Match preview: Atlético vs. Barcelona

Sunday's clash at the Calderón could have major implications on either club's season

Messi hit three past Atlético earlier in the season  (Getty Images Europe)

Messi hit three past Atlético earlier in the season
(Getty Images Europe)

All eyes will be fixed on the Vicente Calderón on Sunday (21:30 CET), where Atlético will square off against a Barcelona side fighting for a chance to retain their Primera División crown.

With a Champions League berth well-within their grasp, los Colchoneros will be inspired to make a bold statement against the reigning European Super Cup champions.

Los Rojiblancos suffered a heavy-handed defeat at the Camp Nou back in the fifth match week of La Liga.

The 5-0 thrashing at the hands of the Blaugrana seemed to sap Gregorio Manzano’s men of all their confidence, as, prior to that drubbing, the team had been flying high and coming off of a three-game win streak that included back-to-back 4-0 victories over Racing and Sporting.

Evidently plagued by the mental blow of that huge defeat, the team suffered a precipitous decline in form and went winless for over a month, never regaining their early season lustre.

That is, until ‘El Cholo’ came along to right the ship following Manzano’s sacking.

Diego Simeone has sparked life and intensity back into what had been a beleaguered squad, leading the club to an incredible run of nine matches without a loss.

The swagger is back.

The players have bought into Simeone’s patented warrior mentality, fighting tooth and nail for every ball, for every inch of space on the pitch.

This hasn’t only been reflected by actions on the playing field, but off the pitch as well, as evidenced by Tiago’s – pardon the hyperbole – now legendary Hombres pre-game ritual and such remarks as Koke’s pledge to “fight to the death on the field for Cholo”.

This weekend’s clash will likely serve as a barometer of what the future holds for Atleti, a make or break sort of game so to speak, though Cholo doesn’t really see it that way.

“It’s an important match, but there aren’t more than three points up for grabs in this encounter,” he told reporters at Saturday’s pre-game press conference.

When asked by our good friend Garreth Nunn of Madrid Atléticos if he’s worried that Barça could come in and destroy all the hard work and progress achieved thus far, Simeone shot back with a resounding “No”.

El Cholo also seemed little concerned with the injury blow to midfield architect Diego, and doubts surrounding the availability of Arda Turan, who sustained yet another muscle strain in our midweek match against Lazio, assuring that all substitutes “have responded well”.

The Rojiblanco hero affirmed he would not alter his approach because of the opponent at hand.

“We’re going to play the same way we have been, trying to be a compact team that will attempt to close out spaces for a team with huge potential, and search for our possibilities when it comes to how to attack,” he said.

“It will be difficult, because of the characteristics of Barcelona’s game, to attack them with speed.”

Simeone enlisted all the manpower at hand for this bout, submitting a 20-man match selection on Saturday that marked the return of Fran Mérida to an Atleti squad list.

Antonio López and Diego were the only ones not included as they continue their recovery from their respective injuries.

Atleti will look to return to serving their role as the thorn in Pep Guardiola’s side. Last season, the Culé boss achieved his first win at the Calderón in three tries in league play, having suffered defeats in the previous two campaigns.

Due largely to their poor away form this season, Barcelona sit 10 points out of first place in the league standings behind bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Anything less than three points against us will spell the death knell for Barça’s hopes of continuing their three-year reign as the kings of La Liga.

Our bolstered back line will certainly be tested by a Lionel Messi coming off a four-goal performance versus Valencia last week.

The Argentine phenom bagged a hat-trick in our 5-0 loss back in September, and has scored 17 total goals in his career against us, his favourite prey, all of which have been compiled in a video posted by some jerk here.

But, there’s really no need to fear the three-time Ballon d’Or winner, as our loopy club president told the Catalonia-based ONA FM radio station Friday, “Messi is one of the best in the world, but if he scores a hat-trick, then we’ll score four goals.”

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Sergio Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Filipe Luis, Sílvio, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Arda Turan, Assunçao, Gabi, Fran Mérida, Koke, Juanfran,
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Pizzi

Barcelona match selection: TBA

Referee: Miguel Ángel Pérez Lasa

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

  • Veiko

    WE WILL WIN !!!!

  • Snormac

    Hi guys.Could you please give my Diego video a view.Thanks! 🙂

  • falcao


  • Erwinito

    @ Snormac, Nice video and what a great player, hope he stays next season 🙂

  • Snormac

    Thanks Erwinito 🙂

  • falcao


  • Snormac

    Thank you Falcao and hoping for a massive performance against Barca tomorrow 🙂

  • falcao


  • Solari

    I’ve never been that obtimist when playing against barcelona before…..

  • @Snormac, what a great video.
    Attention all Atleti Fans……
    Give Snormac video a view but lets do it at the same time so it will have at least a hundred views. How about tomorrow after the barcelona game????
    Please reply

  • @Martin Rosenow!!!!! the ass who uploaded the video of messi’s dotish goals is a person by the youtube name
    ‘ulysessuper’ big stupid jackass!!!!!!! him
    Aupa Atleti
    Marin not you that ‘jerk’ who uploaded the video

  • ratchet

    i dont mean to ruin things but ive got a bad felling bput tomorrow

  • Snormac

    Thank you Randy 🙂

  • @Ratchet Why????

  • No probz Snormac

  • Javi Lozoya

    Good challenge for Simeone and the team. See if he decides to attack Barcelona or wait for them. Either way the Catalans aren’t gonna have it easy. It’s gonna be an awesome match. Hope we win.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Espanyol lost against Levante, so this is the perfect opportunity to climb on the table.

  • Hey Javi L youre right i f we beat Barca we can reach up to 4th ent???

  • palc

    “If we win tomorrow then we will be in 4th”. I think I’ve heard that before.. The difference this time is that we aren’t expected to win tomorrow unlike those other games we should’ve won against, Racing, Valencia and Sporting. So maybe this time we’ll win? That is, after all, the Atletico-logic.

  • ratchet

    @Randy German, With barca beating valencia 5-1 and the league on the line, they are gonna be up for it. We had all this last time, and we lost 5-0. I just hope i am wrong.

  • shlomgar

    Hey Ratchet, chin up man. I’m not confident about a win either but I’m excited about the game so much that I’m inviting all my Barca fan friends to watch it at my place. Even if we lose I’m sure the guys will do that in style, and we’ll all be here tomorrow saying “what a game”.

    Aupa Atleti! Give the litttle Argentine rat Hell!!!

  • Veiko

    rayo vs. real game is also very important, because if rayo should win or draw, barca would get a big big energy boost.

  • leika

    Beautiful goal from Ronaldo. Hope to see us winning tonight!!! ATLEEETI!!!

  • starvs

    Cannot wait until this game, would be amazing to move into 4th after beating Barca when we failed to do so against Racing and Sporting.

    Solid video Snormac, Diego has be real quality this season, we need him to stay for a long time.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Since when you guys celebrate Madrid’s goals?. That’s not cool. I thought we was not supposed to talk about Madrid and worry about Atletico only, yet you celebrate Madrid goals, and when I criticized Madrid everybody was like; “why you talking about Madrid?, we should worry about Atleti?, blah, blah, blah,”, quite ironic isn’t it.

  • leika

    Oh c’mon, chill out! I was just saying that Ronaldos goal was beautiful and something you won’t see every day. And as Veiko said, Reals win might help us a bit or I should say dismotivate Barca a little.
    Anyways I hope to see us smash Barca or even if we loose then with an impressive and emotional performance. I would like Koke to step up tonight and a solid performance from our defenders.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Ronalda plays for Madrid period, I don’t see how amusing is that.

  • Erwinito

    @Snormac, your welcome:-)

    @Leika, I backup Javi, how can you be amused by seeing Mister Arrogance himself score??? I can’t stand the son of a b***h.
    Even though i hope you right about demotivating Barça 😉
    Let’s go for it tonight!!! AUPA ATLETI !

  • Sweden

    Come, saying that a goal is beautiful is not the same as supporting RM.

  • Sam

    I was pretty bummed at the goal. I thought Rayo played with a great deal of heart. And had to deal with scum like Sergio Ramos. I think that regardless of whatever “boost” barca would get, I would rather Madrid lose anyways. Because a Madrid loss is always an Atleti win in some way or another

  • FancyFartPants

    falcao yes you have good skills, but no frickin control. always lose many duels,.. control the damn ball once

  • FancyFartPants

    foolish faul godin

  • FancyFartPants

    and juanfran

  • leika

    Our counterattacks are good, our passes find the strikers but they always mess up. Adrian is playing well again.

  • shlomgar

    911 911 911. Robbery at the Vicente Calderon.
    The amount of goals the referee stole from us. I hate Barca more then ever!

  • Edletico

    Same, two offsides which weren’t, handball form busquets, soo many dives. Fuck knows what to say about Messi’s goal. Linesman should be sacked

  • ratchet

    there are clear video replays showing the referee make a hand movement indicating to messi to take the free kick. there was no whistle. that is blatent cheating.

  • shlomgar

    Ratchet I thought I was only imagining it until yoy said it.I’m so pissed it was supposed to be us celebrating now!

  • Edletico

    I noticed that as well, otherwise the wall would be in place and Courtois in position. Also have to say how well all the Atletico team played and great finish from falcao