Match preview: Villarreal vs. Atlético

Villarreal seeks revenge, Atlético to continue its victorious season

Falcao sent Villarreal out the top flight 2 seasons ago  (Getty)

Falcao sent Villarreal out the top flight 2 seasons ago

Atlético hit the road again to face fourth in La Liga Villarreal, back from relegation just one year later and looking as lean and mean as in the old days when they gained the ‘Yellow Submarine’ nickname.

Kick-off at El Madrigal is set for 19:00 CET on Sunday.

For those of us who have lived a relegation, the team that sends you down for good takes all the blame in a supporter’s filled-with-grief view.

For Atleti, the blame will always be on Real Oviedo, the side against whom we certified a terrible season on the dark day of 5 May 1999. Should we blame Oviedo for being relegated? By all means no. Did they get the blame for sealing our fate? Of course they did. That sets the tone for the unfriendly environment we will find at the Madrigal.

The atmosphere between the Madrileños and the Yellow Submarine has never been even close to friendly.

Villarreal prevented Atlético from qualifying for UEFA (the current Europa League) twice (especially painful was the 2004 defeat in an Intertoto showdown at Vicente Calderón).

On the other hand, the Rojiblancos don’t have an outstanding record at the Castellón stadium. Quite the contrary, in fact.

Besides Falcao’s stinging goal that sent Villarreal to Segunda two seasons ago, there is only one other Colchonero victory recorded at El Madrigal (in 2007). A goal by the very notorious Fabiano Eller, scored while a Villarreal player was injured on the pitch that Atlético players ignored, gave us the win.

Ever since, Atlético have been labelled a sworn enemy of the Yellow Submarine for their lack of fair play, and on Sunday, a sweet welcome shouldn’t be expected.

The record against Villarreal is not a favourable one, but Diego Simeone has earned credit for overcoming negative statistics and beating the odds.

With Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick, flu-stricken Diego Costa will probably knock in a couple of aspirins and press to stay in the fight for top scorer.

The upcoming World Cup intercontinental play-off has taken a big bite out of Atleti’s squad. The Jordan-Uruguay tie will see Godín, Giménez and Cebolla Rodríguez miss the match in what seems another unfortunate misplanning by FIFA and national leagues.

Filipe Luis will also serve the suspension produced by being sent off two match days ago. With the defence taking the biggest hit, Insúa, Alderweireld, Miranda and Juanfran should be our starting back line.

17-year-old defender Lucas Hernández has been added to the list to complete the bench. The youth academy member is the son of former Atlético and Rayo defender Hernández. ‘Cholo’ doesn’t seem too bothered by the missing starters or players in doubt, such as Arda Turan or Adrián. The Argentine gave a lesson of lemons and lemonade, stressing how well Toby and Insúa had been working all week.

“When we have required their participation, they have never let us down,” he said.

Hopefully, tomorrow things will remain the same.

For the home team, number four in La Liga and proving to be consistent, Giovani’s injury has been a huge hit on their offensive potential.

Sergio Asenjo, on loan but not banned from playing versus Atlético, will want to prove how wrong everyone at the Vicente Calderon has been not considering him starter material these last seasons.

Atleti need a win to keep the five point gap with Real Madrid and stay in the fight versus Barcelona for the leadership, while Villarreal are currently tied with Athletic and will be interested in gaining some breathing room in the struggle to remain in the top positions.

Atlético match selection:

Goalkeepers: Courtois, Bono
Defenders: Juanfran, Manquillo, Miranda, Lucas, Insúa, Alderweireld
Midfielders: Tiago, Gabi, Arda Turan, Óliver, Koke, Raúl García, Guilavogui
Forwards: Diego Costa, Adrián, Leo Baptistão, Villa.

Villarreal match selection:

Goalkeepers: Asenjo, Juan Carlos
Defenders: Mario, Pantic, Jokic, Jaume Costa, Musacchio, Gabriel
Midfielders: Bruno, Pina, Trigueros, Hernán Pérez, Aquino, Cani, Moi Gómez
Forwards: Uche, Perbet, Jonathan Pereira

Referee: Pedro Jesús Pérez Montero

  • starvs

    very big game, very excited, very gonna win.

  • Dircil

    I don’t like Villareal either! But I have to admit the toughness we’re gonna face at El Madrigal. I consider this match as hard as playing against Porto or Zenit. I’m looking forwards for a win and some goals 4 costa, lol!

  • kris

    We need to win this very tough match. I am saying Villarreal CF 1-3 Club Atletico de Madrid.

  • kris

    Aupa Atleti!

  • Pantic#10

    The don’t like us and we don’t like them.
    And they have a player named Pantic! What an affront 🙂
    Difficult match. But i think we can win. I expect good things from Toby and Insua.

  • Atletico9

    Looking forward to this game. I hope that last years 3. best team will be too strong for at upcomming la liga team.

    We have to win this match and next weeks derby against Getafe and then we really can play without any presure for top 3 again.

    Hope that we will start like this, and we can fight all the 90 mins. Aupa Atleti!!! Olé Cholo!!


    Juanfran – Miranda – Toby – Insua

    Raul Garcia- Tiago – Gabi – Koke

    Villa – Costa

  • kris

    It’s Oliver’s birthday today guys.. Our ‘Prince of Calderon’ turns 19 today. If he plays today, hope he puts up a great performance on his 19th birthday.. Hope he stays with us for years to come. He has a good future ahead. Happy birthday to Oliver.

  • pantic#10

    Oliver is the “Chosen One”!
    Insua will score with one of his cannonball from long range 😉

  • Atletico- palestine

    My prediction is 4-1 win for atleti 2 goals costa, 2 goals villa. And the good news barca will draw vs betis which means we will be on top of the table tonight 😉
    Believe me guys 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • pantic#10

    I believe you.
    We’ll play at full throttle. light-speed. this is the time to win La Liga. this year.

  • pantic#10

    we have the heavy artillery: RG8, Diego Costa and Villa.
    Tiago, Gabi and Koke,
    Juanfran, Toby, Miranda and Insua.

    these the starter team

  • kris

    It’s a good decision to start Raul Garcia. His stupidity will disrupt Villarreal’s passing game. And, no, i am not even being sarcastic. This is a good decision by Simeone, again.

  • kris


  • kris

    Well it was considered an own goal.. but,, JUANFRAN TO KOKE!!

  • Pantic#10

    @Kris: LOL , RG8 man of the match
    Villareal is attacking at full speed.

  • kris

    lmao, forreals tho, Pantic. ahha, lucky we are winning right now, we need to sub in some players for the second half. These amarillos are trying to hunt down Tiago, we should bring in Guilavogui right now as he is black and strong and will help with the defense, can’t afford to lose Tiago right now,, so I think that’s the best option.

  • Will

    We are really not playing a great match but didn’t suffer much in the defense despite the bigger % of ball possession by Villareal… It is reminding me the Espanyol match.. Let’s see if things will change for the second half.

    According to Pedro Martin, Atlético+Simeone only lost one match after begin winning which was against Barcelona last season.

  • because he is black? lol what does that have to do with anything

    But I agree he should be put on, maybe Oliver for one of the strikers for more link up

  • kris

    no, it doesn’t have to do with anything it’s just that black people tend to be more stronger than others ,ahha, but seriously, we need his physical presence at this moment. Bruno is playing better than our defensive mids, so I think bringing in Joshua will help. now Gabi is carded, as well. yup, we need him right now.

  • Will

    I agree Guilavogui might help in this game 🙂

  • Will

    PANTIC#10 is too shy today.. come on, man..

  • kris

    We’re being completely outplayed. There was 5 players behind Uche in the penalty area. Damn. We need to have a game plan as soon as possible.

  • kris

    lmao, Raul Garcia is pissed today. We need to take him off and bring in someone much calmer. bring in Guilavogui for Tiago and Oliver for RG8.

  • kris

    Oh well, Arda then.

  • kris


  • Jeronamo

    Well Costa off and Adrian on….. And I’m black btw

  • Will

    Awful match by Atleti… I guess we played nice for 2 minutes… the first ones.

  • kris

    We are gonna need Barca to lose or atleast draw.. Dreadful match, this is why I wanted Filipe to play in this game instead of the Athletic game. He would have been a game changer, there was nobody to attack from in the left flank, Costa usually enjoys it on that side.. Oh well. Betis please, beat Barca. Please please,, i am begging.

  • Dircil

    Very disappointed match to be told from the Atletico’s side. We were outplayed by Villareal but luckily we managed to secure 1 point from El Madrigal. I’m totally satisfied with the result given how badly we played!

  • Adnan Khan

    Everytime when it seems like barca will loose points, we loose points. Damn we should have won today

  • pantic#10

    I’m so depressed 🙁 can’t even comment!
    Everything starts good. goal….and then….black hole. a void…
    Villareal played a super speedy and good football. we should have played in this way, my compliments to the yellow submarine, they’re back, and they’ll fight for the 4th place for sure.
    Tiago played well for me.
    Diego Costa was put under pressure and with no space to play.

  • Atletico9

    Villarreal played very well and Atletico played very badly!
    1 point was good today at El Madrigal. And i think it’s good that we don’t play next week. maybe the players soon need some rest. And we need to train again and keep the ball more. We only dominate the homegames.

    Forza Atleti

    And keep the heads high! 34 points for 13 games is good. We will be in top 3 again.

  • Palantine

    Might’ve been the worst showing of Atléti this season. It’s okay though, it happens, gotta forget about this game and focus on the upcoming matches now.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    it was a bad move from Simeone to replace RG8 by Arda,
    Raul was playing a great game, while Arda seems still didn’t get his shape back yet .. he only touched the ball 2 or 3 times

    but it’s not a bad result against a tough opponent in a tough pitch and with several absences

    and for the 100th time : we need a creative midfielder
    yes, we are doing well so far, but we had many easy games .. the tough ones haven’t came yet

  • Atletico9

    We have played Real Madrid, Sevilla, Sociadad, Villarreal away. Tough games will I mean. But anyway – we will beat every team at our Calderon. 😀

    PS: Cholo should have rested some more players against Austria Wien so we could performed better today.

    Agree, we need Diego back home and 1-2 more. Also an attacker more. Then we soon can face Real & Barca in 38 games.

  • pantic#10

    Betis 0 – Barca 4
    Betis lonely at the last place

    Now we have 3 points from Barca (up) and 3 from Real (down).
    We don’t have too much to recriminate….it’s Barca that is tooo strong for the other Liga teams (except us and Real).

    now we have some days to recover our energy, mental and physical.
    Aupa Atleti!

  • Amr Mukadaffi

    Cmon guys, what did you expect, that we can win everything ? Villareal is a though opponent, especially when they play home. A draw is a good result for both teams.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    @ATLETICO9 : Sevilla & Sociedad have lost against Real Madrid 7-3 & 5-1 respectively
    and the first have 16 points, while the second have 17 points from 39 possible
    so, they were not strong opponent

    even Real Madrid game wasn’t that tough, it was in the 7th week and Ancelotti was still searching for his best line-up, Bale was still out of form and they were still nervous after the defeat in the cup final

    and it’s obvious that both Porto & Zenit are very ordinary teams

    the only real tests in my opinion were the 2 games against Barca and tonight game, and we drew in the 3 of them

    we could face Man City, Napoli or Dortmund in the next round of CL, now these are tough games
    and I don’t think we can afford losing Arda or Koke in such games, those 2 are the only players who we don’t have a good replacement for them,
    Raul Garcia and Cebolla are not good enough, and Oliver is not good yet, he will be, but just not now

    we can beat Betis, Granada, Athletic & Austria Wien without Arda, and even without Villa, but we can not do the same against big clubs

    so again :
    most of Atleti games so far were easy games, in both La Liga & CL

    and again : we need a world-class playmaker .. if we really want to compete for La Liga and CL

    but if we just want to finish 3rd in La Liga and reach 1/8 finals or 1/4 finals in CL, then we don’t need any player