Match preview: Atlético vs. Valladolid

Simeone stressed the importance of playing a solid match on Saturday

Koke returns from suspension  (Getty Images Europe)

Koke returns from suspension
(Getty Images Europe)

Atlético will look to cast away the dreadful memories of the past week when they welcome Valladolid to the Vicente Calderón on Saturday.

Proceedings get underway at 16:00 CET, and fans are welcome to attend in spite of the Cristiano lighter incident at the midweek.

Spanish football’s Competition Committee fined Atleti 600 euros for the crime. There are perhaps a couple of you Colchoneros out there that would probably pay double for the privilege.

Oh relax! We kid, we kid. We do not condone what took place, but you must forgive us for laughing. Sergio Ramos did, too!

Back to the match at hand.

Valladolid are on red alert–sitting at the top of the drop zone in 18th place and with only one win on the road this season. The Pucela’s lone away victory came from their visit to Vallecas way back in October.

Los Rojiblancos, meanwhile, are currently level in points at the top of the Primera División table with Real Madrid and Barcelona–goal differential the key figure that separates the three top clubs in Spain.

Good news right?

Well…a slew of injuries, fierce competition, refereeing controversies and, frankly, poor play, see los Rojiblancos stuck smack dab in the middle of their worst streak since Diego Simeone’s arrival over two years ago.

So, while our opponents are struggling and sit way down low on the Primera totem pole, they come into this clash unbeaten, while our men in red and white enter it without a win in three–in fact, without a goal in three.

Simeone, speaking to reporters during his pre-game press conference on Friday, made it clear that, “In these times, we are absolutely focussed on the match against Valladolid. We have to play a good match and do well.”

The Argentine tactician then addressed club top scorer Diego Costa’s limited opportunities in recent matches.

“I think our opponents have marked him really well,” he said.

“It’s been credit to the opposing defenders, especially how they’ve managed the games. It’s true that in neither of these two matches he’s had chances to score. We’re working to address that so the team can improve their possibilities of creating goal scoring situations for a player as important as Diego Costa.”

With regard to suggestions that playmaker Diego’s arrival perhaps altered the squad’s winning formula too much, ‘El Cholo’ said:

“If you recall, the way we played with Diego when we got here was that Diego would line up on the right, Mario, Gabi or Tiago alternating, Arda on the left and Adrián and Falcao up top.

“At that time, we worked really well and few goals were scored against us when we’d maintain our lines tightly as we do now, and I don’t see why we’d have to look for another solution.”

He continued: “Yes, it’s true that a year and a half that he hasn’t been here with us is a long time. Obviously, his arrival to the club and the matches have left us with little time to work on certain things. The quicker he remembers them, the better it will be for the team, because he’s going to give us a considerable boost in quality.”

Filipe Luís, José Giménez, Tiago and Javi Manquillo will all continue to be sidelined and will miss out of this fixture; the latter two still have over a month to go in their recoveries.

Arda, David Villa and Thibaut Courtois are all back in the squad though, which will provide Atleti with a tremendous shot in the arm for this game.

Koke also returns having served a one-match ban from league action last weekend, as does Costa, who sat out against Real on Tuesday while serving his suspension from Copa del Rey play.

The Rojiblanco faithful will likely be hoping to see good ole Dani Aranzubía between the sticks once again.

LOL! Dear lord no.

Welcome back Thibaut!

‘Cholo’ fielded the following XI — widely expected to be the same crop of men to line-up at the start on Saturday — during Friday’s training session: Courtois, Juanfran, Godín, Alderweireld, Insúa; Gabi, Mario Suárez, Koke, Arda; Raúl García and Diego Costa.

Atleti shutout Valladolid 2-0 at the Estadio José Zorrilla the first time these two sides squared off in the present campaign back in September.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubía, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Alderweireld, Juanfran, Insua, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Cebolla, Gabi, Sosa, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Villa, Costa

Valladolid match selection:
Goalkeepers: Mariño, Jaime
Defenders: Rukavina, Peña, Begdich, Valiente, Mitrovic
Midfielders: Sastre, Rubio, Rossi, Victor Pérez, Baraja, Omar, Valdet Rama
Forwards: Larsson, Osorio, Javi Guerra, Manucho

Referee: Eduardo Prieto Iglesias


  • marcelo

    Diego not in the squad???

  • ali_

    on the official site he is in the list, i guess martin just forgot him.

  • Will

    I read somewhere on twitter that he will get some rest this round.

  • kris

    Nahh.. he is on the list. I am not making a prediction for this game lol Jeronamo if you’re there. :p

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Relax guys, Diego is in the list, Martin just forgot him
    if you counted the players in Atleti list you will find them only 17 .. Diego is the 18th

    Martin has a problem in concentration lately, in his latest posts he must forget something

    Here in Egypt, when something like that happens we say to that person :
    “are you in love ?!”

    so, are you Martin ?! 🙂

  • piserakos

    Diego is in the squad… Don’t worry… It’s just Valentine’s day… We MUST win Valladolid and i think we would win them with a lot of goals… 6-0 would be my score… Just hope we won’t see Aranzubia!!!

  • starvs

    I like that proposed lineup with either Diego or Villa instead of R. Garcia…

  • Martin Rosenow

    Indeed. It is love Ahmad. I wanted Diego all for myself on Valentine’s Day. He’s been added to the list. Sorry fellas!

  • anshary

    Hahaha that was funny Martin. Dont worry abt it though. These guys are just jealous they didnt get to date Diego like u did. Haha

  • pantic#10

    about Milan:
    Cholo is smart and what he said about Balotelli is true…yesterday night he “resurrected” the game and Milan took an undeserved victory over Bologna. anyway the team played very badly….the best was Rami.
    Milan played yesterday…we today and we must also travel to to Italy…so Milan has one day of rest more than us….
    Can’t believe that Gabi & Co. will be only 20 km. to my house…
    Any of you guys come here to see the match? let me know please.

    anyway back to Valladolid, partido por partido!:
    Important match. 3 points. no injuries. that’s all what we need 😉
    We must play as we know and the 3 points are ours.
    Aupa Atleti.

  • Dircil

    I cant wait till we face Milan. However, we still need to win this match. Atletico 3-0 Valladolid

  • piserakos

    @pantic… a friend of mine had told me that he wanted to find tickets… He had a little problem with the prices. I will inform him:) anyway it is fantastic… I remember them come to play against panathinaikos (less than 6-7km from my house) but I was out of Athens:@ my worst memory:@

  • palestine-atletico

    Is diego ribas available for champions league?

  • Will

    The closest they were from me was 2.351,00 KM when they played in Montivideu/URU last August.
    If I had a bike around…. o_O

  • Jeronamo

    Lmao thanks Kris

  • Jeronamo

    RG8

  • kris

    TherealRaul. What a goall!! 1-0.

  • pantic#10

    yeahhhhh
    another great free kick by Gabi (the Brain)
    and RG8 (the Anvil) scored!!

    yeahhhhh

  • Jeronamo

    Costa!!!!!

  • pantic#10

    2-0
    absolutely wonderful by Costa

  • kris

    Goal Diego Costa. What a run. What a chip in. 2-0.

  • EC

    BOOM!!

  • Jeronamo

    It may be early but we look great. … just look at Arda

  • kris

    Absolutely wonderful dribbling by Arda. He has been more direct under Simeone.. He has improved a lot… you can see it,, he’s making smarter passes, smarter dribbles… Wonderful player he has turned in to.

  • kris

    What’s with Gabi and misplaced passes today??

  • kris

    Horrible by Gabi again.. He needs to do better at shooting..

  • Jeronamo

    I was asking myself thw the same thing about Gabi
    And he just had an awful shot too

  • kris

    Also, we need to play more with the ball in our feet and stop letting them play their game.. I mean come on we are playing Real Valladolid at home, we should be dominating…

  • kris

    I absolutely despise this tactic of sitting back after scoring a couple of goals.. Are you serious?? We should go score a lot more with the attack that we have got.. SMH at that..

  • Jeronamo

    Agreed. I’ve said that before, plus it’s early

    And what is with all of these horrible passes in the final third??

  • kris

    Arda needs to play smarter. Should have just shot it right there instead of making that cross… Come on guys,, wake up in the pitch!!!

  • Jeronamo

    It looks like they’re too comfortable or something. Good first half tho but lets hope they bring more intesity in the second half

  • kris

    I just don’t see the determination, grit, and the spirit like in the first half of this season..!!! WE ARE ATLETI,, WE PLAY WITH BALLS!! COME ON GUYS!!!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I predicted 6-0 in the prediction league competition, but I wish we win 8-0,
    we can .. and we definitely need to

    although the head-to-head games are the decisive factor, but if there is a tie (and there is a good chance for that to happen) then it’s the goal difference which will decide who are the champions

  • Jeronamo

    Good header by Godin

  • EC

    Finally 3-0 Godin. Good header and a good ball in from Diego. Game over

  • jeronamo

    3 much needed points to keep paste

  • jeronamo

    pace*

  • jeronamo

    On to the next one

  • Chewie

    Solid and relaxed win. Good job. Godin – MOTM.