Atlético’s players have not yet had the chance to celebrate the UEFA Super Cup success, because la Liga kicks off this weekend! Atlético take on Sporting Gijón in a game which is postponed until Monday. Before the match captain Antonio López will present the Super Cup trophy to the fans, but the celebrations take place on Tuesday.
We have met with Sporting four times since the Asturians were promoted to la Liga in 2008, resulting in three wins and a draw. Last season’s encounter in the Vicente Calderón ended in a 3-2 win for Atleti with a rare goal by Paulo Assunção.
Of course the two teams met recently in the Trofeo Colombino where Sporting beat us 1-0 with a spectacular goal by Gastón Sangoy. The Argentine is one of five signings made by Sporting this summer, but it is someone else within the Gijón ranks that most Atlético fans will be keeping an eye on.
Last season Miguel de las Cuevas joined Sporting from Atlético. The offensive midfielder was never able to break through in Madrid, due to injuries and heavy competition. But in Gijón he has become an important part of the team, playing 37 games in which he scored eight goals, one of which was against Atlético. This season Miguel will try to improve on last season’s performances, which might eventually lead to a return to the Vicente Calderón, as Atlético hold the option to buy him back.
De las Cuevas will most likely play behind striker David Barral in a 4-2-3-1 formation which seems to be the only tactical line-up coach Manuel Preciado ever uses. Sporting has one more former colchonero in the team; Pichu Cuéllar is the back up goalkeeper behind Juan Pablo.
Filipe or Antonio López?
After a summer of rumours and transfer dealings, Quique Sánchez Flores finally has the selection he desired. But now the coach is facing some tough choices.
Against Inter, Quique started with Álvaro Domínguez at left-back, but this seemed to be a tactical decision to stop the threat of Maicon on the right-wing. The Madrilenian coach surprisingly left star signing Filipe out of the match selection and preferred captain Antonio López over the Brazilian.
Domínguez has not been selected for this match against Sporting, opening up a spot for a natural left-back. We’re curious to see who will get the nod.
With just two days between these two matches, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more changes made to the starting eleven. Especially in midfield there are plenty of players ready to step up. Tiago is not yet match fit, while Domínguez is being rested by Quique. Juanito, Koke and Pulido have been left out for technical reasons.
Atlético Madrid match selection:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Valera, López, Godín, Perea, Ujfalusi, Filipe
Midfielders: Mario, Camacho, Raúl García, Jurado, Fran Merída, Assunção, Reyes, Simão
Forwards: Agüero, Forlán, Diego Costa
Sporting Gijón match selection:
Juan Pablo, Cuéllar, Botía, Rivera, Carmelo, Ayoze, Sangoy, Bilic, Nacho Novo, Lora, Gregory, Iván Hernández, Canella, Diego Castro, Luis Morán, Eguren, De las Cuevas, Sastre, Barral and Matabuena.
Sporting are well known for their supporters. With more than three thousand fans travelling to each away game, and a packed Vicente Calderón, the atmosphere during this game should be amazing.
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