Match preview: Almería vs. Atlético

League-leaders Atleti begin their quest to defend their throne

Atlético look to hold on to 1st place (Getty Images)

Atlético look to hold on to 1st place (Getty Images)

Atlético must pick their heads up following their gut-wrenching defeat at the midweek at the hands of arch-nemeses Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey semifinals.

On Saturday, los Colchoneros travel southeast into Andalusia for a league clash against relegation-threatened Almería, with kick-off at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos set for 22:00 CET.

In spite of the 3-0 scoreline at the Santiago Bernabéu — their worst defeat of the season — los Rojiblancos have nothing to be ashamed of.

Au contraire mon frères!

Atleti have plenty of reasons to remain upbeat despite their loss on Wednesday.

At the top of the league table for the first time in close to two decades, the weekend may present Diego Simeone’s men with another opportunity to further increase their lead over the pair of longstanding giants in Spain.

Real Madrid face a tough test on Saturday when they host the always pesky Yellow Submarine, while Barcelona must take on Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán on Sunday.

The red and white faithful will be minding the scoreboards hoping their club’s direct rivals will let some points slip away.

In his pre-game press conference, Simeone admitted, “It’s normal to be criticised after a loss. We were a team that came into the match during their second cycle of 23 games unbeaten.

“This makes us happy on the one hand, because it means we’ve grown a great deal and, besides that, we have to try to put our best effort in.”

Simeone continued, warning of our opponents’ hunger to reach the safety zone in La Liga:

“I see it the same way I have been throughout the league campaign: it’s one more game. It’s tough because of the necessities of our rivals.”

Koke will sit this encounter out through suspension, while David Villa and Filipe Luís are unavailable because of injury. José Giménez, as usual, wasn’t handed a ticket to Almería per tactical decision.

Surprisingly, Simeone did call up 17-year-old Atlético Juvenil centre-back Lucas, who leap-frogged a whole lot of competition in order to earn the spot.

Because starting goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was experiencing slight discomfort in his back during training — it’s likely the pain was caused by the awkward twisting about during the midweek Madrid Derby as he watched deflections end up sailing into the back of his net — Simeone is bringing Atleti B goalkeeper Bounou along for the voyage.

Back in mid-September at the Vicente Calderón, Atleti put four goals past Almería–courtesy of Villa, Koke, Costa and Raúl García.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois, Bounou
Defenders: Godín, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Juanfran, Insua, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario, Cebolla, Gabi, Diego, Sosa, Tiago, Raúl, Arda
Forwards: Adrián, Costa


  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Courtois
    Juanfran-Miranda-Godin-Insua
    Gabi-Mario
    Arda-Diego-Adrian
    Costa

    although Adrian is insisting to waste every single chance to get Simeone’s trust again, but I still prefer him over RG8 in this game,
    It’s gonna be a closed one, Almeria may even start with 5 defenders, so we need Adrian’s dribbling and speed to open holes in their dense wall
    Beside, when Adrian was really a football player (2011-12) Diego was there, and now Diego is back .. so, who knows, maybe he will be his magic potion

    in fact, except Falcao and the injured Filipe, the line-up above is the one Simeone mostly used in his first season

    I’m very sure that at least one of Real & Barca will drop points this week
    just as I said before :
    The pressure is not on the team who sold their only super star, Falcao
    The pressure is on those who bought one player for 100 million, and those who bought one for 90 million, and said he only cost them 57, and now they have nightmares about jail

    I wish simeone and his “hombres” realize that and play without any pressure

    AUPA ATLETI

  • Courtois
    Juanfran-Miranda-
    Godin-Insua
    Gabi-Mario
    Arda-Diego-Adrian
    Costa

  • Dirceu

    why didnt u put Koke on the right instead of Arda and move Arda to the left? That would be better I think?

  • Ty Gambo

    Koke is suspended, Dirceu

  • Dylanowy

    Gimenez is injured too (of course even is he was fit he wouldn’t be called up).

  • Martin Rosenow

    @Dylanowy The official site states it’s because of “decisión técnica”, but injury would make more sense when you consider that Lucas was called up ahead of him.

  • Jeronamo

    Injuries, injuries and it looks like we should have kept at least one of the players who were loaned out… we should win this tho but I hope suspensions and injuries don’t pile up in this game also

  • kris

    This is a must-win match for Atleti if we are aiming to stay atop. Let’s win this match guys. Come on! I predict, UD Almeria 0-3 Club Atletico de Madrid.

  • kris

    And yes, injuries, suspensions, all, should be dealt with smartly by Simeone and not panic at hard times because we all know injuries and cards are part of the game.. Let’s win this and keep the Atletico Madrid banner flying high.. Forza Atleti!

  • Valinia

    better start adrian as a winger than a striker.. his finishing is awful but his dribbling n passing r ok

  • kris

    Yeahh, it should be a 4-2-3-1 formation… I would still not yet start Adrian.. I think Sosa would help more in this game than Adrian.
    Courtois
    Juanfran-Miranda-Godin-Insua
    Mario-Gabi
    Sosa-Diego-Arda
    Costa

  • Zakaria

    Hi guys, am facing a technical problem with my cable tv, hence am not agile to watch the game. Can someone give me a good streaming site that I can use to watch the game?
    Thanks

  • jeronamo

    try firstrowsports.eu

  • kris

    The same as Jeronamo wrote. http://gofirstrowus.eu/

  • Pantic#10

    Manquillo in – insua out!!
    If Cholo prefer to play with Manquillo on the left….this means that Insua lost a lot of trust from Simeone

  • kris

    Actually, I like this. If Manquillo is playing from the left, he’s really good at going forward (better than Insua), we will have more options going up front. Manquillo also plays smarter than Insua. I am not sure if he’s just as good on the left as he is on the right, but he surely will help. Hopefully, RG8 isn’t playing as a winger. IT JUST DOESN”T WORK!!! Even though in the formation, he’s a winger, I’d like him to switch roles with Diego Costa and play as a false 9, with Diego playing through the wings… Let’s just wait and see. These are some interesting changes.

    (4-2-3-1)
    Aranzubia
    Juanfran-Miranda-Godin-Manquillo
    Tiago-Gabi
    RG8-Diego-Arda
    Costa

    That’s the lineup and formation, but it’ll be interesting to see if they will play accordingly or not..

  • jeronamo

    @ Kris, maybe Insua would have been able to place more trust with more playing time but I can’t do cholo’s so whatever

  • kris

    Yup, I really don’t understand Cholo either at times……………………..

  • EC

    Id say it’s probably more Likly to be our standard 4-4-2 with Diego in for Koke and Garcia up front along side costa instead of Villa. I hope Garcia isn’t playing as a winger

  • jeronamo

    lol i wonder if RG8 himself hopes he doesn’t end up on the wing

  • pantic#10

    It can a be a 4-4-1-1 with RG8 on the right and Diego Ribas just behind/near Costa
    or a 4-2-3-1 (more probably)

    Just curious to see how they play.

  • pantic#10

    anyway Juanfran is on the left and Manquillo on the right

  • pantic#10

    no wait….sorry the commentator said it..but don’t looks like it 🙂

  • pantic#10

    no i was right 🙂 Manquillo on the right eheh

  • pantic#10

    omg! have you seen what a jump did Juanfran! wow

  • kris

    Will you please tell these players to shoot the damn ball? Goddamn, they never shoot.

  • jeronamo

    Are we planning to mess around with the lead tonight?

  • kris

    Thank you Diego. There we go. We create chances by kicking at the goal post not passing the ball around the box.. damn..

  • jeronamo

    lol @Kris its amazing how you point out some
    things right before i can

  • pantic#10

    poor manquillo

  • jeronamo

    We’re making little to no threat towards Almeria’s goal

  • pantic#10

    he’s made of iron!! i was afraid he was injured! good he’s ok

  • jeronamo

    And as a result it’s making Almeria look way better than they are

  • kris

    This oldie is pissing the shit out of me with his dumbass fouls.

  • kris

    Terrible. Just horrible. Put in Adrian or Sosa for RG8.

  • jeronamo

    That first half completely pissed me off… I hope the second half is way different

  • kris

    Not that I am saying RG8 is playing horrible, the whole team is playing horrible but we needa take him out at the moment to try to open up the pitch more and create more chances.

  • palestine-atletico

    3rd half with bad atleti performance, there is something wrong

  • pantic#10

    i think it’s only a “mental” problem. probably the pressure for the 1st place?
    What do you think?

  • jeronamo

    Maybe @pantic but i also think fatigue and the players chosen are all part of the problem

  • Jelle

    So close! Great play by diego and arda

  • jeronamo

    I’ve had enough. RG8 out and Cebolla or Sosa in please

  • jeronamo

    WTF he got no card for that????????????????

  • kris

    This ref is so effing horrible. Damn. Tiago injured again.. Hope it’s not anything serious.

  • EC

    Diego has been our best attacking player…

  • jeronamo

    So Tiago out hurt and suarez on….. BUT DIEGO OUT FOR SOSA??????????? WTF!!!!!!!!

  • jeronamo

    I’m sick of how simione makes subs, thats an awful decision

  • Will

    Ugly match so far…

    I guess they heard @KRIS… they are all shooting to the goal, all terrible shots, but they are risking..

  • Will

    71′: Shots on target: ATM 1 – 0 ALM

  • pantic#10

    we have some serious problems with the referees…

  • Will

    Oh my God, it would be completely undeserved… my thanks God.

  • jeronamo

    The posts came to our fucking rescue… I’ve had enough of watching this, i’ll go play with my girl or something

  • pantic#10

    ahahahah soooo lucky can’t believe 2 posts!

  • Dirceu

    Come on, just score 1 goal and we can keep 3 points a head Real!!!!!!!!!!1

  • kris

    Unbelievable!!

  • Will

    Man, we’re really unlock. third “lucky” goal in 2 matches.

  • Jelle

    Fuck off. But og we Can make chances, we can’t win.

  • Dirceu

    da fuq?????? what a goal by Almeria. We’re in trouble now!!!!!

  • pantic#10

    olè…1-0 wtf! dammnnnn

  • kris

    Dumbass Aranzubia!! Last time also he did this.. He should never wear an Atleti shirt ever again..

  • Will

    COME ON!!!!!! Ridiculous call by the referee!!!!!!!!!!! Normal play!!! Now we will have Gabi as keeper!!!! RIDICULOUS!!!!

  • kris

    Gabi as goalkeeper. lol

  • pantic#10

    what a fu**ing terrible night

  • pantic#10

    Gabi goalkeeper hell yeah

  • Jelle

    Not even close to be a penalty.

  • Will

    See you, guys..

  • Dirceu

    We’re cursed ????? I can’t believe in this defeat

  • kris

    LMFAO Gabi. lol for some reason, I can’t stop laughing.. I must be hurt by this defeat.. horrible defeat.. this is total humiliation for us..

  • EC

    F**K F**K F**K THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO IMPLODE!!!

  • pantic#10

    Honestly before the start i was afraid for a tie…but this…this is a nightmare…

  • EC

    5 goals conceded and none scored in our last two with real to come in the cup and then soon after a very important match against Milan.

    So angry at this defeat, there has been no desire to win this match and also this has been by far simione’s worst game.

    1. The juanfran on the left and manquillo on the right experiment has been terrible

    2. Starting garcia on the right of midfield has always been terrible

    3. taking Diego off when he was our best player for Sosa who hasn’t been perticulary promising so far.

    4. Cortouis not playing has probably cost us a point

    ARGH!!

  • pantic#10

    anyway i can’t stop laughing (like Kris) by watching Gabi as a goalkeeper ….true hero.

  • Will

    I’m just sick of Costa. He feels like he’s the star now… Waiting for the ball on his feet, not running, not fighting and complaining all the time.

  • marcelo

    The ref was dogshit today but Cholo made some bad calls too. Diego was our best attacker. We went to shit after he was subbed. Ffs Aranzubia. 1st goal was a disgrace and even though the 2nd shouldn’t have been a penalty, Aranzubia should’ve cleared it first time. Terrible night…argh.

  • pantic#10

    dizziness for the 1st place..it’s the only explanation.

  • palestine-atletico

    We gave real madrid the ticket to reach final and after 3 days we gave real madrid the lead in la liga…. i am sorry to say it but we will finish 3rd in la liga and will be out of CL and cup.
    WE DONT HAVE THE BELIEVE AND THE PASSION TODAAAAY I HATE THIS ATLETI FIND A QUICK SOLUTION YOU SIMEONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dirceu

    Since Diego came back, we started to be inconsistent. I’m a but superstitious but it’s happening. I just wonder what happen if we play without him. Any thought? By the way, Sosa is completely a flop. He didnt contribute much to the team’s play.

  • Samad

    Fck us so hard I’m completely pissed off . Simeone take al meria lightly by not playing koke and courtois and why the Fck manquillo is rb we need toby until filipe is back. Completely pissed off arunzibia is 2nd division goal keeper he belongs there.

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    Refferee 2 – 0 Atletico

    Someone please explain me.. How can you not get a 100% certain red card in minute 65e for coming in with 2 legs forward with the intention to injury a player –> Tiago..

    And that penalty and red card was retarded…. He went for the ball, he had the ball and then got a penalty and red ? I hope they ban this reff.

    Because of these reffs the spanish football gets a bad name.

  • marcelo

    Koke was suspended and Courtois was injured, smartass.

  • pantic#10

    @Dirceu: Diego played a great match against Real Sociedad, not with Real but he played a good 1st half today.
    don’t think he’s the problem.

  • palestine-atletico

    Dirceu you are right since the start of the season we scored from inside the box our way is to go into the box NOT to end the play by SHOOTING from outside the box. And this is what diego was doing today instead of searching for a way to assist a goal he shoots several times.
    OMG I am depressed guys!!!!!!

  • ali_

    he shot from outside the box, cos there was not a single fuckin movement in the box. almeria parked the bus.

  • MR

    it was a huge mistake to compete in the copa del rey with the first team.
    the whole team is exhausted, we didn’t have a proper match this year yet (even last week we played bad against sociedad, despite the result. sociedad could score easily a few times)
    Cholo should field resrves-youngsters in the cup, (with Aranzubia in the goal as i think we all know he is really not this bad. he could be match-fit for occasions when Thibu is out if he played the cup matches)
    and now we’re heading to the derby…we really don’t need this match right know

  • EC

    sick and tired of this crap. We have barely had any good decisions from referees this season. Real madrid on the other hand would still be a good few pts behind if it wasn’t for the refs. even today dos santos was clear through in the opening mins and he was flagged off (he wasn’t offside) and then there are the ridiculous ones like at elche where pepe pulls down a player in the box and gets the penalty. plus arbelos could’ve been sent off about 3 times against us in the cup and we should’ve had 1 or 2 pens. There are countless others aswell.

    Everything is stacked against us in this league

  • marcelo

    He was forced to shoot mostly because Costa didn’t feel like running as shown by two great balls to Manquillo (his crosses weren’t the best) and Costa didn’t even make a run towards goal.

  • Samad

    Why the Fck toby didn’t start he’s a great defender give him a chance at least or play insua manquillo is still young I think costa is a flop we probably have exchange costa to daniel sttutidge at least he doesn’t think he’s a star. Completely pissed of

  • kris

    Are you fucking serious Palestine-Atletico? What the hell was he supposed to do when there was nobody inside the box and 7 players right at the edge of the box? find another partner?? wow… I have been playing for so many years now,, and I tell you one thing,, you can’t really make chances without shooting the ball. It just doesn’t happen..

  • kris

    lol for Sturridge? Sturridge is a selfish kunt. I have seen him play, mate…

  • Samad

    And call some tall goal keeper from academy as courtois replacement

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    Any1 can explain me why he didin’t got a red card ? for charging in forward with both leggs, in the hope to injury Tiago ?

    And after seeing the replay 16x times, i still don’t know why he got red and a penalty ?

  • Samad

    Just see his finishing and compare them to costa,s goal costa is an other fine example of tevez a player with high temper

  • Sajedeh

    We were leaders after 18 years just for one week!!! that,s really really funny

  • EC

    Also don’t all suddenly turn on costa for this game. he didn’t look like he was trying but neither did a lot of players. He has been brilliant for us this season and has worked very hard all season. This was an absolutely disgusting defeat, but were still joint top of la liga so lets see what the next weeks bring. Hopefully we can get our form back and who knows Real may have a bad game like we just did and drop pts against elche or away to Getafe

  • Samad

    Reff are not only to blame we played badly with a single shot on target. After watching tonights match I think ac milan will crush us at San siro and what is happening to arda

  • kris

    Exactly my point, EC. Everybody is all up on Costa and nobody is blaming on Simeone for using the wrong players at the wrong time. Constructive criticism matters no matter whoever the hell you are. Costa played terrible and so did 8 other Atleti players on the field. We should have never fielded our regular starters for the Real game in the Cup, if we were going to lose 3-0. That was a bad mistake and that has worn down both the Atleti and Real players… I’m just pissed off at the bad officiating…

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    You can’t blame any atletico player, if the ref is trying to help Almeria since the first minute..

  • Samad

    Let’s hope rakitic and co upset barca at least to keep us second

  • kris

    Samad, are you secretly a troll and not an Atleti fan?? Milan lost 3-1 to Napoli today..

  • marcelo

    Are you a troll, Samad?

  • piserakos

    What to first say…. Let’s start from my favourite one… Costa you don’t deserve to wear this shirt… I was told you that we should sell him and most of you argued too much with me… That’s the result! For 1 more game he thinks he is a star… He don’t move he don’t try he don’t run. He just arguing! He destroyed all our attacking play.
    2) Cholo are you drunk?? Blind?? What the hell is going on!!! Every one see that Garcia at the right it doesn’t work!!!! EVERYONE!!!
    3) Again Cholo!!! What was that experiment at such an important match with Manquillo…. I didn’t worked.
    4) Again Cholo!!! Diego out??? What!!! He was the only one who was creating something (maybe Arda also a little) Garcia and Costa were complety out of game….. Huge mistake!!!
    5) Aranzubia…. Even I wouldn’t do those stupid things!!
    6) All the team!! Where is this fucking intesy we are talking about!! Where is this passion!!! What the hell are you doing!!!!
    7) Referee you costed us 3 points today…
    8) THIS WAS THE WORST ATLETI I’VE SEEN WITH CHOLO AT THE BENCH…
    9) We need to find our self. Cholo has to punish some players and someone has to talk to him! Or i’m sorry to say that but the rest of the season will be a dissaster!! WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kris

    Make Aranzubia do a million pushups for acting like an idiot. lol. I can’t stop laughing at that incident. ahhaha.

  • EC

    Iam alot more worried about the champions league tie than i originally was. but Milan are doing terrible in the seri A and are no big deal. If we play close to how we have been recently we will go through. Altho even when milan are bad in the league they often perform in europe. They were poor last season and still beat Barca 2-0 at the san siro.

  • Samad

    No I’m completely pissed of arda performs better when he’s facing big teams or playing in cl just watch his performence against barca and against porto.

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    Diego had some minor issues with his knee, he couldn’t continue the match. He played decent before he had issues with his knee..

    Gabi was the most worse player today… Only thing he did was shooting, had 6x shoots, and none of those shoots were aimed on goal…

    I don’t blame the goalkeeper for 100%, he made a mistake, but then recovered it by taking the ball.. And then got a red card , and a penalty wtf !

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    Arda wasn’t really that bad today… Played normal… It was Gabi who was the worst man on the pitch today.. Dunno why he is the captain… He knows he cant shoot properly, and still shoots, 6x times, and none of it on goal.

  • Samad

    It is nightmare week for us but there something to laugh. Gabi as goal keeper

  • AaX

    REALIZE NOW THE IMPORTANCE OF A WORLD CLASS GOALKEEPER LIKE COURTOIS IS FOR ATLETICO and THE IMPORTANCE OF DEVELOPING AND IMPROVING DRASTICALLY THE APPROACH AND STYLE OF OUR ATTACKING GAME PLAY. IT WAS INTERCEPTIBLE BECAUSE IT HAS ALTHOUGH PREVIOUSLY EFFECTIVE BEEN PREDICTABLE. THE SPEED OF IT’S IMPROVEMENT PROGRESS IS CRUCIAL FOR OUR SUCCESS THIS YEARS.

  • jeronamo

    I’m glad i didn’t watch to the end. How long have i talked about injuries and cholo’s decisions? Am I the only one that thinks alot of thesee points dropped could have been avoided? I got too tired cursing the tele and I’m too tired complaining about things that obviously aren’t gonna change. Fuck Everything Right Now

  • kris

    I feel ya Jeronamo. I am going to take a picture of your comment AAX. Epic!

  • Samad

    Kris I’m an atletico fan I agree penalty was a bad decision but what about the first goal. He’s a second division goalkeeper he belongs there. Penalty was bad decision but why didn’t he pass the ball when he received it. I’m atletico fan but also arsenal and both of my favorite teams were crushed today and give thier city rivals chance to top the table.