Match preview: Valencia vs. Atlético

Atleti face another unbeaten side - this time Valencia

Unbeaten Valencia playing very well (pic: abc)

Unbeaten Valencia playing very well (pic: abc)

Atlético travel to the Mestalla to take on Valencia on Saturday in good spirits, after a week that saw two great victories over two equally impressive sides.

The stage is set for an early afternoon kick-off at 16:00 CET.

The 1-0 European win against Juventus in midweek was exactly what Atleti needed to put some wind in their Champions League sails, and this was the cherry on top of what was a convincing league win at home to Sevilla last Saturday.

Atleti currently sit third in the league, level on points but one place behind our opponents Valencia.

Los Che are also enjoying an unbeaten start to their domestic campaign, and have only conceded three goals all season.

Coming up against a revitalised Atleti side is a different matter entirely.

Having Simeone back at the helm has heralded five goals and two clean sheets for Los Rojiblancos, and Cholo will be hoping for a victory in the same vein tomorrow. He knows it will be a tough ask.

“We don’t want to underestimate Valencia by talking about a victory already. We will talk only about the match we are going to play,” he told the media before the match.

“We’re hoping to play a big game tomorrow, and be competitive against a Valencia side that are growing and forming a brilliant team.”

“They have a great coach, and work very well on the counter-attack. Our players will have to work very hard.”

And keeping with the mindset that delivered a glorious campaign last year, the Argentinean insisted Atleti take things ‘partido a partido’. Match by match.

Simeone will have almost a full squad to choose from, with the exception of Cristian Rodriguez, still missing after suffering an injury on duty with Uruguay, and Mario Suarez, who has a hamstring strain.

Saul could be in line for his third straight start, with Mandzukic expected to continue leading the line up top.

Raul Jimenez, despite scoring his first goal for the club in the closing stages against Sevilla, didn’t feature midweek, so may get the nod to start alongside the Croatian. He’ll have to fight off Antoine Griezmann though, who only featured from the bench against Juventus.

Match selection:

Goalkeepers: Moya, Oblak
Defenders: Juanfran, Miranda, Godin, Siqueira, Gamex, Ansaldi, Gimenez
Midfielders: Tiago, Koke, Gabi, Arda, Cerci, Raul Garcia, Saul
Forwards: Raul Jimenez, Griezmann, Mandzukic.

  • For me, the biggest headline is :
    The referee is Texeira Vitienes I
    The youngest and the worst one of Texeria brothers .. remember him ?!

    yes, that’s right .. the one of Estadio Mediterreaneo scandal last season

    perfect timing LFP .. you’re doing your job very well

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    Atletico just gets 2 days of rest.. Why can’t they play on Sunday ?? They just played CL.. Valencia has much more rest-days…

  • The game is not just at Saturday after playing on Wednesday, it’s also at 4 pm !
    just like I said, LFP & RFEF are doing their job very well, and their job is not to let the disaster of last season happen again, which is another team other than the “big two” wining La Liga

    a game against Valencia, in Mestalla, after only 2 days of rest, and appointing Texiera I for it after spreading the big fat lie since day 1 of this season that says “Atletico are a violent team” .. while there are 15 teams who have committed more fouls than us .. but OF COURSE have received much less cards, while we are the 2nd team with more cards !!

    imagine if Atleti won tomorrow after all these efforts to prevent them, how much would be they disappointed ?!!

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    Let’s not talk about the referee (at least not yet), we should follow el cholo’s example and focus on us and the game at hand. For me it would be disappointing if griezmann and raul jiminez didn’t start for two reasons, the amount of minutes that rg8 and mandzukic have played two days ago and the other fact that mandzukic just doesn’t look that energetic and inspired leading the line right now imo

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    Smh.. one nil down to a ridiculous own goal

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    Two nil down…

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones


  • Chewie

    0_o A disaster. Siqueira and Gamez are shit. The team looks pitiful. Valencia is ripping us apart. Things have changed is Spain, and it seems like we are really going to compete with Valencia as well.

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    Guys.. That own goal of Miranda.. I don’t get it.. Ther’s something not right about that.. Miranda saw the goalkeeper near.. And still he somehow aimed the ball low in the corner

  • Chewie

    Bravo, Tiago and Mandzukic. A draw would be a fantastic result in the circumstances. A win would be heroic.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    Ahhh picking the right penalty taker is still a problem I see

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    A defender takes the penalty ??? I knew immidiatly that he would miss..

  • Kris

    Smh.. fucking Siqueira should’ve let Mandzukic take it. This could have been massive for us.

  • Chewie

    How on earth can you take such a miserable penalty in this situation?! [email protected]!

  • Amr Misir Mukadaffi

    And how can this not be a red card ??? Arda was at a 100% goal situation, 1vs1 without him…. Did the reff felt intimidated or something ??

  • Adnan Khan

    I just could see it on his face that he would miss. This is terrible why would he do that. Thats a pass you give to kids not a penalty

  • Parsa

    Why why why never Gabi should take the penalties when he is a decent penalty taker ? I had a bad feeling before sequira took it …

    And what the hell was that own goal ? What was miranda thinking ? We put ourself in a very tough situation to survive … But this valencia is not a team to win against us with that margin

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    It’s crazy how this game is going and we have no one but ourselves to blame. Usually when we are losing I sit here and curse the tv but right now all I can do is shake my head continually

  • Kris

    And the fact that he shrugged off Mandzukic to take the penalty himself.. unbelievable!! There’s definitely something wrong. Lots of miscommunication and that Miranda goal.. That is very very very unlikely! Something that’s going to haunt my mind for a while.

  • Kris

    So true…

  • Arjit Barua

    I think Gamez is actually playing alright. Siquera is a bit of a disaster though, very slow at thinking, and bad decision making. And that penalty, oh god…

  • Kris

    Not only the Miranda og, but also the third goal when Moya just stood there… unbelievable!

  • Chewie

    At least this game made things very clear. Siqueira is not good enough for us. In Granada he played without much pressure – the club’s goal was to bite off a couple of points here and there and stay in the league. But now, with all the expectation, and when your team is losing 1-3 and this could be the pivotal point, he just couldn’t handle the pressure.

    Gamez doesn’t seem so bad to me now. He is very much like Juanfran, just a bit weaker.

    Griezmann, Arda, Gabi and Tiago, Mandzukic look good, even though Tiago lost his opponent when they scored the 2nd goal.

    How much firepower do we have on the bench? And would they be better than those already on the pitch? That’s a tough call for Cholo, especially because our attackers look good, it’s the defenders who messed up pathetically.

  • Parsa

    I would bring on cerci instead of koke and change our system to 4-3-3. We need to press them hard high in the pitch. But I don’t think cholo does that

  • Brad

    So Valencia has a shitty pitch and it’s going to hurt our players…great…

  • Chewie

    I think he’ll wait and see. So far we had some chances to score and almost got to 2-3, which means that current formation works.

  • Brad

    and it shouldn’t be a difficult decision

  • Brad

    Also flying kicks into Miranda…now not a foul

  • Brad

    So Valencia players have decided to start falling down every time someone is within about a foot of them

  • Kris

    Just because you put in all goalscorers doesn’t mean the goals are going to come.. What the fuck is this?

  • Ringo ST Gambo

    Why not take off Gabi or Tiago instead of Griezmann and start pressing for real?
    I know the team has to grow but sometimes that needs guts, Simeeeee

  • Brad

    and Parejo barely gets touched and needs the entire medical team to come out to waste time…

  • Chewie

    Guys, the game was lost when Siqueira missed the penalty. We can’t really blame Valencia for employing our own tactic – playing on counters, fouling, pressing, arguing with the referee. A well-deserved defeat. I just feel sorry for the players who did a good job after the 25th minute. By the way, Jimenez and Cerci were bad subs, however I can understand Simeone – everyone else was exhausted after the Juventus game. It’s just bad timing and bad luck, nothing more.

    And the competition is running hot. If Valencia could beat Real or Barca, they might finish inside the top three or even two. I personally am not against it – their football is highly watchable and entertaining.

  • Paulo

    It is anything but bad luck:

    -First of all, Simeone changes both fullbacks in the starting lineup for an AWAY LA LIGA game AGAINST A DIRECT RIVAL???

    Not to mention how bad both of the new starters are defensively at the moment.

    Fatigue is no excuse, ’cause you can make changes in the middle of the game depending on the fatigue of the players. If he really can’t see how bad these guys are in defense it rises a question about Simeone’s lack of vision in that department.

    -Moya doesn’t communicate with his defenders properly and doesn’t have the commanding attitude which gk’s should have. (Miranda tries to clear the ball from goalkeepers hands and scores an own goal when there’s no danger and nobody shouts anything?) Somehow it reminds me of the Pablo Hernandez goal from last month’s Atleti – Celta game.

    If you disagree, watch the Atleti 7 – Getafe 0 trashing from last season again and tell me if Moya is shouting anything to the defenders at any point even though they are really fucking it up and positioning badly.

    -The overall lack of discipline and communication in the team. A defender
    scores an O.G and the defense doesn’t man up but instead they get confused and let Valencia score another goal easily.

    Also the attack and midfield seem to have a hard time finding each other at times, the main problem being the crosses from open play.

    Simeone didn’t seem to react too much in the early minutes when all the fuckups were happening. It was just slipping through their fingers. It reminds me of some earlier times when the defenders forgot their men in defense and let the opponent do their thing… This is clearly the managers fault.

    -A (backup) defender takes a penalty in a 3 – 1 chase situation, even though there are attackers and experienced goalscorers and Gabi on the field.

    It doesn’t matter if he’s done it previously, you just can’t let a
    defender take a penalty in this level, unless it’s the penalty
    shootout. The penalty was indeed one of the worst in Atleti history: Diego Alvez revealed where he is going to jump and still Siquera fucked it up with a shot that’s weaker than a standard pass in the direction where the goalie was already heading to.
    This is Atleti! We have the will power and the ability to claw ourselves from most of the graves we dig for ourselves but this kinda shit just kills the spirit…

    -Also I just can’t understand why Griezmann can’t play a full game. He’s clearly one of our most dangerous men with the ball and used to playing full 90minute games at this level and creating his own chances.

    Hope the team and Cholo learns from this. I just hope they won’t give the usual “I think the best thing is to forget this ever happened and look forward to the next match” -speak, because I think there are some problems, which have existed for some time and if they are not dealt with, there is no guarantee this won’t be happening again. And we used to have the best defense in La Liga.

    I just hope all those assholes from Sevilla, Valencia, Puta Madrid and Farca drop points as much as possible. None of them bitches deserve to be near the top.

  • Mrtn

    I have 2 problems:
    – We shouldn’t spend 120 mills on transfers to play our game of last Year, cause we don’t need creative attackers for that.
    – but the main problem is that we are very far from last seasons play.
    Probably Cholo Will never understand attacking, possession gameplay ever as his mentality is very different.
    At least he was right about Atleti fighting with Valencia and Sevilla for 3rd plac, but It is Clear that Valencia are much more composed and was Better tactically than us. They can play attacking game succesfully while also hood at counter attacking play.
    Unfortunately Valencia Will develope further in next years with áll the Money They got already.
    Our team is one-dimensional, and right now we can’t even exploit our strengths.
    Im sad for Griezman as I consider him a great Player of the future, but probably he won’t reach his best with us.
    But no problem, keep on fghting
    Vamos Atleti

  • Chewie

    Good comment. The problem with full backs was visible from the start. I believe that Ansaldi picked up an injury since he wasn’t listen even as a sub. Not sure about Juanfran, maybe he wasn’t in the best shape too.

    It would take too long to answer all of your – valid – remarks, I’ll just say that what doomed us is the combination of them all. That stupid own goal and then instantly another one forced us to play in an uncharacteristic manner.

    Good thing is that it is now clear what needs to be done.
    Bad thing is that everybody knows it as well.

  • Ringo ST Gambo

    It might be the case, yeah, maybe there should be more risk in the formation.
    Mario, Gabi, Tiago OR Saúl as most defensive midfielder. Koke and Arda in front of them to link up with the attack swiftlier. Griezmann, Mandžukič and Cerci/García up front with more freedom for Griezmann mostly. Might be as a 4-3-1-2 or 4-3-3.

    I like the fact we can rotate more, but it looks like it’s not happening

  • Kris

    Simeone is obviously scared to change his formations to fit the players that we have in the team. The players haven’t adapted to the team, because the team hasn’t adapted to all those new players. If it was just one or two players, then it’s the players’ responsibilities to adapt to the team, but here it’s different, as we brought in many attacking players, yet, still play the defensive game at all times….