Match preview: Atlético vs. Real Madrid

Stand-in team set for derby showdown

Atleti face steep uphill battle against Real  (Fox Sports)

Atleti face steep uphill battle against Real
(Fox Sports)

Having had such a great season up until this point, it will be a little strange to see a depleted and confidence-shot Atlético take to the field against Real Madrid on Tuesday night, although there is still a cup-final place up for grabs.

On the back of two defeats, missing key players and 3-0 down from the first leg, the odds could not be any further stacked against the Rojiblancos, but not for one moment will they be taking this game likely.

Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 21:00 CET.

Pride is at stake for Atleti against their eternal rivals tomorrow, and on the back of humiliation in last week’s first leg at the Bernabéu – including two goals at the wrong end – Diego Simeone and his team will be desperate to get back on track.

At the weekend they saw their lead of La Liga abruptly halted in a 2-0 defeat to Almería, and are at risk of falling away from two competitions at least should they continue in the same manner over the next few weeks.

Not only that, but the injuries are also piling up, with less than 18 first team members available for what many are already dismissing as ‘Mission Impossible’ tomorrow evening.

Diego Costa will definitely miss out through suspension, and fellow starters David Villa and Filipe Luís are also absent through injury.

Perhaps most importantly though, we will be without Thibaut Courtois again in goal due to back discomfort. The Belgian has not been named in the squad, so Dani Aranzubía is expected to get another chance following his nightmare in Almería.

Koke does return having served a ban of his own, but may have to drop back into midfield as Tiago is also now on the sidelines. The former Portuguese international was subjected to a horror challenge by compatriot Hélder Barbosa on Saturday, and will be out for the next few weeks.

José Giménez is another player not fit enough to make the squad, whereas making up the numbers in attack is B-team striker and top scorer Rubén Mesa.

Simeone experimented using a much changed team during Monday’s training session, with just two of his preferred 11 involved.

A win of any kind will be the aim given we’ve not beaten Real in the Calderón since June 1999, although the Argentine boss – who has been reluctant to rotate this season – appears to have his priorities elsewhere now.

“We will play in the knowledge that it will be very difficult to make the final, but nothing is impossible in life,” he told the press in Majadahonda.

“The goal is to work and improve, that is the only way to keep us where we are right now. I invite my players, the club, the fans not to look for excuses but work together, if not 100% then 110%, or 120%.”

“I’m expecting a good game and a strong crowd, we’ll play a competitive team and hopefully continue as we have been all season.” he finished.

The visitors make the short journey south in the knowledge that one goal would mean it would take five for Atleti to qualify, and will also be buoyed by the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, available in the cup despite a three-match league ban.

Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Raphaël Varane will start his first match since November, and flavour of the month Jesé Rodríguez is also likely to keep his place in the line-up.

Real Sociedad and Barcelona face off in the other semi-final on Wednesday but, barring a miracle, our focus will most likely switch to Saturday’s crucial league clash, as Real Valladolid gear up for a trip to the capital.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Bono
Defenders: Godín, Alderweireld, Manquillo, Juanfran, Insúa, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cristian Rodríguez, Gabi, Diego, Sosa
Forwards: Adrián, Rubén Mesa

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I was going to write a comment asking for playing with the substitutes and the youth team players, and I was going to explain why
    but since this is the list of 18, there is no need for that
    but I would start with those XI :

    Manqui – Toby – Godin – Insua
    Gabi – Mario
    Koke – Diego – Arda

    I have no Idea who Mesa is, but I gave up on Adrian, and I’m not sure if RG8 can play as a sole striker
    but I didn’t give up on Insua .. and I have a great faith in Yassine, and personally, I’ll be happy to see an Arab player at Atleti

    But the most important thing : Please, no more injuries

    I’m not waiting for a comeback, let’s stop being emotional and start to be rational,
    it’s very very difficult to comeback from a 3-0 , even against a much weaker teams than Real Madrid, and even with all your big names, including Courtios, Filipe, Tiago, Villa & Costa, who all are absent tomorrow

    1-0 would be very great result
    it will be the first win vs Real at the Calderon in 15 years
    and it will be first win vs Casillas .. ever !

  • piserakos

    We won Casillas at our last win at Bernabeou before last year… At the 1-3 he played all the second half… Even though we didn’t scored against him
    Accoring to Marca our starting line up would be
    -Manquillo, Miranda, Toby, Insua-
    -Koke, Mario-
    -Sosa, Diego, Rodriguez-
    Personally after seeing that the only youngster is Mesa i would use the same starting eleven
    Aranzubia need playing time, Bono plays at Atleti B and also Aranzubia has to make a great match cause he was awfull against Almeria.. Maybe this would be his last chance…
    Insua has to find play time form, he is good enough but he needs game. The same Manquillo and Toby.
    Mario also needs to find his form. Gabi needs some rest. Diego and Sosa have to play with the team. And Rodriguez need more chances, he allways trys a lot… Garcia would be reasonable solution on frond cause Mesa is still without a game with first team, personally I think (if any miracle happen and we win 2-0 at that moment) Simeone would put him instead of Raul early at the second half… Hope we will win, it is allways important to win a derby, but most of all hope that there would be no more injuries

  • Ian

    honestly, i’m more concerned about courtois more than anything now..
    and aranzubias red card appeal, just in case courtois can’t come back in time for the next la liga match….

  • Paulo

    Some would say it looks like we’ve given up on the copa.
    Giving up against puta madrid in Vicente Calderon is THE MOST PATHETIC THING an atleti fan can do. It’s like being ok when they jeer us “patetico”. Fuck that.
    It’s not about resting and trying to stay alive in other competitions. Or about trying to salvage something. It’s about ATLETI playing real madrid in the VICENTE CALDERON!!!
    Maybe the club and some of the players have given up, maybe even Cholo has given up, but the fans just can’t give up in a situation like this. Fuck being realistic. Being emotional is the only way for a true COLCHONERO.
    Otherwise there is no point in supporting Atletico de Madrid. If you claim to be realistic you wouldn’t be wasting your time supporting a football club (especially a club like atleti) when there’s the real world out there and football being “only a sport”, like I’ve heard some “realists” say.
    Today there is a slight chance the team will surprise everybody with their spirit.
    Maybe even score some goals. Think about Diego, Arda and Raul all scoring. Maybe even Miranda in the extra time. Or the game going to the penalties and Ronaldo slipping on the way to the spot and missing. What a celebration that would be, huh?

    What is more probable, is we get our asses kicked so bad, everybody will be seeing nightmares accompanied by the evil laughter of Kepler Lima until March, but still I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
    I know Frente Atletico will be singing and I suggest y’all sing along if you know the tunes or the lyrics!

  • Dirceu

    what do u guys think about this kid?

  • pantic#10

    Juanfran Godín,Miranda, Insúa
    Mario Suárez, Gabi
    Koke, Diego, Arda
    Adrian (RG8)

    That’s my 11
    we’ll win.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I just love how enthusiastic & passionate Paulo is, and I always enjoy his posts,
    and despite I’m one of those he is referring to by “realists” -and he maybe right- , I suggested a line-up that can win tonight, although it seems like Simeone will start with a weaker line-up as the press suggested according to the XI he tested in the training,
    he will start with Koke as CM instead of Gabi, Sosa & Cebolla as wingers instead if Arda & Koke

    and despite the fact that I said it’s difficult to comeback, I never stopped dreaming,
    in fact, I reminded myself by Atleti-Recreativo game 2010, in which we came back from a 3-0 defeat in the first leg and won 5-1, it was in the round of 16, and then we kept wining until we reached the final, and even I search for a video for that game and watched a summary of it last night

    just like you Paulo, I also dreamed about a 3-0 win, then a penalty shout-out in which Ronaldo misses and we win

    and about what I said that I wanted to play with the subs & the youth, this has nothing to do with giving up and losing hope, it was about protesting, about sending a message
    I wanted that to be our way to protest against the injustice, about the bad refereeing, about ignoring Atleti, not just in Spanish media, but in the whole world media
    I wanted us to send a message, to Real & Barca, to LFP & RFEF, to AS & MARCA :
    you don’t want a competition, you want the big two to compete with themselves ?!
    well, here you go

    but after I thought of it a little, I realized that it will not give us any good, as the media and the LFP & RFEF are in Real & Barca’s pockets, if we played with the reserve, we can never send our message, we can not make the world see it as a protest, but they can make the world see it as a cowardice .. and they will
    just like they made Barca withdrawing from the semifinal 2nd leg 2000 (against Atleti) after losing the 1st leg 3-0 a heroism !

    Piserakos :
    it’s not our job to give Aranzubia some minutes, he is probably will leave at the end of the season, either Courtois stayed or not
    if someone needs playing minutes then it’s Bono, the 22 year old promising talent, not Aranzubia, the 34 year old clown !

    Today is February 11th
    in this day, 3 years ago, a group of young Egyptians protestors -I’m proudly one of them- took down Hosni Mubarak, a tyrant who ruled Egypt for 3 decades with an iron fist

    hell, if we can take down Mubarak, we can take down Real Madrid

    how about that for a spirit, Paulo 😉

    Aupa Atleti

  • Pantic#10

    Pepe tonight will play…he spat on Costa face last match….and no one have disqualified him?? Dont like what’s happening in La Liga, too much anger and bad behaviour from players.

  • Kris

    We gotta do what we gotta do and what we know how to do…. That is to WIN and win only!!! Forza Atleti!!! 5-0. Laugh at my optimism, I don’t have any f*cks to give you. Vamos!!!

  • Amr Habib Mukadaffi

    Guys why are you all so angry on Aranzzubia ? I did saw it, he made a mistake, but he ‘recovered’ it.. He grabbed the ball back, and then the reff gave a penalty and red wich was not right, so i can’t really blame Arranzubia for 100%

  • farhan

    ya i also hate atletico giving up copa … against…real…jer*s…
    after winning
    3-0 they are celebrating like they won ucl liga nd copa all…
    task is difficult but not immposible…

  • piserakos

    @paolo, ahmad… I agree with both of you… In fact I agree more with Paolo I always dreaming and believing at Atleti and I always said f*ck you with your realism (with all the respect Ahmad:P) I also saw yesterday our 5-1 win against Recreactivo and I remember that game, I was that excited that day… Yes it is difficult, yes we have a lot of injuries, yes we have to give up something! But we are Atleti!!! We fight untill our death!!! Vamos Atleti!!
    I want to ask something from our players, kick them that bad that they will never play football again

  • Dirceu

    We’re used to the 4-4-2 formation where we can create more chances than the 4-2-3-1. Costa is not Falcao who can work alone upfront, so my idea is to play RG as a second striker. Arda on the left flank and Diego on the right flank. It will be the best solution I think. Anyway, my prediction is Atletico 3-0 Real (We’ll win in the extra time just like we did previously in the final copa del rey.

  • Chewie

    Real 2 – 0 Atletico. With this squad we have almost no chance against them. What an unlucky chain of injuries and suspensions.

  • marcelo

    Unfortunately, Chewie is right. We have to be realistic. We have been hit hard by suspensions and injuries and this Real team is much much better than the last 2 times we played them. We’d be lucky to get a draw tonight. Just want to see some fight from the players tonight and signs that we can get out of our slump for La Liga and the CL.

  • Will


    that’s why Simeone says it’s a ‘boring league’. If Marcelo is injured you have the money to keep Coentrão. If Jordi Alba is injured you can pick Adriano. All 4 current on their national teams.

    As Filipe Luis said on November, 5th we would see the difference to Madrid and Barça on about round 30 where their squad with 30-40 million euros reserves could make the difference. We’ll get there soon.

  • piserakos
    the starting eleven
    -Manquillo, Toby, Miranda, Insua-
    -Koke, Mario-
    -Sosa, Diego, Cebolla-

  • Paulo

    Ahmad & Piserakos: That’s THE SPIRIT! The Simao free kick in the Recre game… WOW! Never stopped believing. Just trying to keep the flame burning, people!
    And thank you for your uplifting words, Ahmad. RESPECT!
    Now let’s kick these blanco asses!

  • pantic#10

    What a dive …by the barbie!!!
    what a dive….can’t believe.

  • pantic#10

    Ok it’s all clear now.
    good to know.

  • Will

    Exactly, @PANTIC#10. Another penalty. It’s really really getting ridiculous.

  • Jeronamo

    These refs…..

  • pantic#10

    even the commentators said that manquillo didn’t touch Ronaldo.
    What a shame 🙁

  • pantic#10

    WTF! Post by RG8

  • pantic#10

    ahahahah another penalty

  • Jelle

    I think there was a penalty. But now one more. Come on guys

  • pantic#10

    but this time there’s a fault! Insua….

  • Jeronamo

    *clapping* now that’s a better call than the first one you fucking idiot ref

  • pantic#10

    What’s happening guys?
    Into the void?

  • palestine-atletico


  • Jeronamo

    At least they’re fighting but I think it’s time simeone put some pressure on these refs

  • pantic#10

    I don’t have anything to say to our players, except the stupid fault by Insua.
    We fight, we are alive.

  • Jeronamo

    I’m not even mad at Insua. There’s something called frustration, after being on the wrong end of so many calls you have all right to be frustrated

  • pantic#10

    Toby! good work on Bale

  • pantic#10

    Have you seen Manquillo? wow!

  • Jeronamo

    Yeah Manquillo looks great

  • pantic#10

    we’re not playing bad.

  • pantic#10

    no penalty?? ahahah

  • Jeronamo

    Lol don’t expect them to give us anything really

  • pantic#10

    Ronaldo looks like Cap America on steroids…they gave him the super soldier serum…

  • pantic#10

    see? he almost put k.o. manquillo

  • Jeronamo

    What the fuck

  • pantic#10

    Mono cured manquillo with his magic touch.

  • Jeronamo

    How is that not a red card tho?

  • Paulo

    Great accuracy with the lighter!

  • Paulo

    Should have been a bullet…

  • Jeronamo

    Someone hit Renaldo with a lighter or some kind of object

  • pantic#10

    @ Jeronamo: ahahha yeah nice shot 😉

  • Jeronamo

    Hahahaha @ paulo… sad to say and horrible of me but sadly it wasn’t

  • Atletico9

    wow. crazy with manqilillo. it could have been very bad! he looks okay.

    i think that the penalties was okay.

    But fuck it. we are out and can hold focus on the league and champions league, while Real will lose the league, copa final and champions league.

    i think that it maybe will be good for atleti if, Real and Barca are going long i champions league so the can lose some focus and points in the league. I really hope that we can win the league this year and going thru the next round in champions league as minimum.

  • Jeronamo

    Lmao @ pantic and paulo. How does that send him to thw ground like that?

  • Jeronamo

    Hey we need to go far in the CL too

  • pantic#10

    @Jeronamo: you wrote “Someone hit Renaldo with a lighter or some kind of object”
    but i read “Simeone hit Ronaldo…”
    ahahah lol

  • Jelle

    Adrian looks good with the ball. Maybe the old Adrian is back to play a big role in the second half of the season.

  • Jeronamo

    Lmao @ Pantic… He should have