Match preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Atlético

League-leaders travel to the Basque Country to defend top spot in La Liga

Atlético handed Athletic first loss at their new home (Reuters)

Atlético handed Athletic first loss at their new home
(Reuters)

Atlético return to the San Mamés on Saturday (20:00 CET), where they handed Athletic Bilbao their first defeat at their new ground earlier this year in Copa del Rey action.

“The Robin Hood of La Liga”, as Tiago described his club, will be fighting to hold on to the top spot of the table, while the hosts — in addition to seeking vengeance — look to stave off competition for the last Champions League place.

Atleti come into the encounter winners of five straight games in all competitions, with four consecutive shutout victories in La Liga.

Los Leones are unbeaten in six engagements on the trot, but were unable to defeat Elche away from Bilbao this past Tuesday.

“I expect tough opponents that play well,” Colchonero boss Diego Simeone said on Friday.

“They are opponents whose confidence grows a lot when they play at home, and with great supporters that accompany them and always root for them.

“San Mamés is a beautiful ground to play a football game and, obviously, we’ll need to play a great match, because we are up against a great team.”

‘El Cholo’ assured those in attendance at his pre-game press conference, that he doesn’t think about the league title.

“I focus on what we have to do, which is eat, rest, travel and play,” he said.

“What gets us going is to take on each match as if it were a final, because that’s the only path to get to where we set out to go when the season started.”

The Argentine tactician continued: “I wouldn’t dare say that Madrid and Barcelona players have less hope of winning than us. We all have the same chances and the same energy.

“Words serve very little purpose at this point, actions are what matters, and it’s those actions that will decide each team’s chances.

“We feel like candidates for taking things game-by-game. That’s where we feel strong. Dreams are for the fans, we live in reality, and to make it there, we have to win.”

Much-beleaguered forward Adrián has been left off the squad for the fourth straight league match. José Giménez will also remain in Madrid through tactical decision, while Filipe Luís returns after serving suspension during Granada’s midweek visit to the Calderón.

Meanwhile, Javi Manquillo continues his recovery from attempted murder.

According to Dani Hidalgo of AS, Simeone will roll out with the following starting XI in Bilbao: Courtois, Juanfran, Miranda, Godín, Filipe, Koke, Gabi, Mario, Arda, Raúl García and Diego Costa.

Ernesto Valverde’s men will be without captain Carlos Gurpegui, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last weekend.

Attacking midfielder Ander Herrera will serve a one-match ban and is unavailable for this clash.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Aranzubia, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Alderweireld, Juanfran, Insua, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario, Tiago, Koke, The Real Raúl, Arda, Cebolla, Gabi, Diego, Sosa
Forwards: Villa, Costa


  • Yon

    Lol’d way too much at this –

    Meanwhile, Javi Manquillo continues his recovery from attempted murder.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I don’t think Adrian will play any minute for what left of this season,
    I feel bad for him, but he did that for himself

  • jeronamo

    I hope he doesn’t play any more tbh, he’s had 2 seasons to try to repeat his previous form now.

    About the game tho, i’m incredibly nervous because this is one of the toughest league fixtures anyone could ask for at this end of the season but game by game has been what we lived by so far and we will most likely play our hearts out tomorrow

  • jeronamo

    And @ Yon I lol’d too

  • piserakos

    Vamos Atleti!! This game is more than a final, if we win we would almost win the title! It would be difficult, but we are Atletico de Madrid! I think we will not see again Adrian with ‘rojiblanco’, the rumors say that Sosa and Diego will probably stay, the one who will leave would be Cebolla and probably if we bring one more (Rakitic, Correa) Adrian would say goodbay

  • Roni40

    Don’t really see the point in keeping Sosa. He has done a decent job so far but so has Óli in Villarreal as well.

  • Farzad from Iran

    Okey,but today we have a very difficult match so If we win this match I am sure that we get half of the la liga

  • Farzad from Iran

    bilbao had not any loose in it house this year in liga

  • piserakos

    @Farzad… They lost from Espanyol

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Totally agree with you Roni

    I mean Sosa is a good player, but is he good enough to pay 10 million for him in a time we need to spend every single euro wisely, and in a time we have in his position a much younger and a very very promising player like Oliver ?!
    I do not think so

    Sosa goes back to Metalist, and Oli comes back to Atleti .. just that simple

  • AbdulMalik Salim

    Atleti’s Best Eleven .. Aupa Atleti !!!

  • Farzad from Iran

    Piserakos ,,, OK you are right but just spanyol could won,, real madrid could not won and many other teams could not , too ,,,,,all players of bilbao are spanish

  • Farzad from Iran

    If villa play like last match we won`t win ,,He play so so bad and non His passes are good

  • Farzad from Iran

    where is flipe ???? why he didn`t play last match??will he play this match???

  • Luis

    @Farzad the players of Bilbao are not Spanish

  • Farzad from Iran

    I watched it last match and reporter said that all of players are spanish

  • Kris

    They are all Basque-based players. That’s what it is. And Filipe was suspended after his 5th yellow.

  • palestine-atletico

    Can espanyol handle the pressure till the end of the game??? Hope they will

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    oh shit, I just knew that it’s Teixeira Vitienes who will arbitrate our game,
    not Teixeira Vitienes I of Almeria scandal, but his older brother Teixeira Vitienes II
    but they are both assholes
    and yes, this is what they called, 1 & 2, and the younger is number 1 while the older is the 2 ..
    a fu**ing weird family !

    but I still believe we will win .. but with what cost ?!

  • piserakos

    @ahmad… Sosa will join on free.. Metallist destroyed.

  • farhan

    mmm lineup expecet please 😀

  • Farzad from Iran

    thanks karam,,,up to 71minute barca can not score any goal I hope it can not score until end

  • farhan

    77min

  • Farzad from Iran

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhh,,, again and again messi and again and again from penalty

  • farhan

    what goal?

  • farhan

    pessi

  • Sajedeh

    If even barca plays very bad, there is always a shit refree to help that dirty team

  • palestine-atletico

    Shit a gift from espanyol defence and messi scored the penalty. It was very close from goaless score

  • Kris

    Neymar clearly handled the ball with his hand first. These fooking refs are a disgrace. It’s like they wanted to give em a win. Messi’s 5th penalty. Smh

  • farhan

    blind refs….
    laliga….

  • jeronamo

    Lol what happened to rather letting barca win than Real??? lol i really don’t care that they won cause i’m only studying our game

  • kris

    Others may have said that, but I don’t want either of those teams to win. Disgusting from Neymar yet again, and the referee with a very cheap penalty….. This is so sad..

  • farhan

    Courtois, Juanfran,
    Godín, Miranda, Filipe Luis, Mario Suárez, Gabi,
    Koke, José Sosa, Raúl García, Costa

  • kris

    Arda benched for Sosa. This is good for both Sosa and Arda. Sosa is a good fit for this match imo, just like Simeone decided to use RG8 instead of Villa. A win would be wonderful today!!

  • farhan

    lets seee 15 min remain

  • kris

    WHAT A GOAL FROM MUNIAIN!!!Courtois should’ve gotten there man!!!

  • kris

    OH MY GOD!!!!! WHAT A PASS!! COSTA SHOULD HAVE SCORED RIGHT THERE!!! COME ON!!!

  • farhan

    we will be fuckd ….
    no villa no party 😀
    cmon costa…

  • kris

    Bad attitude. Why do you say that? we have won so many times without Villa.

  • farhan

    cmooooon….donot loose…please

  • farhan

    i also say that cmon costa….
    and it is san meme… really hard…. tough game…. but keep calm

  • farhan

    it is really tough…. donot get me wrong …

  • kris

    YESSS!! HE DID IT THIS TIME!!! COSTA 1-1.

  • pantic#10

    1-1 by Diego Costa.
    ok…now let’s win this game

  • farhan

    yupppp

  • kris

    KOKE TO COSTA IS ALWAYS A GOAL!!! KOKE!!!! THIS GUY IS WONDERFUL!!

  • farhan

    we are dominating…. actually…taken 3 shots 2 on target one off target and 1 goal .whereas athletics taken only one

  • farhan

    no yellow till now…great

  • kris

    OH SHIT!! SOSA HIT ON THE BALLS!!

  • farhan

    shiiiiiiiiit

  • hahahan

    could you please give me the link for live streaming? its too hard for us in Indonesia to watch Atletico’s game. because there is always Barca&Madrid’s in our domestic channel

  • kris

    RAUL GARCIA!!! DUMB MISS BY GARCIA!! HOW DID HE ??? DAMNN!!

  • kris
  • kris

    LUCKY RIGHT THERE!!! POOR POOR DEFENSE!! COURTOIS SHOULD HAVE DONE BETTER, GODIN SHOULD HAVE DONE BETTER!!!

  • palestine-atletico

    We are playing with a player less. Raul garcia is one of the worst players i have seen. Sooooooo baaaaaaaaaaaad

  • farhan

    @kris…
    experiance bro…dats what i say… believe in experiance ….dnt get me wrong

  • farhan

    how sosa doing tell me plz ..?

  • Zakaria

    Raul Garcia out David Villa in ASAP ….

  • farhan

    susbstitution soo early…. serius.?

  • farhan

    nope sorrry 😀

  • farhan

    only six shot…. not bad…

  • pantic#10

    not the best match by Godin.
    Sosa played a very good first half.
    RG8 missed an easy goal.

    Gabi will miss next match. yellow card.

  • hahahan

    thank you Kris

  • farhan

    it is really bad on social media most people donot like costa….bcoz he change national team…

  • pantic#10

    there was a penalty on Diego Costa!!!

  • pantic#10

    Godin!!! how many mistakes tonight!

  • Jeronamo

    And what is going on with godin today?

  • Zakaria

    Wtf is Godin doin? He is really bad today

  • Jeronamo

    Goal!!! Koke

  • farhan

    victory

  • Kris

    KOKE!! So clutch!!

  • farhan

    again on top 😀

  • farhan

    arda…

  • Jeronamo

    Lol that keeper is one lucky sob of a gun

  • farhan

    raul is invisible…

  • Jeronamo

    Yeah RG8 should be subbed

  • Jeronamo

    A sub is definitely needed right about now

  • farhan

    even draw will br bad for us one more goal ends all

  • farhan

    villa 🙂

  • Jeronamo

    For heaven’s sake simione make another sub

  • kris

    THIBAUTING!!!! GODDAMN WHAT A SAVEEE!!!

  • farhan

    he is i dont know damm awesome manager vut dimm wierd manager too

  • Jeronamo

    Yeah great save but the warning signs are there… we neeeeeed to use our bench now

  • kris

    Why Cebolla??

  • farhan

    somebody tell him… 2 subs left

  • kris

    I see why… but come on. We need to score one more!!

  • kris

    Should’ve let it play!! GOddamn!! And Laporte is off!

  • Jeronamo

    Wtf

  • kris

    What a ball from Arda!!

  • kris

    Cebolla sucks so bad!! Can’t even control the ball in such times..

  • farhan

    costa injured … dafuq

  • kris

    I don’t think Costa is injured. I PRAY he is fine.

  • Jeronamo

    I thought diego and villa were the obvious ones to come on tho…

  • farhan

    anyone te me xtra time please

  • kris

    YESS!!! A HARD-EARNED VICTORY!!!

  • farhan

    we won xosta injure.d… y so wierd thing happen

  • Jeronamo

    On to the next one

  • Jeronamo

    I don’t think costa is injured farhan.. I more think it was something done to kill time

  • farhan

    i start hating injury word… villa injury was so suckd one. and no costa hope his injury will not be bad…

  • farhan

    ok den…nice

  • Ali

    YESSSSSS!!! we foking did it! We,re getting closer to the title! I hope costa is OKKK!

  • piserakos

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Against everyone and everything we are here!!! The referee killed us but we are here and we will win this Champion

  • Chewie

    A game spoiled by bad refereeing. Clear penalty on Costa, ridiculous whistle after Cebolla was 1-on-1, also there could be a penalty in their favour when Arda pushed Tokero. Shit, where do they get those idiots?
    Sosa played well until he got hit hard in cojones. But the man had the will to play another dozen minutes after that. Koke is MOTM, he was literally everywhere. Amazing save by Courtous yet floppy first half. The defence was shaky at times, the midfielders also made a couple of bad decisions. Cebolla hadn’t played so long he forgot how to work with the ball. Oh, and Raul was a shadow of himself, at least he did well in defence.
    Sigh of relief after this hard-earned victory. And on to the next one.
    BTW if Sosa comes for free, we should take him, he suits our scheme just fine.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Chewie, in Sosa’s loan contract, we have an option to buy him .. for 10 million
    and that’s the big question, does he deserve that much ?!
    in my opinion : NO

  • piserakos

    @ahmad… I will tell it again… Remember Metalist? There is no more this team. So he will stay free

  • Chewie

    @piserakos – I just visited their site and they seem to be doing just fine.
    @ahmad – 10 million definitely not, but 5-6 plus to what we already paid is okay with me.