Atletico Madrid vs Lokomotiv MoscowUEFA Champions League, KO: 20:00 Dec 11, 2019, Wanda Metropolitano
ATLETICO MADRID have lost their last two Champions League games but still remain in the driving seat to finish second behind Juventus in Group D.
They lead Leverkusen by a point so a win at home to rock-bottom Lokomotiv Moscow will seal their progress to the last 16 and it's hard to see the Russians springing a shock.
Lokomotiv have never won in Spain, losing six of their seven games, and were disappointing last time out as they crashed at home to Leverkusen.
I backed them to win in Moscow on Matchday Five as the odds were hugely attractive, as big as 3-1 before kick-off, but despite starting well, Lokomotiv's belief disappeared after the concession of a horror own goal.
They have nothing to play for at the Wanda Metropolitano and won't play again in 2019 as their domestic league takes a break. This is a game Lokomotiv just want to get out of the way so Diego Simeone's side should win comfortably.
How the bookies view it
Nobody is giving Lokomotiv Moscow a prayer, with Marathonbet pricing them at a whopping 23/1. That might be wort a tentative £1 bet given anything can happen in football and the draw is as big as 67/10 with the same firm but I expect the Spanish side to justify their status as 1/6 favourites with most firms.
To boost the odds on a home win, double it with a clean sheet. I tipped Atletico to win to nil when these sides faced off in Russia earlier in the group and it came up at 31/20. Sadly the odds on a repeat are a best 8/13 with SkyBet.
Head to head
It was all too easy for Atletico on Matchday Two as goals from Joao Felix and Thomas Partey sealed a 2-0 win in Moscow (below).
Lokomotiv have never beaten the Spanish side across four meetings, their best result a 3-3 draw in Moscow in the UEFA Cup group stage in 2007/08.
Both teams head into the clash in dismal form. Atletico have won just once in their last eight games, losing three and drawing four. They were far from convincing at the weekend in La Liga, drawing 0-0 with Villarreal.
But their form at home in Europe is incredible, losing just one of their last 24 games, so that explains why Lokomotiv are being written off as no hopers.
The Russians are on an even worse run of results, winning just one of their last nine games and suffering six defeats. They hit a new low on Friday in the Russian league, crashing 4-0 against Arsenal Tula with Maciej Rybus sent off.
Diego Costa is a long-term injury absentee for Atletico while Stefan Savic, Sime Vrsaljiko and Jose Maria Gimenez also look set to be ruled out again.
Lokomotiv remain without Jefferson Farfan, Boris Rotenberg, Joao Mario and Luka Djordjevic while keeper Guilherme and Anton Miranchuk are doubts after missing the last two games.
Thriller or chiller?
Simeone's sides aren't reknowned for free-flowing football and have built their impressive run of success on clean sheets in recent seasons.
But the stalemate with Villarreal at the weekend was their first shut-out in eight games so something hasn't quite been right at the back.
Lokomotiv have conceded in their last nine games so I can see Simeone's misfiring attack, which has netted just once in the last four games, finally getting some joy.
A repeat of the 2-0 win in Moscow wouldn't surprise me and it's 17/4 with BetVictor. But Atletico could score over 2.5 goals if they net early and Lokomotiv throw in the towel.
Players to watch
Portuguese wonderkid Joao Felix has netted just three times since his big-money move from Benfica but one of those did come against Lokomotiv.
The Miranchuk twins were the only Lokomotiv players to emerge with any credit from the game against Leverkusen last time out. With Anton an injury doubt, Aleksey looks their best bet for an unlikely goal at 10/1 with Ladbrokes.
Anything else catch the eye?
Vladislav Ignatjev was particularly inept at right-back for Lokomotiv against Leverkusen and has been booked 10 times already this season. Sadly, he's just 5/4 for another card here with William Hill but veteran stopper Vedran Corluka offers more value at 2/1 with the same firm.
This UEFA Champions League match between Atletico Madrid and Lokomotiv Moscow will be played on Dec 11, 2019 and kick off at 20:00