Match preview: Espanyol vs Atlético

Alderweireld is set to debut in a tough away match for the Rojiblancos

Atleti visit Espanyol on Saturday (FIFA)

Atleti visit Espanyol on Saturday (FIFA)

Atlético journey east to face Espanyol on Saturday, with kick-off at the Cornellà-El Prat set for 22:00 CET.

The Rojiblancos are currently enjoying their best ever start to a season. They’ve won all of their eight matches in La Liga and they only trail leaders Barcelona on account of an inferior goal difference.

Though his men have performed very well so far, Diego Simeone refuses to get carried away. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s encounter, he emphasized that “the only thing that matters to us is the game and the opponents.”

And while his side have been showered with plaudits from the press, the Colchonero boss warned that “if we don’t play a good match tomorrow against Espanyol, [the press] will certainly talk more about that than anything else.”

Cholo described his upcoming opponents, who occupy eighth place in La Liga and their manager Javier Aguirre, as “difficult opponents, who play similarly to us and with a manager who has managed to turn his team around.”

A number of Atléticos were called to duty by their countries during the international break, including Godín and Arda. While their fortunes were mixed, Simeone confirmed that “they’ve returned well, one happier than the other, because he has the possibility to go to the World Cup.”

He added some words of encouragement for Arda, assuring the no. 10 of “all the good that we can give him at the club to play a great season and continue to demonstrate that he’s a player who deserves to go to a World Cup.”

Adrián has recuperated from a broken cheekbone and returns to the match selection after a month’s absence. Raúl García and Gabi join him after making lightning recoveries from an ankle sprain and a knee injury respectively.

Meanwhile, Léo Baptistão will be out of action for at least two weeks after spraining his ankle in training, while Aranzubia has injured a finger and Miranda is struggling with muscular problems.

The latter’s absence means summer signing Alderweireld is almost certain to make his Atlético debut. The Belgian defender has had to be patient since coming over from Ajax, though he has featured for his national team, with whom he qualified for the World Cup last week.

At Espanyol, defender Hector Moreno has recovered from injury, but midfield stalwart Víctor Sánchez has picked up a suspension. Familiar faces Capdevila and Simão—and Pizzi if anyone remembers him—are included in manager Aguirre’s selection.

Atlético match selection

Goalkeepers: Courtois, Bono
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Giménez, Juanfran, Insúa
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi
Forwards: Adrián, Villa, Diego Costa

Espanyol match selection

Goalkeepers: Germán, Kiko Casilla
Defenders: Raúl Rodríguez, Sidnei, Capdevila, Hector Moreno, Javi López, Fuentes, Colotto
Midfielders: Lanzarote, David López, Simão, Álex, Abraham
Forwards: Thievy, Stuani, Sergio García, Pizzi

Referee: David Fernández Borbalán


  • Sash

    I’m working in a sportsbar and it always feel good to be able to watch atletico and get payed for it 😉

    Looking forward to see Toby play tonight! I also hope to se guilavogui get some minutes in the end, it would be wise to not play gabi for the full 90 minutes right?
    Too bad oliver didn’t make the roster, But on the other hand he has been on it more than manquillo and gimenez..

    Nu taggar vi inför ikväll!
    Aupa atleti!

  • kris

    All that matters to us in this game is that we get all three points out of Estadi Cornellà-El Prat. I know es no facil pero our boys are the best and they will do this.. Come on Atleti we can do this!! We must keep a clean sheet also so, I predict RCD Espanyol 0-2 Club Atletico de Madrid. Forza Atleti!!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    can’t wait to watch Toby debut,

    and Robel, you forgot an important point, this is the 100th official game for Simeone as an Atleti coach

  • pantic#10

    Arda on the bench, Gabi and RG8 from the first minute. cool!
    Can’t wait to see Toby as a starter, hope he we’ll do good tonight.
    Aupa Atleti, let’s win this match.

  • Will

    Barcelona had only a scoreless draw against Osasuna. We have a greet opportunity to make history here..

  • kris

    Barca drop two points.. Here’s to a chance to going top on La Liga!! COME ON ATLETI. Don’t think of anything, just think of getting three points today.. We shall only get out of Barcelona with all three points today. Aupa Atleti..

  • EC

    Hmmm, iam not liking the way this game has started. I’ve had about feeling about this game all week. Hope iam wrong though. I think we could do with Villa scoring tonight

  • EC

    Bad feeling*

  • Will

    25′ – very boring match until now..

  • kris

    However the game must have started, just remember, this season we have found ways to win and today too, we will find a way to win and only get out of the Estadi Cornellà-El Prat with all three points.

  • kris

    Believe in the boys and Cholo and be confident in your team!

  • EC

    Was villa and Moreno booked there or just Moreno?

  • kris

    Villa. he seems immensely frustrated. I hope he gets a goal to bring back his confidence.

  • pantic#10

    More espanyol than atletico. don’t like what we’re doing in these 30 minutes
    they are making the game, we try to counter attack.
    Villa very nervous…it’s still a derby for him 😉
    Toby ok so far. he put the glue on his hair 🙂

  • pantic#10

    i believe it was a yellow card for both

  • Will

    wow.. Koke to the post!

  • pantic#10

    post by Koke on assist by Diego Costa

  • kris

    Bad play right there. The distance was way too much to attempt a cheeky play. I hope they learned something with this one.

  • EC

    Terrible freekick, espanyol counter and Koke ends up getting booked for a poor tackle :(. Been a very poor 40 mins. Need much more in the second half

  • Jeronamo

    Hmm I’m not at all happy with what I’ve seen so far.. especially that freekick by koke and how he had to chase back and pick up the yellow card

  • EC

    Good run from costa there. Poor shot though. Terrible first half from us.

  • pantic#10

    in the last 15 minutes Villa eclipsed….
    On the 2nd half:
    RG8 out – Arda in
    Villa out – Cebolla in

    Diego Costa very close to score!

  • EC

    Raul has been non existent and we should bring Turan on soon. I think we should wait a bit before taking off villa and bringing on either Cebolla or Adrian

  • Jeronamo

    I agree with Pantic.. Arda and Cebolla are needed

  • pantic#10

    2nd half started right now with no changes.
    i hope that Cholo fixed our strategy.

    ooooohhhh great save by toby!

  • EC

    Chances for Espanyol there

  • Jeronamo

    Ughhh this is painful to watch

  • pantic#10

    espanyol very very close to score.
    Warm up for Adrian, Arda and Cebolla.

  • Jeronamo

    1 to Espanyol

  • Will

    And they did… In fact, own goal by Courtois. Completely deserved.

  • kris

    What is this that’s happening? Frustrating to watch this.

  • Will

    Arda is coming to play.

  • pantic#10

    and now they scored….
    Toby lose the forward.
    Ok ,now after 55 minutes of terrible football…let’s try to equalize and win.

  • EC

    Damn it. Ugh so annoying. This isn’t going well. I can’t see us scoring two goals. Typical, Barca get beat we have a chance to go top and we play terrible.

  • Jeronamo

    Barca drew*

  • Will

    Awful match.. Has anyone seen Raul Garcia or Villa in the field?

  • pantic#10

    arrghhhh.. Villa is missing in action…please Cholo …
    RG8 out and Arda in.
    Sorry RG8 but today you played a terrible match and i’m your fan!, and probably he’s not at 100% after the injury.

  • EC

    Yeah sorry I meant to say draw*

  • Will

    Adrian is coming too.. probably for Villa.

  • Will

    PANTIC#10, you are too generous to say RG8 “played” today. He was only on the pitch for me.

  • pantic#10

    Gabi out

    Adrian in! now we have 3 forwards/wings + Arda + Koke.
    we MUST score! and win.

  • Will

    First time we had a decent play! Almost a goal by Costa… Arda was alone inside the box..

  • kris

    Can’t believe Costa missed that.. He always slots those in. Damn. i am about to cry right now.

  • pantic#10

    ouch we had 4 players on offside on Koke free-kick….WTF?!!
    OMG Diego Costa….we’re also unlucky….terrible day!! we must have a virus.

  • EC

    Ahhhh crap, costa shoulda scored there. We’re playing better now though. Hopefully we can get at least a draw

  • EC

    Cebolla on and Suarez off. It’s now an incredibly attacking team

  • Jeronamo

    Can someone please explain to me why oliver can’t seem to make the cut for games like these?

  • pantic#10

    we did soooooo many mistakes in this match.
    can’t believe we have only 2 minutes to play and we’re losing against this mediocre team.

  • Maybe the pressure was a little too much for the team…

  • EC

    Shocking performance. Not a single shot on target. So many mistakes. Lots of players that looked like they wernt even playing. So unhappy right now. We had a great chance to go first and we ended up losing ground on the title race.

  • pantic#10

    finished….i’m so upset 🙁
    terrible game, maybe the pressure was high as TY Gambo said, or maybe it’s the only the classic game where everything is against you.

    but we have a problem, and it’s called Villa.
    He should have replace Falcao. but so far…

  • kris

    Ok. I am going to the bathroom to weep. Not be cause we lost but because we played like shit against such a shitty team. bye guys.

  • EC

    Villa wasn’t the only problem tonight. So many players did not play well. Felipe, juanfran, costa, Garcia were all very poor by there high standards. Maybe the international break took its toll I don’t know. Iam very angry though :(. Can’t believe Real Madrid are only 2pts behind after our respective seasons so far. Btw did any1 see reals penalty which shouldn’t have been today. Real have already had more luck and generous refereeing decisions than we will get all season

  • Adnan Khan

    We need more creative players. this is just not enough…no creativity today. i think the only good dribbler we have right now is arda. Would have been better to have another fast skilled player who could break the defences——–> Diego?

  • Might as well handed Oli a start instead of Garcia

  • Especially with his injury woes.

  • EC

    It’s probably important we don’t overreact to this loss. Yes it was a disappointing performance but sometimes this happens and it had to happen at some point. We have still been brilliant so far and are still 2 points ahead of Real and only 1 behind Barcelona. It’s important that we get the home win next week against Real Betis as it is also the clasico next week so as long as we win we will be gaining points on one of the big two

  • Pantic#10

    Better go to sleep and forget this nightmare.
    We missed a big chance to be 1st

  • Zakaria

    It was so frustrating, reminded me of the old days where the team had no spirit to fight. It’s is so disappointing, we were so close to lead the liga arghhhhhhh… Anyways we can not always expect to win, but yet we deserved to lose. Hopefully next game will be better and hopefully we get a creative midfielder in the winter signings we desperately need one.

  • kris

    Oliver usually dribbles past 4-5 players every game. I don’t know why you guys think we don’t have a dribbler in our team. He isn’t even getting called up for matches though, so, it’s all good because this has always happened to us but we love Atleti and in Simeone, we trust.

  • marcelo

    absolutely frustrating game. This match shows how much Diego is needed.

  • Adnan Khan

    I don’t think anyone said we don’t have a dribbler. But what i meant was that we need someone with good speed who can do quick moves and cut trough the defence and make problems there. Oliver Torres has good ballcontrol and so on, but he is a little bit week and slow for those moves. I am thinking more about players like Diego ribas, Ben arfa, coutinho and such. it’s not enough with those we have now. we need at least one more creative player. But that’s my opinion :))

  • yon

    The problem was not starting Arda, simple as that!

  • epoy

    So miserable today.. we could have gone on top.. i would rather lose on wednesday than lose this one just to see atleti on top of la liga..

    I had a bad feeling about this game but after barca drew, i expected us to step up and destroy espanyol.. Just not meant to be… Hopefully just as of now…

  • Pantic#10

    Ok, just woke up and after a “good sleep”….this is my theory:
    1) lack of concentration / high pressure ( as ty gambo said), because we knew that barca tied.
    2) bad luck, see the post by Koke, it could have changed the match
    3) the start with RG8 instead of Arda
    4) too late the subs, instead do them in the break, Cholo did them after espanyol gol.
    5) Villa is a ghost, please call the ghostbusters!!!! Next matches better start with Adrian or add another midfielder like Oliver, who can add fantasy and assists.

    I’m still upset because we could have lost against Porto or Celta, who played a really good football….but we lost against this mediocre team 🙁

    Hope this was only a bad episode, now let’s focus on Austria Vienna

  • farhan

    villa needs to step up and take the responsibilty
    hope this loss helps h to rediscover his form …..
    MARAVILLA

  • piserakos

    let’s see… our ‘problems’ of tonight’s game…
    1) it is obvius that garcia is bad at our away games where we need player to dribble and break in our opponent’s territorry, we have 2+1 players who can do this arda, oliver and sometimes costa. today arda didn’t started for me that was mistake but i’ve seen that he looked tired so maybe that was the reason he didn’t played. so maybe oliver could have? or even adrian or cebolla thay have also that ability. that means we have to buy at winter 1 more player who can do this.
    2) most of you reasonably criticise villa but for me costa had a poor performance yestarday villa was medio..
    3) we were unlucky we had 2-3 huge chances and espanyol scored a rediculush goal which was courtois fault..
    4) we looked to anxius and too angry that was reasonable to say the truth we didn’t ever imagined that to be at the 1st place and to be so close to break that record…
    We don’t have time for tears. no we have a trip at wien and after that betis home… aupa atleti..

  • Chewie

    It wasn’t that bad. Espanyol was highly prepared and knew exactly how to play against Atletico.
    Everyone here seems to forget that the other team also wants to win.
    Alderweireld had a solid performance, at least we can be happy about that.

  • Here’s hoping for a draw in El Clasico next week
    Atleti might be on top after all.

  • Jeronamo

    Forget about the other team wanting to win????… I’m sorry maybe you missed the part where most of us are upset more about the performance than the actual result, we were horrible. Toby was solid tho so that we can agree on but unless we perform better then just scraping a win isn’t acceptable especially with the players we have

  • kris

    Exactly. Most of us were disappointed because of the performance our team gave not that we lost. I don’t care if we lose but all I care is that we play like men with cojones not like li’l p*ssies.