Match preview: Atlético vs Betis

Canterano Óliver is set to make his first start for the Atlético first team

Costa looks to add to his goal total (Reuters)

Costa looks to add to his goal total (Reuters)

Back from a productive midweek trip to Austria Wien, Atlético welcome Betis, as they look to keep pace with their rivals in La Liga.

Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 21:00 CET*, on Sunday.

Last week, the Colchoneros saw their historic winning streak come to an end with a narrow defeat away to Espanyol. Though their performance didn’t merit victory, it was unfortunate that the only goal was scored by Courtois, in his own goal.

But Atlético swiftly returned to normal, when they travelled to Austria Wien on Tuesday. They dominated their opponents and scored three times to earn a third straight victory in their UEFA Champions League group.

This Sunday, the Rojiblancos receive Betis, whom they faced four times last season, twice each in La Liga and the Copa del Rey. In this corresponding fixture last season, Atlético managed a narrow 1-0 victory, with substitute Diego Costa scoring the match-winning goal.

Speaking on Saturday, Diego Simeone warned that “Betis are always tough and difficult opponents, with good players and a coach who knows his squad,” and that his team “need to play an intelligent game, with a lot of energy, a lot of energy, competitiveness and humility.”

The Rojiblanco manager continued: “They’re a team who’ve started well. I envisage a difficult game, as we always have against Betis. And with care, against an opponent who especially offers a lot of pace on the wings.”

“We have to look at who won’t play, because they have some absences in defence. There are unpredictable players in one-on-one situations like Vadillo, Cedric and Juanfran.”

Asked about his top goalscorer, Diego Costa, who made a Herculean effort to recover from injury and play on Tuesday, Cholo said: “I appreciate what he does on the pitch and in training. The other day, he played a great game, with a great willingness to make necessary effort to play.”

Léo Baptistão and Aranzubia are still nursing injuries, and Arda joins them after muscular discomfort kept him out of training this week. The Turkish midfielder’s absence means Óliver is set for his first start for the Atlético first team, AS’ Dani Hidalgo reports. Guilavogui, Giménez and Manquillo miss out as well.

Betis boss Pepe Mel praised Atlético in his press conference on Saturday, describing them “the only team who can keep up with the big two.” But he thinks his side can get a result at the Calderón: “I want my team to compete tomorrow. I know that we can win”

The Verdiblancos’ boss ruled out defender Paulão, and midfielders Xavi Torres and Verdú from Sunday’s clash. Because his captain Antonio Amaya is suspended as well, Damien Perquis and Jordi Figueras will pair up in central defence.

Atlético match selection:

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

Betis match selection:

TBA

Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera

*Note that Daylight Saving Time in Spain ends on Sunday morning. The clock in the CET zone will retreat one hour.


  • Ellis Dixon

    I’d prefer Cristian Rodriguez starting over Oliver; Betis are tough opponents and it took the abrasiveness of Diego Costa to overcome them more than once last season. Rodriguez is direct and would cause them problems. In addition match time for him has been quite hard to come by.

  • kris

    Tough match this but I am predicting Club Atletico de Madrid 2-0 Real Betis.. Aupa Atleti!!

  • kris

    The Starting XI will probably be the initial one with only one change, with Oliver filling in for Arda.

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes

    Well maybe if Oliver starts in, Villa won’t as Oliver is an offensiv midfielder and therefore we would still be missing someone (Arda) on the left flank. So maybe Villa is again out (for Cebolla, RG8, Adrian) or one of the two (Villa &Oliver) has to play on the wing.

    Surely Cholo will figure somthing out, but what it will i’m not sure. At the moment I would prefer RG8 as a starter.

  • I’d like to see how Oil will perform with the team from the start, when they’re in full throttle

    Though I guess there’s still a chance we’ll see Raul or Cebolla instead…

    Maybe the Uruguayan instead of Villa? With him coming on in the second half or something.

  • kris

    Oliver is bound to start. Marca published an article on their newspaper saying ‘Oliver, es tu dia’, we don’t really trust Marca but AS’s Dani Hidalgo(Atleti fan) also reported the same.

  • starvs

    Can there really be more risk with Oli than there is Raul? Yes, he was good in Europe, but he’s also put in some shit performances.

  • AndersAT

    I would love to see Oliver from the start and Villa hitting the net… But Cebolla would be a good substitute in the half time if one of them does not perform.

  • Hope Oliver isn’t too out of rhythm then!!

    But I’m sure he’ll do well, or at least there’s a good chance he will.

  • And now that I’m thinking of it, I think with their playing styles, Raul and Cebolla are better to come on later, because of their relatively powerhouse type of play.

    Oliver is more the type of player to improve the whole team and connect, but not someone who runs deep or shows up in front goal a lot, he’s a real midfielder. He has some capabilities to do so, but it’s not “his” game.

  • pantic#10

    Yeah Oliver from the 1st minute. cool.
    guys the prediction topic about the match is already closed. but the match start next hour.

  • kris

    4-4-2 again, with just two changes from the initial lineup with Tiago and Oliver filling in for Mario and Arda, respectively.

  • kris

    Moment of silence for Maria de Villota And.. we are underway at the Estadio Vicente Calderon…. And Oliver scores in 11 seconds..!!

  • kris

    Oliver scores in his first ever start for Atletico in La Liga in 11 seconds…. This is amazing…

  • Jeronamo

    Please start this kid more often

  • Pantic#10

    Awesome. Oliver. The future

  • kris

    Ty, it may not be ‘his’ game, but he scored in under 11 seconds.. Amazing,, ahha.

  • kris

    I still can’t get over this.. Fastest goal in the history of La Liga…

  • kris

    beautiful cross by Oliver,,, Godin should have easily converted that..

  • kris

    See these long ball passes, and over the top balls, Oliver has mastered them all..

  • kris

    Costa, Costa, Costa, OMG how?? how? how? how?

  • I didn’t mean that Kris haha

    I should have watched haha
    Nice goal?

  • Jeronamo

    Now this is a better performance

  • kris

    Beautiful play, the whole team went up when starting, that put a lot of pressure in the Betis defense, and Koke beautifully found Oliver on the far side of the box for Oliver to finish it in. Koke’s 7th assist of the season..

  • kris

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOLL DE VILLA!!! Finally!!

  • Adnan Khan

    Davil Villa!! Could it get any better!! goal from David villa and Oliver

  • AndersAT

    Graet goal! good for Villa.

  • pantic#10

    ohhhhh finally Villa Maravilla!!!! about time! Forza Villa!
    What a good match. Oliver is playing like a top player and Villa scored.

  • AndersAT

    And again!

  • kris

    Simeone’s smile and another beautiful counter, and gol numero dos de Villa!! Finalmente, el guaje.

  • Jelle

    And villa again! With a nice smile from cholo 🙂

  • pantic#10

    and now no one can stop Villa 🙂 ahahha
    happy that he’s back! and now it’s time for Adrian

  • kris

    A huge round of applause to the record-breaker Oliver as he makes way for Adrian!! You have a great future ahead of you at Atleti, kid.. Well done, today..

  • pantic#10

    standing ovation for our little champion!

  • kris

    Villa to Costa, and goal!! Yet another counter and another to the tally for the Pichichi of the world. Next, Adrian, maybe?

  • pantic#10

    Diego costa Goal! assist by Villa. (and beautiful volley control)
    we’re really strong.

  • kris

    C-Rod is in for Koke.

  • Will

    Completely happy for Villa. MOTM today and he was in need of a match like that.

  • kris

    Holy m’effing god,, Miranda is the greatest. Dayummm.. Miranda es un crack.. seriously, how does he do that??

  • pantic#10

    Miranda is da s**t 🙂 the king. da boss
    Unbelievable how he’s improved under Simeone in the last 2 years.
    Do you remember how many silly goals we took before Simeone arrive?
    and now Miranda and Godin two of the best CD of the world.

  • kris

    Oohh Villa,, the Asturian link up almost works..

  • pantic#10

    @Kris: we have a psychic connection 🙂 ahahah not the first time we say the same thing!

  • kris

    COSTA out for RG8.

  • kris

    ahha,, for sure Pantic, Rojiblancos think alike ahha.

  • Will

    Funny to remember Miranda was about to be loaned back to São Paulo just when Simeone arrived.

  • kris

    Superman Courtois at work.. Why can’t we keep him?? goshh..

  • kris

    MANOS!!

  • Will

    But the most impressive for me is the Filipe “you shall not pass” Luis. It’s completely useless try to attack against him.

  • kris

    I don’t even know why players try.. Not even Messi can get past Filipe. But, what is ridiculous is Scolari doesn’t seem to notice anything about him. Isn’t that just unfair?

  • Jeronamo

    It’s all good when we play like this… can you guys tell me what you think is the reason we played this well today?

  • Will

    As a Brazilian and Atleti fan, it’s twice unfair for me. Scolari is now trying PSG’s Maxwell as Left Full Back and I guess Marcelo and Maxwell will be called up for the WC. Sad.

  • Will

    Villlaaaaa! Hat trick for the Asturian.

  • Jeronamo

    And thats 5 and that’s game… wonderful. . Simply wonderful

  • kris

    Simeone’s HUGE smile and another goal for Atleti at the last minute of added time as El Capitano slots the ball in.

  • pantic#10

    3Villa
    and Cholo smiles 😉
    super partido.

  • Will

    Sorry.. It was Gabi’s.. Am I the only one who thinks he’s exactly look like Eduard Norton the actor?

  • Jeronamo

    I believe Gabi is the one that scored guys

  • kris

    Kind of looks like him, ahha.

  • pantic#10

    honestly Betis didn’t play bad. The last year Betis was stronger but they still have fast and good wings.
    but there’s a big gap between them and us.
    we played with the awareness of the top teams…mainly because we ARE a TOP TEAM.

  • kris

    We played like Cholo actually wants us to play, against Espanyol we played like crap, didn’t show any passion and enthusiasm whatsoever. That’s why we won much better today..

  • pantic#10

    Gabi scored?! oh my god must change my glasses 🙂 but also the speaker said that was a hat-trick for Villa…very weird
    well i’m sooooooo happy for our Iron-Captain GABI.

  • Chewie

    I fell sorry for Betis. Atletico is a machine and mere humans can do nothing against it except to wait for Courtois to score an own goal. Really, it’s the only way to defeat Atletico.

  • Jeronamo

    Our passes were much better than they were in our last two outings, maybe it was the line up but this is the type of football i believe we need to continue playing in order to get the results that we are looking for.

  • kris

    lmao. Chewie. Nicely said, mate.. ahha.

  • Koke <3

  • Dircil

    @wìll: we’re living in the world of brand name and since maxwell have played for barca and psg, teams that enjoy better worldwide reputation than Atletico, he’s supposed to be better than Filipe for no good reason. Anyway, there is a good thing about it if u look into the fact that we don’t have to worry about the Fifa’s virus which significantly deteriorates a big team’s strength after a long tournament like Worldcup or Euro. The more our players are not called up for national duty, the more fresh legs we have for the new season.