third place side to nine points. 


Diego Simeone's men still find themselves nine points behind first place Barcelona, but with their second place position looking more secure, they will now focus on trying to keep pace the league leaders. 


Things are not looking so bright for Malaga. Without a win since November, they find themselves at the bottom of La Liga table, four points behind 19th place Las Palmas, who they lost to on Monday. They have it all to do to try and stay up this season. 


Here's all you need to know heading into this match.


Classic Encounter

Club Atletico de Madrid v Malaga CF - La Liga

​ Atletico and Malaga have enjoyed a number of great encounters over the years, which have typically gone in favour of the Madrid club. But with six goals and two red cards, no match has perhaps been quite as memorable in recent years as Atleti's 4-2 victory over Malaga in October 2016.


Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco got the hosts off to a flying starting with an individual effort just seven minutes into the game. Kevin Gamiero added a second shortly after, before Malaga halved the deficit with a Sandro Ramirez free-kick. Gamiero got his second of the match minutes before half-time which meant Atleti were 3-1 up at the break.


There were signs of a Malaga comeback when Atletico were reduced to ten men after 60 minutes when Stefan Savic was shown a second yellow card. Ignacio Camacho got Malaga's second to pull the visitors back into the game. 


Their efforts were soon denied when Carrasco scored his second of the night late on the ensure the three points stayed in Madrid. The drama was not yet over though after Malaga were also reduced to ten men after Gonzalo Castro was given his second yellow card.


Key Battle


Antoine Griezmann vs Luis Hernandez & Ignasi Miquel

Atletico Madrid v Las Palmas - La Liga

In 22 league games, Malaga have scored just 14 league goals. That's the lowest tally in the division and they have certainly suffered for it. While they may be bottom of the division, they defensive record is not nearly as bad as the other teams around them. 


Their best strategy on Saturday may well be to defend for their lives. Atletico themselves have not been so hot on the goal scoring front, scoring far less than the other teams near the top of the league table. If Malaga can defend well, it might be their best chance of getting something from this game. 


Antoine Griezmann is Atleti's top scorer in ​La Liga this season with seven. This is a tally he will need to improve if he wants to still be considered one of the best forwards in Europe. He has a good chance to improve his record on Saturday.


Malaga could well try to shut up shop on Saturday, which they will do well to manage against an attacking force of Griezmann and Diego Costa. 


Team News

FBL-ESP-LIGA-ATLETICO-VALENCIA

Atletico's victory against Valencia came at the price as they were dealt injury blows to two key defenders. Diego Godin fractured his jaw and has required surgery which will rule him out of Saturday's fixture. Stefan Savic was also forced off with a thigh injury which could keep him sidelined for the rest of the month. 


Filipe Luis could make his return at left-back after recovering from a hamstring injury which he kept him out since December. 


For Malaga, Chory Castro will be available for selection after completing a ban. Juankar remains ruled out as he continues to recover from a cruciate ligament rupture. 


Recio was forced off during Malaga's last game against Las Palmas and is a doubt for Saturday's game. Malaga made a number of signings in the winter transfer window with the likes of Isaac Success and Medhi Lacen ready to fill in. 


Potential Malaga Starting Lineup: Roberto; Rosales, Hernandez, Miquel, Ricca; Success, Iturra, Lacen, Casto; Ideye, Gonzalez


Potential Atletico Starting Lineup: Oblak; Vrsaljko, Juanfran, Gimenez, Luis; Correa, Gabi, Koke, Saul; Griezmann, Costa


Prediction

FBL-ESP-LIGA-REALMADRID-MALAGA

Unfortunately for Malaga, all signs point towards an away victory on Saturday. The home side are without a win in their last seven league matches, and have not scored a goal in any of their last four league games at home. 


Meanwhile, Atletico are undefeated in 25 of their last 26 La Liga matches, and look likely to maintain that run this weekend. 


If there are any positive signs for Malaga it is that they tend to concede very few goals in their defeats. There have been under 3 goals in all of their last nine league matches. A similar thing can be said for Atletico, who are not scoring a lot themselves. 


Prediction: Malaga 0-2 Atletico Madrid

​​