5 Biggest fixtures for Atletico Madrid in the 2022-23 La Liga season

Atletico Madrid had won the La Liga most recently in the 2020/21 season

La Liga has announced the fixture list for the 2022/23 season. The campaign will begin on August 14th, with 2020/21 La Liga champions Atletico Madrid travelling to fellow Madrid club Getafe. It will then end on June fourth, with Atleti travelling to Villarreal. The first El Derbi Madrileno takes place at the Wanda Metropolitano on September 18th and the second one takes place at the Santiago Bernabeu on February 26th.

Diego Simeone‘s men were miles off the pace of city rivals Real Madrid throughout the season as Carlo Ancelotti’s side cruised to the La Liga title, while also being crowned European champions following an immense Champions League campaign.

Atleti, meanwhile, was pipped to second place by a resurgent Barcelona and made little impact on the Champions League. The Madrid side will play in the Champions League in 2022/23 though, making for a packed fixture list.

Although the schedule for the upcoming season has been announced, the exact dates of the games have only been set until October. The World Cup in Qatar in the middle of the season will complicate matters further and dates will thus change. However, we more or less know about when the rest of the matches of the campaign will be set, as Los Rojiblancos look to win their maiden league title since the 2018/19 season.

So let’s examine the biggest matches of the upcoming season for the Colchoneros, taking a look at the five most important fixtures based on the opponent –

#5 Valencia vs Atletico Madrid – 28th August

Valencia have always challenged Los Rojiblancos at Mestalla

Valencia have always challenged Los Rojiblancos at Mestalla

Valencia has been one heck of an opponent for Real Madrid lately, and the Mestalla is no joke. Los Rojiblancos held the Mestalla in a high goal-scoring game in the 2021/22 season, doing everything they could to outlast the Bats.

A trip to the Mestalla in August, though, is the definition of high stakes. A slip-up against a team that will be competing with Atleti for a European finish at the start of the season would be devastating to Diego Simeone’s title hopes. Los Rojiblancos faithful must circle this match as much as they would circle El Derbi because Valencia at the Mestalla is a different animal. They go from “decent” to “great” when they face Atleti in their house.

#4 Villarreal vs Atletico Madrid – 4th June

If fans in Europe were sleeping on Unai Emery’s Villarreal before, they are not doing so now. The Yellow Submarine have not been particularly impressive in La Liga recently, but they have always fought hard against Atletico Madrid, usually grinding out draws. In Europe, they reached the Champions League semi-finals last season after winning the Europa League against Manchester United in 2020/21 to qualify for the continent’s premier competition.

Emery has been a difficult manager for Diego Simeone to deal with in La Liga the last time the two sides played against each other both the fixtures played between the two sides ended in a draw, so expect another tough battle between these two prestigious Spanish sides at the Estadio de la Cerámica.

This tie will also be important for the mere fact that this game can resonate with Atletico Madrid’s chances of winning the title given the game is played on the last match day. Atleti who are always in the running for the title will head to this game requiring a win to lift the title after one year, a thing they managed against Real Valladolid on the last day of the campaign in the 2020/21 season.

#3 Athletic Club Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid – 16th October

Nobody likes taking a trip to the Lion’s Den of San Mames, and while the Los Rojiblancos have usually done a good job of surviving against the hard-nosed Athletic Club in the Basque country, a winter battle against Inaki Williams and Co. is never pleasant.

Bilbao has consistently been just off the pace of the Europa League sides, but as we saw in the La Liga of the 2021/22 season, they are capable of beating Atleti at their own den. It is never a walk in the park for Atletico Madrid against Bilbao, even when they do get the three points.

#2 Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid – 23rd April

The second meeting between Atletico Madrid and FC Barcelona will take place during the time when the fag end of the Champions League would be going on with either the second leg of the quarter-finals or the first leg of the semi-finals taking place at that time, adding more stress in the schedule to this encounter. 

As with numerous seasons off late, this encounter happens to act frequently as the title decider, with the two teams representing the three heavyweights of the league and the same can happen in the upcoming season as well.

Though Atleti has a poor record against Barca, again, there is no such thing as an easy game against the Catalans, save for perhaps the fixture at the Camp Nou in 2022/23.

#1 Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid – 18th September

El Derbi Madrileno is one of the biggest games in Spanish top-flight football

El Derbi Madrileno is one of the biggest games in Spanish top-flight football

Atletico Madrid’s final major test of the season will be against bitter crosstown rivals Real Madrid. Los Blancos easily defeated the Los Rojiblancos 2-0 in the first match of the last season, however, Atletico ended up winning the reverse fixture at home mostly because Los Blancos did not even try in the second match of the 2021/22 season at the Wanda since they had already won La Liga.

Atleti, on the other hand, won the 2020/21 season, and while they took a step back with a slew of new faces in 2021/22, you can never count Los Rojiblancos out. This match at the Wanda will be a good early test for the Colchoneros, revealing how tough Merengues will be in the 2022/23 La Liga season.