Match preview: Málaga vs. Atlético

Atleti begin the year at La Rosaleda on Saturday

First match of 2014 kicks off on Saturday in Málaga  (

First match of 2014 kicks off on Saturday in Málaga

2014 gets set in motion for Atlético on Saturday, when the joint league-leaders visit Málaga at La Rosaleda.

The clash, which takes place at the site where it all began for Diego Simeone, gets underway at 16:00 CET.

With a record setting 2013 already in the rear-view mirror, Atleti will look to maintain their bid for the league title by going after all three points against the Anchovies.

After two years of quips regarding the nature of La Liga, repeatedly describing the Spanish domestic competition as “boring”, the New Year has brought with it a slight change in Simeone’s tone.

“The word ‘boring’ was a mistake at the time, but I do consider that the league doesn’t give you a chance,” the Rojiblanco boss, who has more league wins than any other La Liga manager since his arrival (48), said.

“The problem isn’t the duration of the competition, rather, it’s the inequality of financial possibilities.”

‘El Cholo’ continued: “When the fans see Atlético fighting, they see themselves reflected in that effort and they feel close to the team because we must work for everything. We don’t have the same chances as others do.

“Hopefully, someone comes up with a brilliant and good idea so that we can all become more competitive, which is what all the fans want.”

The 43-year-old admitted that he and his men are “very excited” to get the ball rolling again.

“When the game gets closer, the level of competition increases,” he said.

“I hope to arrive to this tough match versus Málaga with hope and commitment.”

With a massive game looming around the corner — Barcelona visit the Vicente Calderón in just seven days — Simeone emphasised the importance of his approach to the season.

“The match-by-match [mentality] is the day-to-day of anyone’s life,” he said.

“A lot of people in society have to fight to make it each day. We can’t forget about this because we will be left with very little possibilities. We’re obligated to continue on this line, because we know what are virtues and are defects are.”

Atleti’s particular defects for this encounter are a pair of key absences–Gabi’s and Raúl García’s through suspension.

Mario Suárez remains unavailable because of injury, while José Giménez and Léo Baptistão were left off the match selection through tactical decision.

Cholo has left the door open for Léo, who will very likely be loaned out soon–especially given the very recent signing of loanee José Sosa.

Simeone’s countryman was immediately selected for this game, an unusual decision for the Argentine tactician.

“We had said it before, with the possibility of an arrival, there could be an exit,” Cholo explained.

“José’s [signing] makes me very happy. He’s a player that I always wanted to coach again since I had him at Estudiantes.”

There’s a strong possibility, given Simeone’s line-ups in training, that young starlet Óliver will appear in the fold, while Koke may feature in a more defensive role in place of Gabi.

Málaga coach Bernd Schuster, a former Rojiblanco, made some controversial remarks ahead of this match.

The German alleged that Sosa had promised to leave Metalist for his squad, and charged him with being a man whose word “means nothing”.

Schuster’s men, who sit in 10th in the league table, are coming off back-to-back wins to finish the year.

Defensive midfielder Fernando Tissone is suspended for this game, but Eliseu returns from a one-match ban.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Aranzubia
Defenders: Godín, Filipe Luís, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Arda, Cebolla, Guilavogui, Óliver, Sosa
Forwards: Adrián, Villa, Costa

  • kris

    Malaga CF 0-3 Club Atletico de Madrid! Forza Atleti!

  • Dircil

    I’m looking forward to seeing Sosa featuring in this match. So exicted!!!

  • Yon

    What happens when Gabi and Raul Garcia are both back? Who misses out then in place of Sosa?

  • Pantic#10

    My 11:
    Diego Costa

    Aupa Atleti.
    Can’t wait to see Sosa playing, i have good vibes about Him 😉 he could be very helpful in the next 5 months.

  • palestine-atletico

    Juanfran mirinda godin filipe
    Arda tiago josuha koke
    Villa costa

    Noway for sosa to start in this game and it needs 2 midfielders with defensive mentality like josuha and tiago.
    I think villa will do the difference in this game 😉

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    Is Alderweireld playing ?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Although La Rosaleda was the place that witnessed the birth of the Legend of El Cholo, (his 1st official game as Atleti coach was there, almost 2 yeas from today, January 7th 2012)
    but it is still one of the toughest stadiums for him
    it’s one of the fewest places where he have not won yet, although he have won in much more difficult pitches like the Bernabeu (twice)
    more than that, his men haven’t scored a single goal there yet
    both games there ended 0-0
    I’m not sure, but I guess La Rosaleda is the only stadium in Spain in which Simeone’s Atleti have not scored yet

    SO, I think it’s gonna be a tough game, especially with the other circumstances like coming back after a break, missing our heart and soul Gabi, the danger of suspension for 4 of our best 5 players, Koke, Arda, Filipe & Juanfran

    and what I fear the most is that the team forget its doctrine “Partido a Partido” and think about Barca game

    I mean Simeone already started to disbelieve in it by saying:
    “maybe I was wrong saying that La Liga is boring”

    Hell yea it’s boring ..

    Barca and Real are still the favorites

    look what’s happening right now ..
    while they are cool and calm, the offers and the rumors are surrounding half of our players, and even our coach himself .. because all Europe know that we are f**ing poor and they can take advantage of that

    did you hear what Mourinho said when he was asked if he is going to sign Higuain?!
    he simply said : “NO, because I don’t think Napoli will sell him”

    there is still a long way until other managers say that about Atleti

    La Liga is still boring Señor Simeone
    and I really wish you don’t have to say that tonight if we did not win

    it’s a tough and a complicated game, and it needs an early goal to make it easy

    and it desperately needs the real David Villa

    BUT despite all I said .. I still believe in Simeone and his “hombres”

  • kris

    Yes. We should all believe in Simeone, Ahmad! Oliver is starting, and Koke has taken place for Gabi. I really pray to God though, that none of our players get carded today… and we win this match today.

  • kris

    A good match so far, but we must create much more chances in the 2nd half and score as many as we can. Aupa Atleti!

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    1st half is over, and both teams are equal. 50-50… A draw is almost certain.. And a win could be reached if they go full for it.

  • Jeronamo

    Seriously??? Oliver off for adrian while villa stays on? Whyyyy?

  • kris


  • Jeronamo

    These are two of the worst subs I’ve seen Cholo make in a long time

  • EC

    YAS!!! 1-0 Koke

  • Will

    David Villa’s goal!!! Nice play by… you know… Diego Costa..

    What a boring match.

  • Atletico9

    Fucking shit! Juanfran. Manqilio or Toby replace him against PutaBarca?

    Please no more bookings!

    I believe in cholo. Hope it is good Subs!

    And now we also scored in Málaga with Cholo as our talisman.

  • Will

    Oh no.. sorry, Koke!!!

  • pantic#10

    Yeah. 3 points.
    Guys, please, could you let me know if you have seen Villa on the field…because he was a GHOST!!
    Costa fought as a warrior. but Villa touched 3 or 4 balls in 80 minutes.

    Bad news the yellow for Juanfran.
    anyway we won and that’s the most important thing.

  • kris

    Jeronamo, I have to disagree with you. These were brilliant substitutions. I believe the defensive play by Simeone was needed in a very difficult away match like this. But,, yehh,, a pretty boring match to watch,,, overall.

  • Dircil

    Dont panic guys, Toby is known for his passing ability so he can come as a surprise to Barca!

  • Dircil

    @Ahmad: I believe we’re not going to sell any of our current key players (including Raul Garcia :D). However, if there is an exchange between us and Chelsea in which Costa + Godin = Lukaku + Courtois + Mata, I won’t hesistate accepting it! I know Godin is very important to our defence, yet I believe Toby can fulfill the role and not to mention that we have Gimenez! However, I don’t see any chance for that deal to happen since Chelsea don’t need any further reinforcement for their defence.

  • pantic#10

    And what about the pathetic dives by Malaga players??!! have you seen the show near the end Between Cebolla and a Malaga defender….football players could be actors.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    just like I said before the game : it’s gonna be a tough, complicated one

    and as I was afraid of : the one who wears the no. 9 shirt is not Villa .. it’s his gost
    I think Barca game is going to be his last chance, and if he stayed in that bad shape I guess El Cholo will bench him and give more chances for Oliver, Cebolla & Sosa

    and as Martin Rosenow said once :
    “Gabi is a player who his name is mentioned when he is absent more than when he is playing”

    he is an unknown soldier
    he is our team’s heart and soul
    and he is our captain

    yes, Koke did a great job today, and he was the one who scored the goal, but he is not as a good as Gabi at that position, and also we don’t have any player as good as Koke to play in his place as an attacking midfielder when he plays as a central midfielder

    and what’s the deal with Guilavogui ?!
    if he did not play when he is the only available central midfielder then when ?!
    we bought the guy with 10 million .. for a club like Atleti, this is a huge amount of money

    was it a bad deal ?!
    does he need to be loaned to another La Liga club this winter ?!
    or does Simeone need to trust him more like he trusted Toby ?!

  • ali_

    josuha came with the help of doyen group. just another mendes deal.
    he is good tho. dunno why is simeone so reluctant to play him, or baptistao.

  • Jeronamo

    Kris I more meant the players taken off were mistakes. I just think villa should have been off but I was frustrated I guess

  • Paulo

    The Juanfran yellow card wasn’t deserved at all but the crowd was demanding and hostile, which affected some of the refereeing decisions.
    Cebolla was a instant spark for the team. He brought the ball up with his fast dribbling and energy.
    Obviosly Oliver was in problems with skilled Malaga players. He just needs more playing time to gel and learn his teammates movements in attack in order to play the fast one-touch passing game with Arda, Koke and Filipe. Also, he needs to grow more cojones!
    A good, tactical away win against a difficult opponent.
    The Barca game is gonna define the rest of the season so hope it is a big motivator for Villa also.
    And I hope Cholo comes up with something special for the Tuesdays Copa game, ’cause it’s gonna be hella difficult in Mestalla, too.
    Aupa Atléti!

  • sajedeh

    Ahmad Hossainy i,m sorry for you because david is the best one in atletico and just last night wasnt his night . remember if he wanted to sit on bench he would stay in barcelona

  • ali_

    the best one in atletico villa? really? 😀 u meant the most famous maybe.

  • sajedeh

    yes, sure the best player and also most famous. idont think atletico has any better player than him

  • ali_

    i guess you are quite alone with that opinion 🙂

  • Pantic#10

    David Villa is the best forward Spain has ever got in the history (numbers said this).
    Unfortunately with us he didn’t showed his best skills. Anyway he scored 7 goals and did a couple of assists.
    We’re in the middle of the season, so he still have 5 months to show us his talent (which is unquestionable).

    But ….last performance was awful! I think he should play in the 4-2-3-1
    Diego Costa as forward and Villa, Koke, Arda as the 3 behind him (with Adrian, Cebolla, Sosa, Oliver as alternatives).

    I’m starting to think that Sosa was called to replaced Villa.

  • sajedeh

    that,s never important to me. it is my opinion and i,ll never change it

  • piserakos

    First of all..
    Who’s the one who said ‘the worst ever sub from Cholo’….? What? Ok maybe Adrian could do better (come on Adri at last put the ball on the net!) but Cebolla?? He was FANTASTIC for me the reason we won it’s him, he really changed the game, he gave us energy, technique and speed. Oliver was a bad choise, personally I would use Josuha but I was thinking that with 5 defenders we should use players with better offence. It’s bad Juanfran will lose Barca game and it’s also bad we have a lot of players with 4 cards, it’s going to be Manquillo’s big chance? or Cholo will use Toby? I think Toby will play…. Hey you why you really critisise Villa?? Him and Costa all time got fouled yesterday and the $hit referee all time was giving card to our players and not their… Aupa Atleti, we have the game against Valencia now and then Barca

  • Jeronamo

    If you read the later comment you would have seen I said that I meant his decision in not taking off villa before oliver, a comment made while the game was still being played. I had no problems with who he brought on, you guys agree with things as long as something goes well but I try not to let a victory cloud my judgement, we made mistakes as all clubs do but sometimes cholo makes mistakes too. It was just an observation on my part tho no need to get on ylur period about it

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Good point Paulo, Oliver does need to grow some balls .. in some moments in the game I felt like Malaga players are Bullying him

    but I’m sure he will grow them soon .. just like he grown muscles

  • kris

    What Oliver needs is to be playing centrally and not out wide. He just doesn’t have the abilities to play out wide like El Cholo plays him. Remember what Oliver does best is create plays from the centre, whether it be from long balls or regular passes or thru passes or wing changing ‘hollywood’ passes. I realize that the kids is being used improperly imo, and needs to be given a chance to play behind the main striker in the 4-2-3-1 formation. And yes, he’s gonna need to enlarge his cojones as he is not only playing against U-20s or U-21s. He needs to realize he’s playing against players from one of the best leagues in the world.

    With that being said, Sajdesh, I know you don’t really believe Villa is the best player in the world. It’s just that the fact that you have been supporting him for a long time, ever since he was at his best, makes you think he’s still the best. (Don’t worry, I am the same about Kaka 🙂 )

    I agree with what Jeronamo said too. Cholo makes some bad substitutions at times, because he’s not perfect, but yesterday, I believe he got every single one of them correct, of course, other than taking Oli out before Villa. Because with Adrian we could have formed a 4-2-3-1 with Adrian playing on the wings, and Oli in the middle. But oh, well.

    The game at Mestalla is a tough one. Valencia are competing for the Copa and Europa this season. We have to break them apart at Mestalla somehow in order for us to advance…

  • ali_

    “Hey you why you really critisise Villa??”
    come on piserakos how can u ask something like this? he was totally lost again. he offered nothing in attack, and it wasnt even the first time. maybe he was the best spanish forward, or has the best records. but right now most of the time he is -1 player on the field.

  • piserakos

    @jeronamo…. of course I’ve seen when you’ve wrote the comment and of course my comment wasn’t hostille, i told this cause I had the same opinion with you that time (what a weird subs) but at the end of the game Cholo shut my mouth (and also yours’). If you read my comments many times I critisised Cholo for his coaching skill (read the game and make good subs) but he has now changed this staff, he does better subs.
    I’ve also have the same opinion with you that Villa sould go out and not Oliver but I think that Cholo had seen one think (Villa won many fouls and allways had 1-2 players on him), our opponents had targeted him and Costa and had let Oliver cause he couldn’t hurt them.. Anyway even I want to think as Cholo damn I’m waiting Barca……

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Finally, Atleti are interested in the Egyptian winger of FC Basel Mohamed Salah (my compatriot)

    if you remember, I’ve been asking to sign him since the last summer, but at that time his price was less than the half of what it is now
    but it’s still affordable for us .. it’s estimated between 10 and 15 millions

    I think he will fit perfectly with us, and he can give us more creativity and more attacking solutions

    The only problem is that Salah dreams to play in EPL (in fact all football players do)
    even the Spanish players are escaping from the hell of the lame stupid competition which called La Liga and migrating in big numbers to the paradise of EPL (more than 30 Spanish players are playing today in EPL)

    and honestly, if i wasn’t an Atleti fan, I would wanted him to play in EPL too

    but I wish our project seduces him, and also the fact that he gets to play against Real & Barca at least twice every season

    that’s the two thing we we can offer him, because we can never match the greatness of The Premier League or the huge salaries they are paying

  • kris

    I think Liverpool have a greater chance of landing Saleh than Atleti. Liverpool are going to offer him HUGE wages, and they will most likely match his price tag for Basel while we may try negotiating too hard. He also knows he has a higher chance of being a regular at Liverpool than Atleti since Raheem Sterling may leave this transfer window. And we all know how well Jordan Henderson is (LOL) but I think he’s moving to Liverpool since he said he would like to play in England. so… But, I would be more than happy if we can land him. I saw him play in the CL and he is a great player, but too bad he’s going to be cup-tied even if he joins us in January. 🙁

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Here is a poll on MARCA about who would you prefer to play at right back vs Barca,
    Manquillo or Alderweireld

    I voted for Manquillo, and he is leading by almost 58.5% at this moment
    but I have a feeling that Simeone will play with Toby !

    what do you think ?!

  • kris

    I voted for Manquillo, I believe we will need his pace to stop Neymar. Just my opinion. Toby would be great too, but I fear he doesn’t go up that much.. Anyways, we still have this Valencia match to play at the Mestella. I think we should focus more on that because they might hit us hard if we are more focused on Barca than them.

  • Pantic#10

    Toby has more experience (with Belgium and Ajax) than Manquillo to big matches.
    Manquillo is extremely fast, and he can do dangerous attacks on the right.
    On his side he’ll face Jordi Alba and Pedro.
    I voted Manquillo on Marca.

  • piserakos

    Manquillo will probably bring excitement and energy, i’m sure he will give him 110% but I think everyone will do the same. I think Toby will play cause he is more experienced

  • Jeronamo

    Whoever gets the nod will have a hard time in the Barca game because that fixture will definitely be tough

  • Vlad

    Sorry for bringing it up again but… Villa is our best player???

    Sajedeh, did you watch any of the games this season? Villa, I hope, is on his way out..