Match preview: Atlético vs. Barcelona

Liga champions in town as Atleti prepare for their first Spanish Super Cup in 17 years

David Villa to take on old club in Supercopa  (Zimbio)

David Villa to take on old club in Supercopa

Competing in finals is becoming the norm for Atlético Madrid. The red and whites have played in no fewer than six over the last few years, and the familiar feeling will resurface on Wednesday as they prepare for the first leg of this year’s Spanish Super Cup.

They are also no strangers to having the odds stacked against them. After doing the hard work in May’s historic cup triumph over Real Madrid, champions Barcelona now lie in wait, and travel to the capital on the back of a rampant 7-0 win on Sunday.

Kick-off in the Vicente Calderón will again be the late time of 23:00 CET.

Atleti began their season at the weekend in similar fashion to how they ended the last, Diego Costa inspiring a late 3-1 win at Sevilla with two very well taken goals.

However, most of the preparation over the summer has been geared towards the Super Cup, and Diego Simeone will not let the chance of winning more silverware go without a fight.

Cholo is the only manager to survive from last season’s top six in La Liga, and will be met with a new face in compatriot Gerardo Martino on Wednesday, after illness forced Tito Vilanova to step down.

The former Newell’s Old Boys boss will look to build on Barcelona’s opening day demolition of Levante with an inaugural title in charge at the Camp Nou.

We could also see the full debut of Neymar in Wednesday’s first leg, with the Brazilian only starting on the bench on the weekend.

For the home side, everyone is available now that Tiago has returned from the suspension that saw him miss the trip to the Sánchez Pizjuán, meaning four players will ultimately have to be cut from the matchday squad.

Simeone commented little on team news during his pre-match press conference, although it is not anticipated that he will make any changes. He did appear to be in a buoyant mood despite recognising the sizeable challenge his team face.

“We will go into the game all guns blazing, with a lot of illusion,” he said. “It is always a great pleasure to play against Barcelona, but we have confidence in ourselves.”

“Two-legged ties are different to the normal match, 180 minutes is a lot and we need to seize the chances that we get in order to take advantage.”

As always, the Argentine technician had great respect for his opponent, in particular, Tata Martino, whom he faces for the first time in the dugout, despite many clashes on the pitch.

“Tata was extraordinary, had an incredible vision of the game. As a coach he’s done very well, with people working around him and working well as a group.”

“Barcelona are the best team in the world, they are the favourites due to their economic power and the ability to build a team that, in recent years, has pleased so many people.”

The 43-year-old hasn’t had much luck against Barça in his managerial career, though, losing three out of three against them so far. Late goals have seen the Blaugrana take maximum points in their last two visits to the Calderón, although were fortunate on both occasions.

New striker David Villa came off the bench for them in the last meeting, before making the move to Atlético over the summer as a replacement for the outgoing Radamel Falcao.

El Guaje spoke to the press on Monday following his debut in Seville, and showed no suggestions that he was going to hold back against his old club.

“I have very good friends there, but when you start the game, for them and for us, it will be the same as always,” he insisted. “If I score, of course I will celebrate. With a degree of respect, less cheerful, but you always celebrate.

“Above all I have really wanted to make my debut in the Calderón, even more so against Barcelona.”

On the other side, Martino highlighted the danger that Atleti possess, and also paid tribute to Villa, who departed shortly before he was appointed.

“Atlético are very intense, without the ball they are very comfortable but attack with pace and commitment,” he said. “In Villa they have a great goalscorer and a player I would have liked to have coached. You always want to coach great players.”

Like his opposite number, Tata also remained coy on his team selection, choosing not to disclose the list of players travelling to Madrid. Carles Puyol, Ibrahim Afellay and Isaac Cuenca are definitely out though, all currently suffering from injury.

After the match, the Rojiblancos will get straight to work in order to ready themselves for Sunday’s league visit of Rayo Vallecano, before making the long trip north for the return leg in the Camp Nou next Wednesday.

  • Easy win, obviously.

    PS I read Atleti might be interested in Eriksen… Please no.

  • Rojiblanco93

    Plzzzzzzzzz, yes!!!!!!!!!

  • Daneatl

    @ Ty Gambo, Where did you read that? I’m danish, and I haven’t heard anything about that. I think Milan wants him. I wouldn’t mind at atletico, since that would for sure mean more coverage from the danish news.

  • Estudio Estadio.

    And he has his talents, but why kill off Oli’s chances to get someone who isn’t that much further, if at all.
    He’s not a winger, either, and Koke, Leo, Arda, Oliver and even Cebolla, Adrian, Villa, Costa and Raul Garcia are enough possibilities to be able to play in a role Eriksen would be gotten for.

  • Atleetiii

    Mhm, I would like to see eriksen in atletico.. And I think that oli will gets a lot of playing time if eriksen comes. We need one more cm or cam!

  • Why would we need that?

    We have Gabi, Mario, Koke, Tiago, Garcia, Arda, Oliver for those 2.5 positions.
    Especially a young one like Eriksen would stand in the way of Oliver.

    He would only be a real reinforcement if he’d be good on the right wing and he’s not that type of player.

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes

    Hey @daneatl
    Nice to meet another dane here! As for Eriksen I wouldn’t be too phsyced about it. I just don’t think he’s that good.. But if it would be instead of Adrian I would defently consider it.

  • Jelle

    I’m also from Denmark and no we do not have space for him. I think he’s a good player but not the type we need.

  • kris

    Umm,, Eriksen?? No thanks… We got Oliver at that position who is also, in my opinion, better than Eriksen.. I would much rather bring Ljajic than Eriksen as Ljajic can play in many different positions.

  • arjit

    Eriksen over Adrian.

  • Vlad

    What about Ljajic? any news?

  • Scott

    How can you say that Óliver is better than Eriksen? Óliver hasn’t proved much yet, still he is an awesome talent. I like Óliver and I think he’ll be great for Atleti, but Eriksen is by far the better player.

    Og så er vi lige flere danskere herinde end I tror 😉

  • Atletico9

    Eriksen would be a great signing. And same will William Kvist, just for the squad because of the hard program.

    Ville være godt med lidt dansk blod i klubben igen. Så bliver vi også både omtalt og vidst hele tiden 🙂

  • Kulan

    The latest about Ljajic is that he has already signed a pre-contract with Milan, meaning that it will be really difficult to sign him. True or not? Who knows…

    And about Scandinavian signings; the swedish winger Kasaniclic (spelling??) has loads of potential..

  • Atletico9

    Earlier this season their also were some rumors about Viktor Fischer. He is also a fantastic player.

    Are we still interested in Rakatic? He played very well against us.

  • Kulan

    By the way, I totally agree with Ty Gambo. Our economy is really crappy and we have loads of talent coming out of the cantera. So if we are to buy anyone it better be a really good player that can really strengthen the starting lineup.
    I would personally have loved Capoue but he slipped through our fingers cause we didn’t have the money.
    So I think it is better to give our young players (ex Oli, Leo, Alejo, Aquino etc) the chance and save the money for a future player that can really add something right away.

  • piserakos

    we can win barca tonight… someone tell me why i believe oli is going to be at the starting line-up instead of arda?
    i agree that if we buy a player now he has too be top class player not a medio or a great talent with really high potentials..

  • kris

    Exactly, Kulan,, we already have many talents like Eriksen, why waste money on him instead of giving our canteranos a chance??? If we are to buy anyone,, buy a world class player.. But,, this signing won’t even happen,, so what the hell? LOL.

  • kris

    Oliver over Arda after that performance from Wednesday?? Sure, why not?? Arda didn’t play with all his heart,, while Oliver wants to prove to Simeone that he is a great player.

  • PS, does anyone know of an Alejo video or something? I hear a lot about him, but haven’t seen anything.

    And I’d love to see Oliver start, instead of Arda or one of the strikers might just really happen, but instead of Mario or Gabi might be my favourite action.
    But, the team might not be ready for that, yet.

  • Jelle

    I World like to see Leo in starting Line up!

  • Vlad

    Dont get me wrong, I love to see Oli play and I know he’ll be a great player in the future..

    But the fact is that now in thr present there are a lot of better players than him that we can afford..

  • Adnan khan

    Have anyone read this about oliver torres and barca?

  • Ursa Major

    Honestly, I am more worried about us not keeping Arda and all. Being a Dane, though, I would love to see Eriksen in action for Atleti. He would come very close to a perfect fit! But I don’t see how we can afford him, if we can’t afford Diego?

  • Of course there are better players that are in some way affordable. But Oliver has shown that he’s not that far from being Atleti XI quality and why are you guys so obsessed with buying new players every year. We don’t need a new 10. If anything, we could use a winger. But as I said on another article, we have good players and at the moment, getting healthy and staying alive as fast and strongly as possible should be the main issue at hand.
    We have to accept that the club won’t be able to buy a lot of players in the near future, at least not expensive ones.
    And even if Eriksen is a little better than Oliver because of experience, do we really need to spend 25m to improve maybe 5% in that position with the risk of the player not fitting at all?

    Being affordable does not mean the best thing to do.
    Let’s say I can afford to buy 10 apples a day, but I only need 2, is it still the best thing to do to get 8 more apples, just because I can afford them? That way I can brag about having more apples than the guy next to me, but in a year he can happily say he didn’t die from a glucose overdose.

    Yes, that was absolutely ridiculous, but so is getting Eriksen just because he is affordable and has more experience than the super talent Oliver.

  • piserakos

    @ty gambo i agree with you about everything…
    but oli instead of any of our dms?? against barca?? for debut??? i’m starting scarying even at the idea it’s toooo risky oli isn’t so defensive as gabi and mario and we need great defence… i think villa and costa will both play, the only way is arda out(after his last performance and all the reports which want him leave it’s probably to happen)…
    any way to win barca we have to do NO MISTAKES!! aupa aleti vamos por la supercoppa

  • Jorge

    ” is it still the best thing to do to get 8 more apples, just because I can afford them?”

    That seems to be the M.O. at the Camp Nou and Bernabeu.

    Anyway, let’s just concern ourselves with what we have–obsessing over transfer rumours is for plastic fans.

  • I didn’t mean it like that, Koke as the other defensive/central midfielder and Oliver on the same line as Arda.
    Oliver does know how to intercept pretty well, though.

    But it seems to be the same line up as we saw last weekend.

  • JohnGreece

    Jordi Alba represents Barca..a bunch of talented but immature players.

  • JohnGreece

    and of course Atletico’s answer is such a magnificent GOAL!!!!

  • AndersAT

    Great goal by Villa! Perfect counter-attack.

  • Jelle

    What a beauty!! Works class counter attack

  • marcelo

    Absolutely brilliant performance so far! Hope we keep it up.

  • Alex21

    Dirty ass volley from Villa.

  • AndersAT

    Excellet game by atletico so far. I hope we can keep Arda on the team, i love his work rate and his technique. Absolutely no reason to by new players except perhaps to add a bit of deapth in the midfield.

  • piserakos

    que goalazo?????!!!!!! fantastic david villa…. aupa aleti… keep going guys everythink is working perfect….
    what was tha corner koke?? lob the ball we have taller players… the referee kill us

  • Piserakos

    Mallenjo hicho de puta

  • yon

    Great first half performance! Poor from juanfran though lettig neymar score, sucker inside for no reason then caught ball watching

  • Chewie

    Wow, that was intense, the longest game I’ve seen for a long time. Can’t imagine that the guys will be able to show the same composure and concentration next week. But such a tactically clever game, so Cholo-like! I believe he’s giving them lessons from nature, showing videos of vultures darting down their prey, just how many people did surround Messi when he had the ball? Superb!

  • kris

    Eff that idiotic ref… Horrible La Liga refs,, man.. Horrible.. We should have won this game..

  • Vlad

    Proud of this team.. not many teams can draw with Barca..