Match preview: Atlético vs. Albacete

Manzano set for last stand in end of year cup clash

Manzano during the first leg(

Manzano during the first leg

Atlético play their last game of the year on Wednesday evening, with Albacete visiting the Vicente Calderón in an important Copa del Rey clash.

Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, it is imperative that los Colchoneros overturn the deficit and qualify for the last 16 in what is likely to be Gregorio Manzano’s final match in charge.

Kick-off in Madrid is 20:00 CET.

Following a perilous run of form, including that humiliating defeat in Castile-La Mancha a fortnight ago, Manzano was given until the end of the year to preserve his role as manager of Atlético.

However, yet another drubbing at the hands of strugglers Betis on Sunday looks to have been the final straw for the Jaén-born tactician

Rumours today speculated that club icon Diego Simeone would resume the post in the new year, with El Mundo even claiming that he and potential assistant Mono Burgos were on their way to the Spanish capital.

The 40 year-old handed in his resignation at Argentine side Racing de Avellaneda this morning.

Regardless of any new appointment, Manzano has one last task to fulfil before stepping aside, and that is to prevent further embarrassment by reaching the next stage of the cup.

Despite tournament rules permitting only 16 players in the matchday squad, Goyo has decided to call up all available players for the game.

Sílvio will definitely miss out through injury, whereas goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has been given a leave of absence from the club for personal reasons.

Additionally, dismissal in the first leg means that Álvaro Domínguez has to watch from the stands.

Illness prevented Arda Turan from training today, but he could still have a part to play. Radamel Falcao and Diego are also in line to make their Copa debuts.

When quizzed on his future, Manzano seemed bizarrely upbeat. The 55 year-old even went as far as declaring that he hoped to see out the season on the banks of the River Manzanares.

“I feel stronger than ever,” he stated.

“I believe in my work and seek to find a solution to our problems instead of a culprit.”

“My contract runs until June 30th and I aim to see it out.”

Club captain Antonio López has also spoken out this week, and admitted that the game would be treated like a ‘final’ by himself and his teammates.

“We must reverse this situation.” he said.

“On Wednesday we have a final and we must be more united than ever,”

“Above all, we need our fans to support us as they have always done.”

Alba come into the match on the back of a  3-1 win at La Roda on Sunday, and, with the best away record in Group I of the Segunda B, will be doing all they can to finish the job in the Calderón.

Manager Antonio Gómez maintained that his team go into the game as underdogs, and admitted that the prospect is an exciting one for everybody involved at the club.

“Our intention is to enjoy the match,” he insisted.

“It will be a tough game because at home they have done well, but with the attitude shown in the first leg way we can make a stand.”

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Joel, Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Antonio López, Filipe, Perea, Miranda, Pulido
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Arda, Assunção, Gabi, Koke, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Pizzi

Referee: Alfonso Álvarez Izquierdo

Would you play our reserves like we did in the first leg, or should Manzano bring out all the big guns?

  • Big fucking guns, artillery, nuke them, show no Mercy! AUPA!

  • Ringo

    It shouldn’t matter, all these players should be able to crush Albacete players no matter what.

    I think Perea and Pulido will be dropped, due to rest/injury and ‘technical reasons’, in defense.
    And the 4 others will probably be Tiago, Juanfran, Pizzi and Koke/Mario/Assuncao, although I’d drop the following 6 (I count 22, so that means 6 have to be dropped for a Copa-game):
    Filipe (rest), Perea (rest), Tiago (useless, present and future), Diego (rest), Arda (rest) and Adrian (rest).

    And the rest should just play some football full of spirit.
    Asenjo; Miranda, Pulido, Dominguez, Lopez; Juanfran, Mario, Koke, Reyes; Salvio, Pizzi.

    Lopez could also be RB and Dominguez LB, but I think Miranda could work on the right.

    The Copa should be for the intitial second choices, time for big talents to show what they’re capable of.
    Pizzi’s time is almost over, this could be his final chance to prove he’s worth the possible price.

    If this team cannot beat Albacete, there will have to be a lot of changes, just a new coach won’t be enough, a mental trainer or something is needed as well. They can say Atleti is a big club all they want, but it’s time to show some proof! Big clubs should be able to beat teams like Albacete even when full of third or fourth choice players.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Pizzi is not worth the 15M Braga asks, not even 5M, I would rather buy Mauricio Isla for those 15M to strenghten the squad, and the only reason why Pizzi is even at Atleti on a 1 year “trial” is because his agent is Jorge Mendes, and in my opinion the club MUST desist from buying Pizzi for 15M and actually invest in other players for other areas, like a defensive midfielder and a right back, because we all know Mario, Gabi and Tiago can’t even tackle, and we really need to improve that area because we’re suffering A LOT in midfield, and we NEED A DM as of right now.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Gil cabron fuera del Calderon!.

  • Gert

    Seriously. I understand the fact that the Copa matches are good to introduce cantera and all, but it would be stupid to ‘rest’ the first team players now . It could mean the end of the tournament for us. And since it’s the last game of the year and we’re not playing until january, there is no need to rest them for physical reasons…

  • Javi

    Ringo come on we have to make sure we win this one so we need our starting players to make sure
    if we loose all hell will break out
    And Manzano wants to leave with a statement victory
    I think he will play all our starters except Silvio of course and the players will show up today. We will win by at least three and Falcao will get at least one.

  • Flo

    I want to see:

    Joel; Manquillo, Miranda, Godin, Filipe; Mario, Koke, Salvio, Pizzi, Diego; Adrián.

  • Ringo Schut

    Manquillo is not selected…
    Yeah they should win, but the names I put on ‘the sheet’ should also be able to win by at least 5 goals.
    And they could still get injured today… So there are still physical reasons.
    When you can’t even try some canteranos against Albacete, you have failed big time as a club. And I don’t want a repeat of Quique’s first season, finishing way too low because all energy is used in the copa and el, if they want to become big again, they should first focus on la liga.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Of course we have and MUST play with our starters, is the last match of the year, no reason why Manzano shouldn’t use our starters like Falcao, Diego and Turan, playing with subs and/or reserves is gonna be a very bad idea again, we already did it and we lost badly against Albacete, our reserves aren’t good enough for this kind of matches, but I also think that playing with subs and eventually lose wouldn’t be a bad idea after all, considering we have a very short squad to cope with La Liga, Copa Del Rey and the Europa League, and so getting eliminated of Copa del Rey would not be so bad after all.

  • javi

    Manzano is going out with all guns firing, Falcao, Adrian, Asuncao and all starters.
    If we get ahead by three goals I’d like to see some of the guys Ringo mentioned, but not otherwise.

  • ratchet

    Were 1-0 down…

  • marcelo

    missed the first half.Why was Diego taken off?

  • dgsozkan

    I can’t watch the game. Why we couldn’t score a goal yet ? What is wrong with the team.

  • javi

    Just when you think we suck, we play even worse. This is really pathetic. A second B team is blowing us apart in our own stadium.

  • Mais

    lets just hit rock bottom..can only go up from there

  • javi

    we are in complete disarray

  • dgsozkan

    I hope , this disaster at least lead the Manzano’s departure. He’s ruined the team.

  • javi

    its over in more ways than one.

  • Mais

    he inherited a weak team