Match preview: Mallorca vs. Atlético

Simeone wary of "intense" opponents as his side looks for second league win in a row

atletico madrid's mario suarez takes on mallorca winger gonzalo chori castro

Atlético's Mario fends off Mallorca's 'Chori' Castro

Atlético find themselves in the Balearic Islands at present, where they arrived on Friday a day after sailing through to the Europa League quarter-finals by convincingly dispatching their Turkish foes Beşiktaş in Istanbul.

While surely los Colchoneros would love to be on vacation at the oft-described Spanish paradise right about now, the reality is they are scheduled to take on local side Mallorca at 16:00 CET on Sunday at the Iberostar Stadium in Palma.

Atleti have quietly strung together a three-game win streak and have managed to banish the shameful reputation they had established in the first half of the season, that of being one of Europe’s worst travelling sides.

This is due in large part, if not wholly, to Cholo-ball, as ever since Diego Simeone arrived to institute his fiery brand of football, los Rojiblancos have gone six games unbeaten (two wins, four draws) in league competition away from the coziness of the Vicente Calderón.

The Argentine tactician prefers hombres over divas, telling ESPN Deportes as much in a short documentary feature entitled “El Cholo Simeone: Espíritu del 96” set to air in the Americas late Sunday night.

“I don’t believe good players strengthen the team; I believe players that want to win strengthen the team,” he told the American television network.

But will desire to win be enough for ‘El Cholo’s’ men on Sunday given their brutally demanding schedule of late?

Our last 11 games have come at a rate of about one match every four days, a breakneck tempo that will continue, for the most part, until the end of the season.

In order to combat the inevitable fatigue and prevent more injuries to key players from creeping up, Simeone has hinted at a heavier rotational policy, suggesting he is considering the idea of handing several of our back-ups some playing time in Palma.

“I might play Assunçao and Mérida, and I have doubts about playing Adrián,” he said in the pre-game press conference on Saturday, assuring he will wait until Sunday to decide upon his starting line-up.

“The match against Mallorca will be a very intense one. Hopefully we’ll be able to respond the way we have been.”

The Rojiblanco boss then proceeded to describe some of our opponents’ characteristics.

“They are a fast team with a lot of speed on the wings, especially through [Michaël] Pereira,” he said.

“[‘Chori’] Castro is a great executor of direct free kicks, one of Mallorca’s strengths, and at defence and in the midfield they have players with a lot of experience, so we must be very attentive.”

This match will certainly test our mettle and should give us an idea of whether or not our boys will be able to handle the grueling nature of our schedule, as last weekend’s triumph over Granada didn’t instill much confidence in the red and white faithful.

Some of our direct rivals for the fourth spot face tough challenges this match week, so a victory on Sunday will be a major boost to our hunt for a Champions League berth.

Filipe Luis will be available for this clash after serving his one-game suspension last weekend.

Antonio Lopez and Fran Merida flew to Mallorca from Madrid to take part in this encounter, while Atlético B member Pedro Martín headed in the opposite direction to once again be at the disposal of reserve side coach Milinko Pantić.

The Portuguese-speaking trio of Diego, Silvio and Tiago are once again out through injury.

Los Bermellones, currently 14th in the La Liga table, held us to a frustrating 1-1 tie at the Calderón back in October with the help of a gifted early penalty call because of an alleged handball by Sílvio in the box that obviously some of us here at AtléticoFans are still a little bitter about (Never Forget!).

Under Joaquín Caparrós, who took over for Michael Laudrup on the 3rd of October, Mallorca haven’t really achieved any level of consistency, but they will come into this bout buoyed by their spirited comeback last weekend at the Mestalla, where they fought to a 2-2 draw after conceding two goals in the first half.

Mallorca defender José Nunes had words of caution for his team-mates in case they are thinking they have an advantage over us having rested during the week while we were out securing our passage to the next round of Europa League in Turkey.

“Sometimes physical tiredness is outweighed because you feel good and are confident,” the Portuguese centre back told his club’s official website.

“We are playing at home and it is very important to take the three points against a rival who is playing well, but it will be difficult.”

Nunes then showered praise on our club’s performance under Simeone.

“The numbers are there, they are a very strong team,” he said.

“The defensive work they are doing is very good, they don’t give away cheap goals and since the manager arrived they are almost unbeaten.

“That shows the good work they are doing, but we have to impose our strengths, will and determination to win the game. We have to take advantage in areas that they aren’t so strong to try to take the three points we need.”

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

Mallorca match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aouate, Calatayud
Defenders: Pau Cendrós, Chico, Nunes, Ramis, Cáceres
Midfielders: Pereira, Nsue, Castro, Martí, Alfaro, Tejera, Pina, Tissone
Forwards: Tomer, Víctor, Álvaro

Referee: Javier Turienzo Álvarez

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

  • Javi Lozoya

    Saúl yes sir!!!, that kid gets me so excited, he is very promising, hope he gets some minutes tomorrow. Him, Koke, and Pedro are the future of Atleti.
    It’s gonna be a good match, Mallorca isn’t a very strong opponent but should make things for us a little complicated. Fernando Tissone is a great player in my opinion, I’d like to see him at Atleti next season, Sergio Tejera is quite good too, he is labeled as the next Borja Valero, and Tomer Hemed is a good player too, he already scored against us and therefore is gonna be complicated but I’m sure we will eventually win.
    Aupa Atleti Siempre!!!

  • ratchet

    Fabrice Muamba is currently fighting for his life after he had a heart attack on the pitch in the FA cup clash between Tottenham and Bolton. I hope he can pull through and play again. He is a promising young England star, and the news has been quite a shock to me. Hope Atletico win tomorrow but I’m more worried about Muamba.

  • Javi Lozoya

    Yes, Muamba’s incident has been really make all the football world sad, I didn’t saw the incident but there’s no doubt is just horrible to hear about it. Hope Muamba recovers successfully and that incidents like this stop from happening in all sports. Very very sad about Muamba. I wish him well too.

  • Javi Lozoya

    By the way, I totally forgot about our players at Rayo. Diego Costa scored a goal and gave an assist. He has now scored 5 goals in 6 matches and he is just 1 goal away to tie his tally of 6 goals with Atleti. Very impressive performances from Diego Costa. I think that he would be quite good as backup for Falcao but is the never ending story with him regarding his EU passport. Joel and Pulido played too, and kept a clean sheet and unfortunately promising Dani Pacheco didn’t play :(. I’m telling you, that kid got potential and can become a great player if only he gets playing time.

  • shlomgar

    I’m thinking today is gonna be painted red, white and blue!!!
    Aupa Atleti!
    Guys some of you wrote some stuff about de Gea couple of days ago, I’d like to say I’m not in the same mind. De Gea was and still is a quality GK and a Rojiblanko in flesh and spirit. I hated his decision to leave but understood his desire. I almost cried when I read his letter of goodbye and waiting for him to return.

    His departure was a good financial decision because it left us with a proven goalie on board. His price was second to only Buffon, and he never looked like rushing into it like Kun. On top of it all, if his performances in Premiere League continues to be bad, he’ll be on his way back in no time.

  • shlomgar

    One more thing. I’m trying to find a price for a trip to derby day 11.4 . I’m currently travelling alone so if someone is thinking of coming let me know I’ll be happy to join forces.

  • ratchet

    @ Shlomgar, that will probably cost about €70. I cant come cos im in the business end of my GCSE’s 🙁

  • shlomgar

    Tnx Ratchet, can you tell me of a good place to purchase online? Lowest I’ve found by now is 150€.

  • ratchet

    I cant find the €70 ones but there are €95 ones on sale from this website. I’ll have another look for the €70 ones.

  • Hey guys sometimes the things u buy online can be a rip off so be careful. I am not saying it is i am saying it could be.

  • shlomgar

    I know what ur saying, this site looks legit, Tnx. If you know any better I’ll be happy to know.

  • yetik

    from what you fans commented on all the games after el cholo got the job, i saw that you liked to see the team fighting for each other, which you couldn’t find any when manzano was in charge. but now i couldn’t find any holding up or sharing ball. what the team doing is now direct long passing without any real idea. always watching adrian or salvio or juanfran run run run. they are, especially adrian, playing effeciently but it’s important not to run but to make the ball run. giving adrian tight zonal marking will completely stop atleti. i agree that the team defence is perfect but for offense, i can’t say the same thing. if you’ll play like this, diego and arda are not the players of that philosophy. to get their maximum, to see their creativity or flair you should play the game at opponents half with high defensive line and share the ball when other players always moving into channels or showing up themselves. make a lot of options to be passed and then see what arda and diego are capable of doing.

  • yetik

    if don’t, sell arda or don’t make an offer diego and transfer someone else pacey with good level of fitness

  • Alvares

    Why is Arda not in the pitch ?

  • Alvares

    @ Yetik

    Sell Arda ? Are you 100% ???

  • ratchet

    its 2-0 Mallorca. Atletico needs to sort this out. If we dont win this we should forget about CL. This has to change. Its not acceptable.

  • ratchet

    Mallorca are down to ten men but falcao missed a penalty. Game over now.

  • AIIM


  • palc

    Falcao better start proving why he cost €40 mill. My patience is running out.

    Now we have three LL fixtures we should/have to win aganinst Bilbao, Zaragoza and Getafe.