Our Spanish expert Phil Kitromilides believes a weakened Atletico side will exit the Europa League with another loss in tough conditions in RussiaDiego Simeone has long since treated Atletico Madrid's defence of their Europa League title as a minor inconvenience, fielding second string line-ups throughout the group stages as the side focus on their main ambition this season of finishing in the top four of La Liga.
Last week's 2-0 defeat at home to Rubin Kazan in the first leg of this tie was greeted with relative indifference and the squad that Simeone has taken with him to Russia for the return leg shows just where Atleti's priorities lie.
Having left the likes of Juanfran, Godín, Filipe, Tiago, Koke, Gabi and Arda Turan at home for technical reasons, replacing them with a number of youngsters, the Argentine's claim of his side attempting to turn the tie around sounds a little hollow, yet Coral still make the defending champions favourites at 6/4 (2.50).
With an extremely weakened side, playing in a competition they have shown means little to them, and trailing 2-0 from the first leg, there should be absolutely no reason to back Atletico in any way.
In fact the price of 7/4 (2.75) for a win for Rubin Kazan looks highly appealing for all the reasons previously mentioned and more.
Atletico's recent away form has been extremely poor, with their weekend win at Valladolid their first in nine matches. Furthermore temperatures in Kazan on Thursday are not expected to get above -5 degrees and could drop to -15, conditions in which the players from the Spanish capital are hardly used to playing in.
Backing a home win then looks like an excellent option, and for a value bet the price of 16/5 (4.20) for Rubin Kazan to be leading at both half-time and full-time could be worthy of consideration.
|Rubin Kazan to win at 7/4 (2.75) with Coral
||Rubin Kazan half time/full time at 16/5 (4.20) with Coral|
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Phil Kitromilides is a sports anchor working on TV in Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.