Tottenham (+270) vs Atletico Madrid (+100), Draw (+250)
Atletico Madrid will make their 2016 debut at the International Champions Cup this Friday when they take on Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia (6:00 AM Eastern).
The International Champions Cup pits (mostly) Europe’s best teams against each other in different cities around the world, serving as a final tuneup for the 2016-17 season. This year, Atletico Madrid and Tottenham are joined by Juventus and Australia’s own Melbourne Victory down under.
Spurs played their first game of the tournament last weekend, which resulted in a 2-1 loss to Juventus. The match was the first time Tottenham had taken the pitch since losing ending last Premier League season with two straight losses. The time off was evident, as the English squad committed far too many errors, and were lucky to be within a goal.
Tottenham haven’t made any huge moves over the summer, but their strong core and runner-up finish in the EPL suggest they didn’t need anything drastic. However, this doesn’t mean moves aren’t coming, as coach Mauricio Pochettino has suggested. The Argentinean manager will have to face the daunting task of juggling his team’s priorities between the EPL and the Champions League this season, a task that will greatly test Tottenham’s depth and preparation.
Friday’s match will be our second look at Atletico Madrid this summer, but first in the International Champions Cup. Their previous match came against Numancia last Saturday, and resulted in a 2-0 victory.
After losing last year’s Champions League final to Real Madrid, Atletico have used the break to refocus and set their sights on adding that one extra piece who can get them over the hump. That piece is looking like Chelsea striker Diego Costa. If the team is able to land the Spanish/Brazilian star, Atletico’s offense could take a giant leap this year. Manager Diego Simeone has turned Atletico into arguably the best defensive club in the world, but Antoine Griezmann could use some help up front.
Griezmann, Atletico’s leading scorer from last year, didn’t travel with the team after spending most of his summer playing for France in the Euro. Even though France fell in the final of that tournament, the striker’s magnificent performance was rewarded with personal accolades, as he was named Player of the Tournament.
The Australian crowd won’t appreciate his absence, but Atletico fans should as Griezmann will be better served getting some extra rest. And even without their main threat, Madrid sports the more well-rounded club, as the line would suggest, and should be able to grab the win in the first-ever meeting between these sides.
Pick: Atletico (+100).
(Photo Credit: enviro warrior from england (Harry Kane) [CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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