Match preview: Barcelona vs. Atlético

Super Cup silverware up for grabs as Atleti look to conquer the Camp Nou

Messi takes on Koke

Messi to return for Supercopa second leg (Telegraph)

The first trophy of the 2013-14 season will be decided on Wednesday evening, as Atlético Madrid look to cause an upset against La Liga champions Barcelona by winning the Spanish Super Cup.

Last week’s first leg in Madrid was evenly contested but ended all square, Neymar cancelling out David Villa’s opener with the all-important away goal, putting the Catalans in pole position heading into the return clash.

Kick-off in the Camp Nou is again the late time of 23:00 CET.

On the back of a demanding pre-season, Atleti have started the campaign in style, and despite not getting the win last Wednesday, gave enough of an impression to suggest that the tie is more than open tomorrow night.

In the first half especially, Diego Simeone’s side more than matched Barcelona, and stopped them from doing what they do best: taking the lead early on in spectacular fashion. New boy David Villa showed no mercy for his former employers, sending a thumping volley past Victor Valdés to send the home fans into rapture.

However, at 1-1, the red-and-whites still have it all to do in Catalonia, and will need to score should they stand any chance of taking home the trophy.

A lot of preparation has been done though, both in the games so far and throughout the summer. Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano ensures the team make the trip north in high spirits, and also in great form, with our current run of 12 successive away matches without defeat the best in club history.

Cholo also has a full squad to choose from, with a clean bill of health to boot. All 24 first team players have been called up – Cristian Rodríguez, Óliver Torres, Javier Manquillo, Leandro Cabrera, José Giménez and Bono joining the 18 who featured at the weekend.

For the latter two, it is their first-ever involvement with the senior side, whereas Cabrera returns for the first time since May 2010, having spent the last three seasons out on loan at various second division sides.

In Simeone’s only visit to the Camp Nou as a manager so far, we were comprehensively beaten 4-1, despite racing into a first half lead. The Argentine seemed confident there would not be a repeat when speaking to the press on Tuesday, and insisted his team wouldn’t change their normal approach for the encounter.

“We go into the game with everything wide open,” he said. “Playing at [Barça’s] place with this squad doesn’t change anything. We will go there looking to compete as we always do.

“There are many possibilities for us, but we will choose the one that gives us the best chance of reaching our goal, which is to win. You can expect the same enthusiasm and competitiveness as always.”

After travelling up on the AVE on Tuesday, the 43-year-old tactician took charge of one last training session at Espanyol’s Dani Jarque sports facilities. Across town, his compatriot Lionel Messi was doing the same for Barcelona, and looks set to return to the home side’s line-up.

Much has been made of the four-time World Player of the Year’s injury in the first leg last week, in particular, Diego Godín’s apparent attempts to target his troublesome thigh injury with defensive partner Miranda.

However, his coach Tata Martino played down the Uruguayan’s actions in his press conference earlier today, as well as confirming his star man’s return to fitness.

“I didn’t see any bad intentions in Godín’s gestures, I know him well and he is a noble professional,” he said. “Messi is doing well, he trained normally with the team and has been working hard to return.”

Whether he will play from the start against Atlético is yet to be seen, although he has been included in the squad. The same goes for Brazilian star Neymar, still yet to make his full Barça debut after opening his account in the Calderón.

“Neymar could start. He’s ready, but we’ll make a decision tomorrow,” said Martino.

Definitely missing for the Blaugrana will be Adriano, who joins Carles Puyol on the treatment table. Oier and Jonathan dos Santos are also out as a result of a technical decision, and one other player will also have to drop out of their 19 man squad.

Atleti will return to Madrid straight after the match, with the draw for the Champions League group stage set to take place on Thursday, followed by a tough trip to European rivals Real Sociedad three days later.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Aranzubia, Bono
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Cabrera, Giménez, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda, Demichelis, Manquillo
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi, Óliver
Forwards: Adrián, David Villa, Diego Costa, Léo

  • EC

    So Demichelis has agreed a deal to go to Man city now according to Goal and a few english papers. around €5 Mil is reported, so i guess its great business if true.
    Hopefully we can get someone like Alderweireld in now

  • kris

    Or we can get another experienced player like Demi…

  • dircil

    i doubt if Simeone can bring Alderweireld without paying a decent amount of money for him. I’ve learnt from some online newspapers that the price tag of Alderweireld is between 10-12 million in euro and there is no chance for any club to sign him by paying under the mentioned amount of money.

  • Piserakos

    I heard it’s about 7 mil for anderveild… Let’s see, if demi leaves we have to buy another player

  • pantic#10

    Demichelis: financially this operation is a masterpiece…but he was a very good replacement for Miranda/Godin..and now we have only Gimenez on the bench.
    We pleased Pellegrini… so Manc. City could loan us Nastasic 😉
    We must buy 2 experienced central defenders, we have a lot of matches this season;
    or we could use Mario Suarez play on defense like Daniele De Rossi with Italy in the last year; could be interesting.

  • yon

    7.5 they want for Toby!

    Hopefully Cabrera is good after his loan spells, I like him!

  • Ursa Major

    10 hours.. These late games are the worst!

  • Ursa Major

    AS reports our interest in Josuah Guilavogui for 7 millions.
    Wiki tells me he is young defensive midfielder (who have debuted for the national team, also) playing for St. Etienne.
    Not really the spot we need to boost, I think..
    Does anybody know him, though?

  • Alderweireld won’t be more than 7m, his contract runs out next year and he’s not such a super big name to cost more than that.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I was surprised when I read in the papers two days ago that Cabrera has traveled with the team to Barcelona
    I didn’t know that he is still with us, I thought we loaned him again,
    what is he doing here anyway ?! .. we already have 4 decent CD and I don’t think he has any chance to play
    unless the news about Demichelis departure is true !
    but still, we can not depend on a defender who spent the last 3 years in Recreativo, Numancia & Hércules

    so if we sold Demi we must buy another CD, let’s be honest, our strongest weapon is the defense, and the fact that whenever the media talked about Atleti they only talked about Falcao, and now they only talk about Villa & Costa does not change that .. defense is our strongest line, defense is our secret to success

  • Lubo

    Well, I think that even Lele Cabrera, along with Gimenez can do a backup job very well. If Cholo would want to send Lele on loan again, he’d do that. He may have given a little faith in him, if you remember he was a shining talent back then. Some players might be just blooming later, e.g. look at “the Beast of Manzanares”, he was on loan at Celta, Albacete, Valladolid, Rayo, and the only thing he needed was playtime and trust.
    @Ahmad: it is a for sure. But maybe one, that should be taken. The most important thing is, that Lele actually played during his loans and didn’t warm the benches. He’s 22 and was a key player for Hercules last term. He might be actually quite good if he listens to Cholo’s orders.

  • Lubo

    it is A RISK for sure…

  • starvs

    I trust Cholo immensely, but not ready to say any decisions that have financial implications (keeping Cabrera as backup instead of signing someone else for example…) are under his control.

  • Ursa Major

    Cholo is the ruler of the universe. Just like Obama. Common knowledge.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @Lubo : it’s a good argument from you, bringing the example of Diego Costa

    BUT there is a big difference between their positions :
    a striker can make 10 mistakes in the game, but only 1 goal makes you forget all of them,
    while only 1 mistake from the defender could cost you the game, and that what makes me worried .. and that also what makes me believe that our 2 most important players are Miranda & Godin

    maybe we could try Cabrera & Gimenez in the cup and in some games in the league .. but Champions League is not for experiments,
    every win in CL gives you a million euros, and every draw gives you half a million .. we should never risk that money, we are desperate for every cent of it !

  • marcelo

    btw Ljajic to Roma is official now.

  • pantic#10

    Last year i followed the Ligue 1, and i saw many matches of Saint Etienne.
    Guilavogui is a good player, and all the team played a good football; i think he can be useful…but he’s young.
    We need people who already played Champions League, that they’re ready to play and help us.
    This season is sooo important for us. we must qualify again for next year CL and do the best in the CL tournament.

  • It was the strongest line when Diaz was the sole back-up, I don’t think Gimenez and Cabrera would do much worse than he did.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @Ty Gambo : Lubo had a good argument, but what you said is flawed argument,

    Cata played 9 games in La Liga last season, we lost 4 of them, drawn twice and won only 3
    imagine playing in CL with Cata, or anyone at his level

    defense was our strongest line last season not because Cata was our back-up, but because we only used him in 9 occasions!!

  • Ursa Major

    How will we cover both Messi and Neymar?
    + cesc instead of busquets. Very offensive!

    Looking forward to a great match!

  • That’s true, but I was trying to say we are not off worse than last year. We could always give the young guys a shot, would also be more profit if we win with them instead of a 7m signing. Yes a win is 1m and a draw 0.5m, but you also just paid 7m (and salary), so that has to be earned back, as well.
    I don’t think 100,000 people will buy an Atleti Alderweireld shirt from the official Atletico store.

  • piserakos

    ty gambo… it’s easy… if we want a miracle and be too competitive we must buy a decent center back. if we sell demi. if not i think cholo knows what he does he probably thinks that cabrera and the uruguayan kid are too good

  • piserakos

    aupa aleti… we make them stragle a lot we can win them

  • pantic#10

    Victor Valdes!! what a saves on Arda.
    Very difficult match. but it’s 0-0 at first half. we still can win this trophy.
    How many dives from barca players!!!

  • piserakos

    pantic am i right?? van fan coulo valdes:P

  • pantic#10

    ahahah yeah that’s why i screamed after the saves! 🙂
    we started to play better in 2nd half and another save by Valdes on Arda….
    Warming up for Adrain – Cebolla – RG8

  • pantic#10

    Arda Out – Adrian In
    only 20 minutes left. c’mon!! aupa atleti!

  • marcelo

    no matter what happens tonight the guys were great in both legs.Proud of Simeone and the boys.

  • marcelo

    …Damn Filipe!

  • pantic#10

    roja directa to Filipe

  • pantic#10

    Cebolla for Villa.
    Godin just walked on Dani Alves!
    We’re losing control.

  • pantic#10

    penalty for Barca.

  • pantic#10

    hahahahahahah and now we score yes yes

  • kris

    BS man.. Efff this away goal rule..

  • pantic#10

    finished 🙁
    we did good and bad things tonight, but we must be proud of Atleti.
    I was in Barcelona in ’96 when we lose against Barca for the supercopa; i really hoped tonight to have a revenge…
    next time 😉

  • pantic#10

    oh and btw they didn’t defeat us…..we lose the supercopa for 2 draws…

  • Athletics- Palestine

    My only concern is about Filipe Luis and arda for next game against sociedad???

  • Adnan Khan

    I agree with pantic, we played like dominant lions! Barcelona didnt get anything from us. For me this game is a win, and i have never been more proud. Well played Atleti 😀

  • kris

    I definitely have to agree with the guys above.. I don’t know what happened to Ard, but Felipe was dumb to do that. I hope we don’t see that again,, we play like men not dirty,, though.. There’s always another opportunity.. There’s still three more trophies that we can win this season.. Don’t give up hope guys,, and TRUST SIMEONE!

  • Alex21

    The only good thing from this game is that we held Barcelona. That’s it. It was sloppy from both sides and am extremely disappointed. The amount of diving was horse shit, but we did foul…a lot. The two reds shows a loss of control. Very very disappointing. I hope this doesn’t affect anything for Sociedad.

  • kris

    But, the way our team is organized is great,, and yup,, they didn’t win against us,, so there’s nothing to be proud of for Barca fans and Barca players.. Atleti are only getting better…

  • kris

    Alex, I have the same feeling as well,, but it’s not like Barca weren’t acting like l’il pussies either. Oh well,, I hope Oliver gets minutes against La Real and that nothing happens to Arda, Felipe, and Godin.. .. That match is a must win for us against Real Sociedad…..

  • layibiyi

    Barca/La_Liga fan here, Respect to your boys.

    I know we have our ‘agitators’, but y’all didnt need to lose control like the other ‘madrid’.

    You could have put us under a lot of pressure in that last 10 mins you lost control, like other top teams have done. But damn, y’all have arrived on the big stage.

    Can’t wait for the game at anoeta

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    my brother from Palestine, the rules of Spanish Football Federation say that if the suspension is less than four matches it should be done in the same competition

    so as both Arda & Filipe are suspended for 1 match, it will be done in the next super cup, not in La Liga
    just like what happened with Adriano who has been sent off in the second leg of last season’s super cup against Real Madrid and because of that he missed the first leg of this season’s super cup at the Calderon

  • piserakos

    will figure out this on sunday…xD….
    proud of our boys we were better than barca’s joke and we could even lift the trophy… if we play like this at la liga against them i will be happy… the only bad thing is that barca’s dirty players and divers made our players angry espasially this jurk alves it was a foolish action from felipe but i can undestand this and i’m proud once again for the trully uruguayan godin:) arda looked angry most of the game and that didn’t helped us it’s nice to have a draw at camp nou and the barca’s best player to be their goalkeeper