Match preview: Osasuna vs. Atlético

Can Atlético make it two-in-a-row on the road?

Adrián will have Falcao's company against  Osasuna this time (Reuters)

Adrián will have Falcao's company against
Osasuna this time (Reuters)

Atlético make their way back to the North of Spain a week after roaring to a 4-0 victory over Real Sociedad in San Sebastián, their first away win of the season in Primera División play.

Los Colchoneros will be looking to string together back-to-back road triumphs when they take on Osasuna in Pamplona on Monday.

Kick off at the Reyno de Navarra is set for 21:00 CET.

Atlético winger and right-back Juanfran, who spent 2006 through 2010 with los Rojillos, warned ahead of the clash that it will not be an easy one.

“Winning at the Reyno de Navarra is very difficult, but if we do things well and we work as a team I’m sure we are going to get the three points,” the 27-year-old told reporters in a pre-game press conference.

“It would be an important win, because it would move us further up the table, would give us more confidence and mean the fans are going to continue giving 100 per cent for the team.

“They are going to be happy.”

It’s certainly true that the Rojiblanco faithful are at their highest of spirits thanks to their club’s impressive run of form ever since Diego Simeone replaced Gregorio Manzano on the coaching bench.

Well, that isn’t quite accurate. ‘El Cholo’ has spent little if any time at all on the bench while coaching his squad through their current three-match unbeaten streak in which they’ve taken seven out of nine points and have not conceded a single goal.

In stark contrast to his predecessor, throughout the match the Argentine tactician can be seen in motion on the sidelines yelling out instructions and issuing orders to his players.

Simeone will look to wield his wand again and conjure up enough magic to defeat a side that has only lost once at home in the current campaign, and who we were unable to beat at home in our La Liga opener.

The Atleti through-and-through man has not shied away from revealing his line-up plans ahead of our matches.

We can fully expect El Cholo to roll out the squad composed of the regular starters he trained with throughout the week, which included the following 11 players: Courtois, Filipe, Godín, Miranda, Juanfran, Tiago, Mario, Arda, Koke, Adrián and Falcao.

Any variations to that selection, arranged in the same 4-2-3-1 formation deployed at Anoeta, will be a big surprise, with the only changes from a week before being Tiago in for a suspended Gabi, and Koke in replacement of playmaker Diego, also out through a one-match ban.

Cantera enthusiasts will be pleased at Simeone’s decision to call up Atlético B striker Pedro Martín for this encounter.

Reserve squad coach Milinko Pantić, in praise of the youngster he feels is more than ready to step up to the task, told reporters on Sunday: “Pedro has some of the stuff Torres had”.

The 19-year-old was handed his debut appearance on the first team back on the 8th of December in our 2-1 loss to Albacete in the Copa del Rey, but has not featured in any of our match selections since.

Antonio López, through injury, and Sílvio and Joel, through tactical decision, will stay behind in Madrid.

New Year’s blues for los Rojillos
2012 hasn’t been quite as generous for Osasuna as it has been for their Monday night rivals. In five games since the turn of the New Year, José Luís Mendilibar’s men have lost three and drawn two.

Despite the slump, they remain a point ahead of us in the league standings with 27.

Historically a very tough home side, in three straight matches at their stadium in both league and Copa del Rey action, los Rojillos have been unable to come out victorious, losing to Barcelona and Racing Santander before drawing level with Valencia last weekend.

In their fourth consecutive game in Pamplona, Mendilibar assured his squad “will not sit and wait” for their opponents.

“We will try not to let them play,” he said.

“We’ll surely have our chances and we’ll have to score on any of those that we get. We can’t make any mistakes, because they’ll be breathing down our necks to prevent us from having time to create plays.

“They will foul us, they will stop the game, but it’s their way of defending.”

The Basque coach left Ricardo, Raitala and Rubén off his 18-man selection for this game through tactical decision, while Masoud, Echaide, Kike Sola, Roversio and former Atlético Ibrahima Baldé are unavailable through injury.

Atleti midfielder Raúl García, on-loan with his hometown club through the end of the season, will suit-up for Osasuna and face off against his Rojiblanco pals.

The 25-year-old has had a sensational 2011/12 campaign thus far, leading his team in assists with five and even contributing in the goalscoring department with four goals.

Earlier in the week, Raúl told the media: “I will not play thinking about trying to prove something, because I’m aware of [my abilities] and of what I’ve done so far.”

He continued: “It’s a special match because they are my former team-mates and it’s the club I belong to, but I always wish the best for the team I am on.”

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Sergio Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Filipe Luis, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Arda Turan, Paulo Assunçao, Koke, Juanfran
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Pizzi, Pedro Martín

Osasuna match selection:
Goalkeepers: Andrés Fernández, Asier Riesgo
Defenders: Marc Bertrán, Miguel Flaño, Satrústegui, Sergio, Lolo, Damiá
Midfielders: Cejudo, Lamah, Nekounam, Puñal, Raúl García, Timor, Calleja, Annunziata
Forwards: Lekic, Nino

Referee: Pedro Jesús Pérez Montero

Head over to the AtléticoFans Prediction League to give us your prediction for Osasuna vs. Atlético!

  • shlomgar

    I must admit Osasuna has allways been my second favorite in spain. I wish for a 3-1. Two for Falcao and one for Adrian (with a Koke assist) and one for R.Garcia. I’ll allways love this chump no matter what.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Nice to see Pedro Martin called up for this match, the kid is very promising so much that Pantic even said that Pedro has details similar to Torres, hope he plays some minutes, and now that we’re gonna face Raul Garcia for the first time since his arrival at Pamplona I have to say that no matter what people say about him he was always an important player for us, with him on the pitch we qualified for Champions League twice consecutively and won 2 titles, he isn’t an elegant player like Xavi, Zidane, or Javi Martinez but he had the courage and determination to defend the colors of Atleti like no other, and he is a true Atletico. Grande Raúl García!.

  • Javi Lozoya

    By the way, this is gonna be an interesting mach to watch, good challenge to see how Simeone copes with the absence of Diego. Pretty much seems Koke is gonna take his place, it’s gonna be a nice challenge for Koke too to supply Diego and be the creative and orchestrator of Atleti’s attacks, I think Koke is qualified enough for that task, also, Koke’s style of play is quicker than Diego’s, Koke’s passing is deeper and he does some nice through balls, hope he plays a great match and I also hope Atleti makes two victories twice in a row, we can do it, Aupa Atleti!.

  • dgsozkan

    Last two games was very promising. Yet, Osasuna game would be more challenging. They are trying to at least qualified for EL. Still, I believe in the team Simeone created. Maybe, Diego’s absence would make the game more compelling. Yet, if we look at the bright side team could play faster without him. Let’s hope for team to keep the good form up against Osasuna.

  • Urban

    I have some worries, Pampeluna is a hard place to play…

    Koke IS NOT a proper substitute for Diego, he is rather a classical pivot than a playmaker. This is a major issue that can spoil the game for us.

    And Raul G. would be very pleased to prove something to us, I hope he will not have this satisfaction…

    And last but not least, we have no DC22 to score a hat-trick! :(((((((((

  • falcao

    if we win today champions league will be 2 points in front of us….

  • falcao
  • adlin

    can falcao make we all fans happy today? or pedro martin will be hero?

  • FancyFartPants

    arda will score winning goal or equalize in 74 minute. the djins have brought this information with their sorcery.

  • Sweden

    All i want for this match is a win, and some solid play from Koke!

  • ratchet

    sorry, dont mean to sound stupid. but i know DC is diego costa but diego plays in the number 22 shirt doesnt he?

  • ali_

    no.22 used to be DC’s shirt

  • Javi Lozoya

    Koke ISN’T a “classical pivot”, he is a centre creative midfielder, he is good at passing and creating attacks, also, he doesn’t know how to defend well just yet and he can’t takle, so I don’t know how can he possible be called a “classical pivot”, also, fyi Koke played as a left winger last match and for those of you who don’t remember he did it too last season under Quique’s tenure, and if Simeone thinks Koke is gonna good in place for Diego then I think he is right, he is the manager and knows what he is doing, nobody can’t question him, he recovered players like Tiago and Gabi despite some of you said that Tiago was useless and your grandma was faster than him, he had also converted Juanfran into a successful right back so far, and so I don’t think Koke is gonna have trouble supplying Diego and is gonna do a great performance, since he is qualified and has Cholo’s thrust and that’s all that maters, even though some of you think Koke is not qualified enough.

  • Sweden

    I have to say that one talent that Koke has that many people never pay attention to is that he is very strong, he often wins over his opponent when it comes to getting a hold of the ball and push his opponent away from him.. and he also have the creative skills that is needed to play in diego’s position..

  • shlomgar

    Wow. Have you seen this flow kick by Koke? Let’s usethis chances cause we won’t see a lot of them here

    Aupa Atleti!!

  • palc

    Godins first ever for Atletico.

  • leika

    anyone ever wondered that we have (and have had) a lot of Diegos in our team and all of them are doing (have done quite well) for us. So we should be looking players who are named Diego 😀 Even our manager is Diego 🙂

  • shlomgar

    It’s funny but there are players in our squad which I know for a fact are worthless like Miranda, Tiago and Juanfran. Somehow this genius manager/warrior makes them key players and devoted rojiblankos.

  • davidsf

    We would’ve never squeaked out a victory like that with any of our recent managers: Manzano, Quique, Resino.

    How do we make EL CHOLO be our Pep Guardiola… being that Spanish clubs always change coaches?

  • dgsozkan

    The performance maybe wasn’t as impressive as last game but still it’s a win to celebrate.Simeonehas created a habit ; winning. Third victory in a row. Most importantly two of them are away victories. After a long time , it’s good to see the team wins away games. Thanks Simeone!