Match preview: Albacete vs. Atlético

Cup success the aim for a youthful looking Atleti

Falcao trains alongside called-up canteranos  (

Falcao trains alongside called-up canteranos

Atlético commence their Copa del Rey campaign on Thursday evening with a trip to Albacete.

On the back of two successive wins, the game against the local Segunda B outfit will serve as a chance for some of the fringe players to make an impression in the first team.

Kick off at the Carlos Belmonte Stadium is scheduled for 20:00 CET.

Just six years ago, Albacete Balompié were taking on the likes of Atlético in La Liga, but relegation last season meant a return to the third tier for the first time in two decades.

Like many clubs in Spain, they have suffered as a result of financial problems and earlier in the week it was announced that Andrés Iniesta had taken over as majority shareholder. The Barcelona playmaker recently invested €420,000 into his hometown club.

They currently sit sixth in Segunda B Group I, two points above Atlético’s B team. When the sides met in Madrid back in October, the game ended in a closely fought 1-1 draw.

Playing as a substitute for los Rojiblancos that day was top scorer Pedro Martín, who is included in the squad for tomorrow’s game as a reward for his excellent form of late.

Also called up is defender Javi Manquillo, the right-back from our Juvenil A team. Despite having never even played at reserve level, the 17-year-old has impressed behind the scenes and could even be in line for a start against el Queso Mecánico (“A clockwork cheese”).

Both players will be debuting should they make it onto the pitch, although Manquillo joined the team on last month’s trip to Cairo and, like Pedro, spent pre-season training with Manzano’s squad in Los Ángeles de San Rafael.

Rested for the trip are Radamel Falcao, Diego Godín, Luis Amaranto Perea, Gabi, Filipe Luís, Diego Ribas and Mario Suárez, all of whom featured in Sunday’s win over Rayo.

Suspended for that game were Arda Turan and Thibaut Courtois, and the two will also sit out the trip to Castile-La Mancha. Right-back Sílvio continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Jorge Pulido is set for his first start since May, whereas ‘keeper Sergio Asenjo will make his third consecutive appearance ahead of Joel.

Another player in contention is José Antonio Reyes. Rumours of a move to Galatasaray have become increasingly stronger this week, but the winger is included in the squad.

The Copa is a tournament that Manzano has always taken seriously, having reached the semi-finals in two of the last three seasons and even winning it with Mallorca in 2003. He spoke ahead of the game in a press conference on Wednesday.

“Our aim is to go as far as possible in the Copa del Rey,” he said.

“We will take the game very seriously, as every year you see surprises.”

Alba manager Antonio Gómez admitted that his team go into the game as underdogs, but remained upbeat on their chances of an upset.

“We will tackle the game as a prize,” he stressed.

“If the tie was a single match it would be different, but over two legs Atlético have a 70-75% chance of progressing.”

The return match will take place on December 21st at the Vicente Calderón.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Joel, Asenjo
Defenders: Antonio López, Domínguez, Miranda, Pulido, Manquillo
Midfielders: Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Assunção, Koke, Juanfran
Forwards: Adrián, Pizzi, Pedro

  • Javi Lozoya

    Javi Manquillo and Pedro Martin!, I fucken knew it!, It’s so AWESOME!!!.

  • javi

    I would go with:


    Pulido Manquillo Dominguez Lopez

    Reyes Asuncao Koke

    Adrian Pedro Pizzi

  • Javi Lozoya

    I’ve waitin’ for this kind of matches since the beggining of the season, I’m so lookin’ forward for this match, also, we been really close to win the Copa, two seasons agon we were really close, freakin’ Sevilla, we almost won the double (Europa League and Copa Del Rey), and last year we were so close, stupid Madrid, they always fuckup things for us, anyways.
    I’m glad that Joel, Pulido, Manquillo and Pedro Martin were call up, specially in Joel and Pulido cases, I think Joel should start this match, some people say he made mistakes during the preseason but in the Europa League he was quite good in my opinion, and he did nothing wrong in those matches, I prefer him over Asenjo, Asenjo got plenty of chances and he waste them, it’s Joel’s turn now.
    And Pulido, he is a promising player and he stll needs to learn things but, he needs to play,and besides Godin has been fucking awful, at least with the Atleti jersey, thank God he wasn’t call for this match, and so, Pulido deserves a chance ahead of awful and tragicomedy defender Godin.

    So my line up would be; Joel, Manquillo, Pulido, Alvaro, Antonio Lopez as the back four, Koke and Assuncao as the double pivot, Reyes and Salvio as right and left winger respectively, and upfront; Adrian and Pedro Martin.

  • javi

    I was thinking of using Joel also, but I think Asenjo needs more playing time to get more confidence. yes Joel needs it too but he is far behind asnjo and I think they should lend Joel out in January. By the way, Asenjo has not wasted any opportunities, hes played great every chance he gets.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Asenjo already wasted his chances 2 years ago, that’s why De Gea send him to the bench, now is Joel’s turn.

  • 7th

    I would use asjenjo in this match, then use joel in our home game.

    I would use this formation



    manqulio pulido domin antonio lopez


    koke reyes

    salvio adrian pizzi/pedro

  • Javi Lozoya

    If Joel doesn’t play in this match then probably he is not gonna play against Espanyol, so it’s best for him to play tomorrow. I respect Albacete but I don’t think they’re gonna be a tough opponent although if Football everything it’s possible, just like when Madrid got trashed by Alcorcon, ha, ha, but then again, I think Albacete is not quit gonna be a tough opponent.

  • javi

    Javi L, that was two years ago I agree with you on that. But Joel actually got a chance, more than one, this year and he wasted them. Asenjo is the man now.

  • Javi Lozoya

    I agree that Asenjo deserves some chances but so does Joel, Joel has played a little more than 5 matches, Asenjo has played over 17 matches without really being quite convincent, at least that’s what I think, so saying Joel has got a chance it’s true, but as I said, Asenjo has been granted MORE chances than Joel and I don’t see much quality in Asenjo to be honest.

  • javi

    Before his injury Asenjo was the u-20 starting goalie for Spain and looked great. He was also starting goalie for Spain u-17 and U-19, and saved two penalties in a game against France in 2007. I think if his health holds up he will regain his form.

  • Javi Lozoya
  • Javi Lozoya

    Shaqiri assists Marco Streller to open the score against Man. United, the first half his almost over with Basel winning 1 nil against United.

  • javi

    Its a good problem to have. Other teams wish they had either Joel or Asenjo.

  • Ringo

    I’d pick these:

    Asenjo; Manquillo, Miranda, Pulido, Lopez; Tiago, Koke; Juanfran, Salvio/Adrian, Pizzi, Reyes.

    But, I think Juanfran will start as RB and Adrian or Assuncao to start instead.

    I’d pick my formation, to keep Dominguez fresh for the weekend and the same goes for either Adrian or Salvio.
    Koke won’t start in the competition, so he should play this whole game, in my opinion. Perhaps he could prove himself in the eyes of Manzano and get one half in the weekend.

  • palc

    Fuck man. This Shaqiri guy. GET HIM. SELL REYES GET SHAKIRI.

  • Javi Lozoya

    2 assists from Shaqiri, man of the match, Basel eliminates Man. United from advancing to the quarterfinals,for those who said Shaqi is not good enough and that only ’cause of his “youtube” videos he is not good enough, he is more than qualified to succeed Reyes, so Shaqiri is more than welcome at the Calderon, hopefully Caminero, Cerezo and Gil hurry the fuck up and sign him, or else were gonna fucking regret it, I said it before and I’ll it again, What a fucking great player Shaqiri is, and if he is indeed signed, I have no doubt that he will kick as on the right/left wing.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Welcome to Atletico de Madrid Shaqi!, the number 10 jersey awaits for you boy!.

  • Mais

    why r we gettin gypped on reyes’ sale? the last thing we need is for shaqiri to draw more attention from other clubs when we arent flush with cash..or at least im assuming we arent

  • Javi Lozoya

    Man. City is out of the Champions League, United as well, and also Ajax, Valencia, Victoria Plzen, Porto, Olympiakos and others, also, these teams have qualified automatically to the Europa League knockout stages, therefore we might face one these teams in the Round of 32, and in case we win our group, we might not face Man. City or United, Olympiakos and Valencia, but rather Plzen, Ajax, Trabzonspor and/or Porto, and personally, I would like for Atleti to face Porto and eliminate them,because I’ve seen a lot of Porto supporters talking shit about Atletico because of Falcao, and so I would like to shut them up and show them that Atleti is bigger, better and greater than Porto.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Obviously with today’s performance, Shaqiri is indeed gonna draw more attention, Basel just eliminated the greatest team on the UK, Manchester United, so I pray that the “agreement”, “contract”, or whatever it is that Shaqiri has with Atleti is 100% true, I honestly doubt it, but again, I pray that Shaqi is indeed gonna be an Atletico de Madrid player in 2012.

  • Mais

    i hope so too…i have this bad feeling that if we dont, there will be consequences for the remaining matches of the first half of the season…villarreal will 100% bolster their squad during the break, and we have yet to face malaga, and we need those points damnit

  • palc

    Shaqiri is owned by Jorge Mendes. Doesnt Mendes owe us something for the Falcao/Micael deal and Julio Alves?

  • Javi Lozoya

    I’ve heard that Shaqiri is “owned” by Jorge Mendes before and I’m not sure if it’s quite true ’cause I checked on transfermarkt and Shaqiri’s rights are ownened by a different license than Jorge Mendes, I’ve also checked the players Jorge Mendes that represents and Shaqiri is not one of them. Trasfermarkt should be a reliable source but you never know, Jorge Mendes is slick and clever, he is a mercenary, but he is very clever. Now, if Jorge Mendes does represents Shaqiri, then it’s more likely that he is indeed gonna be signed by Atleti, but as I said, I’m not quite sure if Shaqiri is represented by Jorge Mendes, or if he even is close to sign with Atleti.

  • Ringo

    Well, hopefully this works out and Shaqiri will grow into a (mature) part of the team.

  • Javi Lozoya

    There’s ma’ man Ringo, what’s up man, offtopic, forget about Goossens, right now we should sign Platje, (psych!, I still like Goossens), also, I like David Teixeira (he has the potential to become into the next Luis Suarez, interestly enough, Suarez began his European career in Groningen), and Matias Jones, also Abdisalam Ibrahim and John Guidette are two jewels, “property” of Man. City, hopefully Mancini takes good care of these players when they come back, because they’re really promising, I’m sure you hear about him, and I would like to hear your opinion regarding these players, btw, I know Platje just recently joined NEC Nijmegen this summer, and it’s quite great what he has acomplish so far since he came from the Dutch second division.

  • atletisrael

    Have you all noticed the possible all Atleti backline!!! I haven’t seen Pulido and Manqui yet but a look of the past, present and future of the club all on D aspect of the squad… Thrilling!

    I agree with javi about the lineup, a bit of experience, a lot of tallent and some experimental thinkig. This is how you play cup games!

  • Ringo Schut

    I still have not seen a lot of Eredivisie football, but I believe Guidetti needed some time to adapt, but I’m not really convinced by what I did see.
    Teixeira’s apparently pretty talented, but I guess he needs to prove himself at Ajax or something, in European football, the Eredivisie is at a pretty low level.

    Platje you should not get.
    If you’re already annoyed by Reyes’ mental issues, Platje seems to be way worse, he fought with some fans after a game, for example.
    He’s got a pretty good shot, but I don’t think he’ll be a great player in the future.

  • ratchet

    oh. my. god. we’re actually losing to a crap team. if we dont come back and win, mazano HAS to go.

  • ratchet

    so adrian misses a penalty. now weve got an unreliable forwars AND a crap manager. We better win this…

  • Matthijs

    Manzano is shit, with this team we need to play better! We have only played one good match, that was against Udinese B! We don’t create any changes againt fucking Albacete!

    Adrian can miss a penalty, I don’t blame him!

  • Javi

    he just redemmed himself 2-1.
    Wy did Reyes not start? and in place he has Juanfran?

  • ratchet

    WE FUCKIN LOST!!! What the hell is happening. Were on the verge of going out of the copa del ray in the first round, and we cant win more than 2 games in a row. any other team would have won

  • AtletiFanInPhilly

    Reyes’ move to Turkey seems imminent. Hasta luego, amigo…?

    It is a good thing Atleti scored one goal. They can now win 1-0 at Calderon to move on.

  • Javi

    Actually, I kind of hope that we loose the next couple of games so we get rid of manzano and bring in Aragones.