Match preview: Real Zaragoza vs. Atlético

Atleti will be boosted by Diego's return to the squad as they head out to Zaragoza


Atlético's Diego tussles with Zaragoza's Barrera

The next stop on Atlético’s schedule is La Romareda Stadium, where los Rojiblancos will square up against a last place Real Zaragoza side banking on a miraculous late season run to avoid a drop to Segunda, a demotion they have been staving off since their return to the Spanish top flight in the 2009/10 season.

The affair, which will see former Sevilla team-mates Diego Simeone and Manolo Jiménez’ sides go head-to-head, will get underway at 12:00 CET. It will be the first of three straight lunch-time league matches for Atlético.

While los Maños are trying to scratch and claw their way out of the relegation zone, Atleti are reaching up for a top four finish.

A mid-week victory over Athletic Bilbao helped the Colchonero faithful turn the page on the letdown in Mallorca from a weekend ago, and a successive triumph on Sunday could serve as a shot in the arm of our Champions League qualification hopes.

The big news coming into this match is the return of playmaker Diego, back in the match selection following a month-long injury layoff.

“He’s working well and making a great effort to arrive at the highest level,” Simeone said in Saturday’s press conference.

“We’ll see if he can play or not tomorrow.”

‘El Cholo’, aware of Zaragoza’s gutsy victory over Valencia at Mestalla on Wednesday despite playing with 10-men for the majority of the encounter, warned:

“Because of the results we see in La Liga, all matches are complicated. We must be attentive and play with determination.”

On crossing paths with Zaragoza coach Manolo Jímenez again, Simeone said: “I know him, he’s a man with faith and his team are brave. Their needs aren’t any less than ours.

“For them, their Champions League is to avoid relegation. I never consider [my needs] more important than others’. Both teams have their necessities and we will both fight with our weapons.”

Though our Brazilian wizard is back at Simeone’s disposal again, absent from the Rojiblanco armory for this clash will be regular starters Gabi and Juanfran, both out with one-match suspensions.

Also out again are the banged-up Tiago and Sílvio, while Saúl has been included in the Atlético travelling party after being left off the squad that defeated Bilbao on Wednesday.

Though included in the initial selection, captain Antonio López was a late scratch for this trip after sustaining an injury in training on Saturday.

With regard to Juanfran and the ‘Butcher of the Calderón’s unavailability’, Cholo said “it will serve as a break for them; we need the entire squad to be competitive and this will give us the opportunity to show off our best weapons.”

He continued: “There will be youngsters that don’t get to play many minutes that will have the chance to do so now and we hope they respond the same way they have in training.”

AS reports Atlético are currently at 1,499 away goals in club history.

With the reunion of “Los Beetles del Atleti” expected to take place on the Romareda pitch, we at AtléticoFans like our chances of picking up number 1,500 on Sunday and of Radamel Falcao finding the back of the net for the fifth straight match.

Manolo will have to make-do without a trio of suspended players.

Pablo Álvarez (sent-off in the 20th minute against Valencia), Franco Zuculini (also shown red at Mestalla), and Ángel Lafita are all banned for Zaragoza.

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

Zaragoza match selection:
Goalkeepers: Roberto, Leo Franco
Defenders: Paredes, Lanzaro, Da Silva, Abraham, Obradović
Midfielders: Mateos, Edu Oriol, Juan Carlos, Dujmović, Ruben Micael, Pintér, Apoño
Forwards: Aranda, Hélder Postiga, Luis García, Barrera, Jorge Ortí

Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco

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

  • Derek Maaijen

    Leo Franco!

    Would be great if we can get goal number 1,500 on Sunday, and then a clean sheet should take care of the rest!

  • DJ_ZA

    @ Derek …… and goal 1501 – surely you’d want to get our prediction right as well (lol)

  • Davide

    I thought Ruben Micael was not allowed to play against us?

  • shlomgar

    I’m feeling this manager more than any of the last. And even more than any player. He’s so crazy on game and super calm out of it. Koke is right, we’ll put our life in his hands, follow him to battle any day.

    Diego is back, Diego Diego Diego…

    Guys look at the table it’s scarry, I think Valencia is on the sure way down, Malaga is looking as a sure CL material and we should put our best effort in being the fourth. Tomorrow’s game can take us to sixth but if Levante wins we will be far from fifth. This struggle is crazy and not at all sexy. I’m getting arrhythmia on a weekly basis.
    Aupa Atleti! Grande el Cholo! Taking it One win at a time…

  • Javi Lozoya

    Leo Franco is sure missed at the Calderon. Many people underrate him. He wasn’t spectacular but got the job done. Anyhow.

    This is gonna be quite a complicated match but still Atleti should go for the win. Good to see Saul getting called up once again. It’s really exciting to see him and that Cholo actually believes in the cantera. Hope he gets some minutes.

    And hope we win. Grande Cholo!!!, Aupa Atleti!!!.

  • Diego is back! I am really looking forward to this game! I really enjoy our football since Cholo took over, Manzano was killing it…
    But a win, and Leo Franco is missed! And one more thing, HELP ROJIBLANCOS! Is there any official homepage of an atléti online store to order atléti merchandise? I tried their but it just says “page doesn’t exsist”…:( If anyone finds out, tell me! Aupa Atléti! Three points for us against Zaragoza!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Just found out that it’s been 25 years since Vicente Calderón left us. Without a doubt the best president Atleti ever had and a great person. May he rest in peace.

  • shlomgar


  • DJ_ZA

    Does European summertime start today? Don’t want to get kick off time wrong!

  • leika

    yeah it starts today

  • Davide

    I love the club but the president history of the club is very shameful. Vicente did make the club somewhat prosperous, but he was also a right wing fascist and rasist with very close ties to General Franco. Gil was also made out of same political material but not even close to Vicentes level of fascism. Compared to them 2, Cerezo is actually a decent character, even though he is financially a nut job. I am glad that we are changing the name of our future home ground. Then i don’t need to be embarrased anymore.

  • ratchet

    uninspiring and boring

  • leika

    im feeling that it’s gonna be just another drawi

  • Where a online site can watch it on?

  • ratchet

    4 mins to save our CL hopes

  • ratchet

    oh dear godin, oh dear oh dear

  • ali_

    oh boy, what a fuckin dissapointment

  • ratchet

    we are so shit

  • Will

    Bad Godin, very bad….

  • Matthijs

    Godin, fuckin stupid!

  • Check shit nah if you missing it it is all here we lost 1-0m thanks to a penalty by apono. Our home form is good but our away form is crap. I have lost faith in OUR AWAY FORM now. Zero from me AWAY!!!

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