Match preview: Valencia vs. Atlético

New year test for Rojiblancos in Valencia cup tie

Atleti prepare to take on Valencia in Copa action  (www.demotix.com)

Atleti prepare to take on Valencia in Copa action
(www.demotix.com)

January is Copa del Rey month in Spain, and holders Atlético get the action underway on Tuesday with the first leg of their last 16 tie against a rejuvenated Valencia.

Last month’s 3-0 league triumph over Los Che resulted in the dismissal of manager Miroslav Djukic, and it has been all change at the Mestalla since then.

Kick-off is set for 22:00 CET.

The red and whites kicked off 2014 in the best possible way at Málaga last weekend, winning 1-0 courtesy of Koke’s second half goal, keeping the pressure on Barcelona ahead of their crunch visit to the Calderón on Saturday.

Now though, attention turns to the Copa del Rey, and despite competing strongly both for La Liga and the Champions League, the team will not be taking the competition they won in such superb fashion last season at all lightly.

Having defeated Sant Andreu in the last round, a tougher task now awaits with Valencia the opposition in the last 16, now under the management of another of their former players, Juan Antonio Pizzi.

Although a former Spanish International, Pizzi hails from Argentina and would love nothing more than getting one over Simeone in his second match in charge, the first a solid 2-0 derby win against Levante on Saturday.

For Cholo though, the arrival of his compatriot at the Europa League side is seen as another challenge, with the Atleti boss admitting he was “excited and motivated” to take on the former San Lorenzo manager for the first time.

“I’ve seen Pizzi in Argentina and get the feeling he is a brave coach,” he said.

“He comes as a league champion there which is a great achievement, the competition is very tough. I wish him well as a colleague and an Argentine.”

Simeone also dismissed any suggestions that the cup was not a priority this year, naming the strongest squad possible for the trip.

“The cup is very important – not only are we defending it, but is a historic tournament and very important for this club.” said the 43 year-old.

“Valencia have a great team with great players. They will make it very tough, but we will go with the XI we think can help us go ahead in the tie.”

At this crucial stage in the season, only Mario Suárez is injured, although the Spanish international midfielder is back in training and close to a comeback. New signing José Sosa also misses out, still adapting to his new team and being brought up to full fitness.

José Giménez, Óliver Torres, Léo Baptistão and Emiliano Insúa are the other absentees, all due to technical decision.

As for Valencia, much has been made lately of rumours they are set for a multi-million euro takeover from Singaporean businessman Peter Lim, who expressed an interest in buying Atleti last year.

That has yet to fully materialise though, and whether it does in time to significantly reinforce during the January transfer window could be crucial for their season and where they finish.

Pizzi will be without star attacker Jonas due to suspension, and one-time rojiblanco Éver Banega has also been ruled out through injury. Elsewhere they are at full strength, with the exception of new signing Ruben Vezo.

After the match, preparation will begin for Barcelona at the weekend, before the return leg next Tuesday in the capital. Whoever makes it through will take on either Real Betis or Athletic Bilbao in the quarter finals.

Atlético match selection

Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Juanfran, Miranda
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi, Guilavogui
Forwards: Adrián, Villa, Diego Costa


  • piserakos

    it’s obvius Cholo want Coppa, I expect a very strong line-up for this game. Maybe we will secure our progress to the next round from today (an away win would probably mean that we will progress)…… It’s nice to fight for everything but personally I would rotate at this game,,, Aupa Atleti

  • kris

    Valencia C.F 0-2 Club Atletico de Madrid! Aupa Atleti!

  • Dircil

    I predict an easy win to the side of Atletico!

  • Atletico9

    Totally agree with you Piserakos. Rotate and save energy to our hard program. Barca, Valencia (home) and Sevilla all in next week.

    Aransubia

    Manqillio – Anderweild – Miranda – Filipe (because Insua not are in the squad).

    – Raul Garcia – Gabi – Josh – Christian

    – Villa – Adrian

    But: I think Cholo will start as best as possible.

    I think 1-1 will be fine today.

  • Atletico9

    And I also miss Oliver and Sosa.

  • Adnan Khan

    @Atletico9. Juanfran will start today that’s for sure, no point resting him when he wont be playing against barca

  • Atletico9

    I know that Juanfran will start.
    And I agree with the point of restning. But that’s not my point. My point is that Manqillio or Toby should play against Barca in the weekend, so who cholo deciede too that, should also play tonight so they can prepere to the big game.

    🙂

  • piserakos

    agree with atletico9 but for that reason there are trainings.
    today I think we will play with:
    -Courtois-
    -Juanfran, Godin, Toby, Felipe-
    -Gabi, Josh-
    -Adrian, Koke-
    -Villa, Raul-

  • pantic#10

    @Piserakos: amazing, we said the same team 😉 but i put Aranzubia as starter.

    I too think that RG8 will start instead Diego Costa.
    I really hope to see Josuha playing tonight; he did some really good performances when he had the opportunity.

    I expect a battle. Valencia wants revenge.

  • Jeronamo

    Hmmmm…

  • Adnan Khan

    I understand what you mean Atletico9, but i dont think cholo will experiment using manquillo in this game. We are going for a win so its best to use a starter in this position and situation. But yeah it would have been cool to see manquillo today 🙂

  • pantic#10

    The starter are:
    Courtois
    Filipe – Miranda – Toby – Juanfran
    Gabi – Josuha
    RG8 – Koke – Adrian
    Diego Costa

  • Jelle

    Anyone with a good stream? 🙂

  • pantic#10

    ahahahah have you seen guys? Guillavogui and the referee? ahahah

  • pantic#10

    OMG ! Adrian….c’mon! what a stupid mistake…

  • Will

    Man, I feel so bad for Adrián.. everything he tries doesn’t work.. 🙁

  • pantic#10

    RG8 very close to score.
    Good pressure by Atleti.

  • pantic#10

    Filipe injured…warm up for Manquillo

  • pantic#10

    Filipe looks ok (thanx god!)

  • Atletico9

    thats why I prefere Insua today. but hope his fine. 🙂

    and hope that we just can score today, one away goal could be important.

  • pantic#10

    Josuha is always in the right place!
    Diego Costa selfish! too much dribblings

  • Will

    Joshua is a strong, tall and classy midfielder.. pretty good acquisition. Mathieu is not giving any space to Diego, nice battle.

    Raúl Garcia shot was the most dangerous in this half but Valencia kept the ball too much.

  • Atletico9

    very quiet first half. AND thats fine. we have tree very important games at home in next week. (included the second game against valencia. And we always win at home :—-)

    hope that we can rest a bit in the last 45 minuts, and no one getting injured.

  • That first half wasnt the greatest IMO. Valencia had more of the ball although when we got it We made use of it better except we didnt do one thing, out the ball in the net, hoping for a better second half… I also hope filipe isnt injured that would be a huge blow for our top of the table clash with uefalona, and we’re already going to miss juanfran so hopefully everyone else plays it safe and doesnt get injured.

  • Will

    55′ Only Valencia playing until now…

  • pantic#10

    Jousha out and Arda in.
    Endless tiki-taka by Valencia.
    With Arda we’ll be more dangerous

  • pantic#10

    RG8, Who else?
    GOOOOAAAALLLLLL

  • pantic#10

    Mistake by the goalkeeper and RG8 scored. lethal.
    again by head.

  • Atletico9

    HAHAHAHAHA..

    who elso..

    Bad by the keeper Guaita and also bad by the line ref. good job by the main ref.

    important goal.

    But we play very badly in the second half.

  • pantic#10

    THIBAUTING!!!! amazing . what a save

  • Will

    76′ Thibauting of the day.

  • Atletico9

    And Costa close to penalty, but he dives and their wasn’t anything. a little contact but maybe also correct yellow card.

  • pantic#10

    again a wonderful save by Courtois.

  • pantic#10

    again Courtois!!!! OMG…this save was FU***ing unbelievable

  • Zakaria

    The defence is being played over and over. Am a bit worried we cant have this against barca. Soufiane is skillfull bit am sure barca has 3 or 4 players who are much better in dribbling or so.

  • pantic#10

    Super Toby!. great match! Bravo!

  • pantic#10

    damn… Valencia goal..
    but it’s deserved…they attacked all the 2nd half

  • pantic#10

    1st half: good
    2nd half: bad

    1-1 is a good result. but we were winning till the last second… 🙁
    good night

  • Will

    Yeah.. Filipe left Feghouli completely alone..
    That’s ok, we got the advantage we needed. Nice effort but Valencia controlled all the match, it’s a little bit worrying.

  • Zakaria

    Very worrying defensive display

  • Will

    Have a good night, PANTIC#10.

  • Chewie

    I’m not used to seeing Atletico parking the bus, The first half was solid, but in the second, especially after the substitutions, they found a way to open our defense like it’s nothing. I liked Toby and Guilavogui very much, they are plausible candidates for starting eleven. A draw on Mestalla against such an angry and agressive Valencia is an extremely good result, but next week we will show them who’s the boss.

  • Jeronamo

    Hmmmm I guess I can live with the draw

  • piserakos

    we were really bad, Costa had a really bad game Cholo should sub him for Villa. Tie with 1-1 it’s a good result, espatially with this performance, ok it’s sad cause we were seconds away from the victory. Well done Courtois. Now Barca

  • Atletico9

    FUCK! 1-1 in the very last action. 92.40 was played.

    but I keep my head high. We have not deserved to win. But we have a important away goal. And we can going to the next round we a lot of results. and we will!

    it will be very differcult against barca.

    but we can only make an surprise. Barca are still big favorites.

    Im am travelling to Madrid from Denmark at friday and going to see Barca, Valencia and Sevilla. Looking so must forward!

    I am huge fan and been in Madrid 4 times before and at Vicente Calderon 4 times before, and I saw us winning in Copenhagen also. But my best memory was at Bernabeu 17/5-2013!!!

    You are all welcome to follow my trip to Madrid on Instagram @kristianeg. Hopefully a lot of pictures from the upcoming games, and 9 points!

    Goodnight!

  • Jelle

    Det lyder fantastisk Kristian!
    God tur 😉

  • kris

    I am so excited for you Kristian. Hope you get to witness Atleti defeating three of the all time top football teams in La Liga.. Have a safe and a wonderful trip.

  • Will

    I’m so jealous of you guys in Europe… 🙁
    I’ll follow @kristianeg on Instagram and will be more than happy for a fellow Atleti fan 🙂 .

  • Adnan Khan

    God tur til kristian fra Norge!! 😉

  • atletico9

    Mange tak.

    Thanks you guys.