Match preview: Atlético vs. Levante

Adrián to lead Rojiblanco attack against La Liga's revelation team

Levante will look to trip up Atlético on Sunday  (colchonero.com)

Levante will look to trip up Atlético on Sunday
(colchonero.com)

Atlético Madrid return to action on Sunday, hosting Primera División overachievers Levante at the Vicente Calderón.

When the clash gets underway (20:00 CET), los Colchoneros will be without star striker Radamel Falcao.

‘El Tigre’ sustained a hamstring injury in Colombia and will sit out this match in a bid to make it back in time for the season’s first Madrid Derby on the 26th.

In-form Adrián should be up to the task as he spearheads Atleti’s attack, while Jose Antonio Reyes and Eduardo Salvio, who could be in line for starts, would assume a share of the team’s goal scoring responsibilities as well.

While Atlético’s players were rewarded with a memorable trip to Cairo, where they got the chance to ride around on camels and visit one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, fans sulked around at their jobs and schools all week still bitter and sitting in the stew of the hot mess that was their team’s devastating loss to Getafe just before the international break.

Gregorio Manzano’s men failed to take advantage of being a man up on their opponents following Alberto Lopo’s dismissal, falling to their pornographer neighbours 3-2.

“In football you have to play with intensity every day and maybe in some games, for whatever reason, we have not gone in with the same intensity and when we try to react it is difficult [to recover],” vice-captain Luis Amaranto Perea was quoted as saying by ESPN Soccernet.

Perea continued: “The need to win every game always makes it crucial to engage. We cannot continue to lose points because our direct competitors are still pulling away from us.

“The tragedy is that almost always we are about to pick up [our form] and then we hit these bumps. There is always a requirement to win here. Beyond all that has happened there is a lot at stake at home and then everyone is aware that they have to give a little more of what they have given so far.”

It appears Reyes has been paroled from his jail sentence, as Manzano included him in the squad for this game. ‘La Perla’ was left off our last three match selections reportedly because he was suffering from the flu, but logic suggests his conduct in Bilbao a little over three weeks ago was at least partially to blame for his extended absence.

Antonio López will join Falcao in the stands, as the captain continues his recovery from minor knee surgery.

Diego Godín, Paulo Assuncao and Joel were left off the team through tactical decision.

Juan Ignacio Martínez’s men have been the early darlings of the domestic championship, but their fast start that saw them win seven matches in a row including big victories over Real Madrid and Villarreal has since hit a snag.

Levante dropped from first to fourth place following consecutive defeats to Osasuna and Valencia, but will not want to loosen their grip on the Champions League spot they currently hold.

The Valencian side will shoot for their first ever triumph at the Calderón. In their eight visits to Atlético’s stadium, Levante have suffered six losses and have secured draws on two occasions, reports Atlético’s official site.

Atleti meanwhile, will look to hand los Granotes their third loss on the trot ahead of their daunting trip to the Bernabéu next weekend.

Just four points clear of the relegation zone, a stumble against Levante will leave Manzano and his crew treading on quicksand before the Derby.

Questions ahead of the match:

  • Would a loss to Levante coupled with a defeat to Real Madrid next weekend finally be the death knell for Manzano’s second stint with Atlético?
  • Will Adrián and co. be able to pick apart Levante’s stout back line?
  • Will we see a motivated version of Reyes, or the disoriented version of the winger?
  • In the unlikely event that he should start, will Sílvio’s fragile groin hold up past the hour mark?

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Filipe Luis, Silvio, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Arda, Gabi, Koke, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Pizzi

Levante match selection:
Goalkeepers: Munúa, Navas
Defenders: Nano, Juanfran, Venta, Ballesteros, Pedro López, Cabral
Midfielders: Farinós, Pallardó, Barkero, Iborra, Welington, Xavi Torres, Valdo, El Zhar
Forwards: Koné, Aranda , Rubén

Referee: Pedro Jesús Pérez Montero

Don’t forget to submit your score over at our Prediction League section!


  • Ringo

    Well, Salvio has been successfully used as striker in Egypt, so I don’t see why he shouldn’t start in that position this time. Adrian on his side and Reyes can start on the bench.

  • 92

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XU1c7HP5Iw, should Reyes be granted a chance to start tomorrow?, and moreover, should he stay with Atleti for the rest of the season? , I think the video speaks for itself, Reyes is a player with an inmense talent for football, the only problem is his stance, when he wants to play on behalf of the team he is an unstoppable but, when he is aphatetical its best for him to stay on the bench, anyways, in my opinion he should be a given another chance and start tomorrow if he is fit and motivated, he should start alongside Adrian so that the team has more volume offensively and Adrian is not too isolated upfront, I wonder what does Manzano has in mind, given that Falcao is obviously out I wonder who’s he line, Salvio looks a strong candidate to start, but as I said if Reyes is fit and motivated I think he should start, while Salvio has been doing a great job in friendlies, they are just friendly games and tomorrow we have a very important match, and Salvio hasn’t yet start a game in La Liga, I guess that’s gonna be a mystery until tomorrow, anyways, I have mixed feelings, while I want Atleti to win tomorrow and start recovering from the bad results I also want Manzano to leave the club for good because I think the team is going nowhere with Manzano in charge, but I made my choice, I want Atleti to win tomorrow and I think we’re gonna win tomorrow with Adrian doing a great performance, FORZA ATLETI!!!.

  • starvs

    I want to see Adrian, Toto, Reyes, Turan, and Diego all on the field, although I’m sure it’ll probably only be four of them with Mario and Gabi

    Questions feature along with the match selection is a nice addition.

    That commercial is hilarious although don’t understand it fully, doesn’t matter though.

  • 92

    Yeah, it’s really a mystery who’s gonna start alongside Adrian upfront, it would be nice if Manzano plays with a 4-4-2 system, with Koke and Diego, it would be a very dynamic midfield, with Turan and Salvio in the left and right wings respectively, and Adrian and Reyes upfront, I think that formaton would be just what we need to beat Levante, although as Starvs says, Manzano is gonna play conservative, with 2 pivots, Mario and Gabi, (at least Tiago is not gonna play but who knows with Manzano, what a character he is), Diego as the creative midfielder, Turan on the left wing, Adrian as the main striker and Salvio/Reyes/Pizzi on the right wing but moving constanly upfront to aid Adrian over the course of the match, I’m looking forward in case Reyes/Salvio/Pizzi start, to see how they perform, this could be a decisive match for the three of them in hopes of staying with the team, we all know Pizzi is short of time in order to be signed permanently, Salvio hasn’t feature that much and with the possible arrival of Shaqiri that’s gonna mean that he is gonna feature even less or even be sold or loaned again, and Reyes, he has fell out at of favor recently and a good exhibiton from him would vindicate him again and straighten things up with the club.

  • palc

    If Tiago starts this game, Im gonna kill myself.

  • I’d like to see Reyes start…

  • Ringo Schut

    I’d like to see something like this as the used formation:
    Courtois; Silvio, Perea, Dominguez, Filipe; Mario, Koke, Diego; Adrian, Salvio, Arda.
    Rotation between the attackers and perhaps Diego.

    Hard to predict if Reyes will start, though, probably between him and ‘Toto’, depends mostly on how much Reyes r*ped his own chances. My vote goes to the Argentine, though.

  • Ringo Schut

    I think Reyes should be used as pinchhitter until he’s gone.

  • 92

    I think Perea should play as RB and Godin as the other CB alongside Alvaro, don’t forget Silvio has an hernia/pubalgia and if he plays tomorrow he is not gonna be able to play againts Madrid and were gonna need him.

  • atletisrael

    If Manzano is gonna start with Perea on the right wing it will be against real no? I think Juanfran will start on the back because there are only 5 defenders on squad, Manzano played him on Cairo for a reason.

    Another thought will be starting with Pizzi and salvio

  • atletisrael

    Because they combined well in Egypt.

    Free Koke!

  • 92

    Maxi scores for Liverpool!

  • AtletienPhila

    Tiago gets the start when Gabi is ruled out. Why not Koke??

  • Ringo

    Koke is the new Zoidberg

  • Ringo

    Diego just won finish of the season, I can already cast my vote for his 3-1.

  • DJ_ZA

    I heard the collective sigh of relief.