Match preview: Atlético vs. Córdoba

Three points a necessity for Atleti against La Liga new boys

Raúl García looking to rediscover goalscoring touch against Córdoba (AS)

Raúl García looking to rediscover goalscoring touch against Córdoba (AS)

After a rare mid-week off, Atleti return to La Liga action on Saturday with a must win clash against a Córdoba side still looking for their first win of the season.

Back in form since the international break, the Rojiblancos have been hard at work preparing for the visit of the newly promoted side, now under the management of Miroslav Djukić following the dismissal of Albert Ferrer.

Kick-off in the Vicente Calderón is set for 18:00 CET.

Mario Mandžukić struck just before half-time to settle a heated clash against Getafe on Sunday, a win that really opened up the league table on the weekend that leaders Barcelona suffered defeat in the Clásico.

Just two points separate the top five, and having seen the example set by Diego Simeone and his team last season, impressive starts from Sevilla and Valencia mean they are the ones occupying the Champions League spots for the time being

Atleti on the other hand lie in 5th, but can leapfrog the two early season challengers with three points given that we play before them, Unai Emery’s side facing a tough trip to Athletic Bilbao and Los Che visiting El Madrigal for a derby against a good Villarreal side.

Good news for us is that both Cristian Ansaldi and Gabi have made full recoveries and are available for selection again, with only Tiago missing with a muscle injury that has kept him out since the win over Espanyol a fortnight ago. All available players have been called-up.

In his press conference, Cholo highlighted the importance of not slipping up against the league’s bottom side, making it clear that no players would be rested for the Champions League on Tuesday and that, as always, it’s the next game that is the most important.

“The game against on Saturday is a very complicated one,” he said. “It’s crucial that we continue to grow and remain able to compete with the teams above us.”

“Although Córdoba may not have been getting the results, they have left a positive image and with a new manager, it’s hard to know what to expect. The only we reference we have is their last match against Real Sociedad.”

The Argentine head coach also spoke about the current state of the team and Antoine Griezmann, and hinted that the Frenchman could start yet again alongside Mandžukić, Koke and Arda Turan.

“We’re still not quite at the level we want to be. There is much to improve, but that’s normal. When a lot of new players come into the team, there will always be a period of adaptation and that’s not easy, but gradually we are growing and getting better.

“I speak with Griezmann in particular a lot. He’s a young boy and a great talent as we know from his time at La Real, but this style is very different for him.

“In attack, he is one of the players we depend and count on the most. With his play between the line’s, Arda’s hierachy and the versatility of Koke, we feel we have a lot of different ways to create chances for Mandžukić, who is the reference for us up front.”

Atleti actually played Córdoba last November in a mid-season friendly, Raúl García scoring in a 1-1 draw at the Nuevo Arcangel stadium.

The hosts may still be looking for their first three points, but have shown enough resilience to suggest that they could cause problems in the Calderón having drawn five of their 9 mathces so far.

Djukić, who will know the opponents well from his time in La Liga both as player and manager, has almost a full squad at his disposal too, with just full-back José Crespo listed as doubtful ahead of their trip to the capital.

The former Valencia and Valladolid tactician was realistic about his new team’s chances going into the match, but remained optimistic.

“We have been working hard tactically for this game. If you don’t, a team like Atlético will kill you, but we play with the idea to suffer, fight and hopefully win.”

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak
Defenders: Godín, Siqueira, Ansaldi, Gámez, Juanfran, Miranda, Giménez
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Koke, Griezmann, Raúl García, Arda, Gabi, Saúl, Cristian Rodríguez, Cerci
Forwards: Mandžukić, Jiménez


  • Vamos Atletico!!! They need to win all the games against the weaker La Liga teams. Their tie games and losses need to be minimized if they are going to stay in the top 3.

  • When I read the article about Gimenez in this website few days ago, the first thing crossed my mind was :
    The kid should play Cordoba game
    a home game, against a newly promoted side who are 18th on La Liga table right now, and in a Champions League week where Miranda (or Godin) could use some rest

    The kid needs to play a lot, and by a lot I mean no less than 1000 minutes, and if he didn’t start games like this one then when ?!

    But it looks like he won’t start tomorrow .. I really wish I’m wrong

  • Kris

    I think this is the perfect time to play the 4-3-3 and unleash Cerci, Mandzukic, and Griezmann all together from the start. Koke can rest for tomorrow, and Arda should start in front of Mario and Gabi. We really have to start to be more versatile in the way we play then only we will be able to give all players the rest that they deserve. Simeone should start taking more “risks”, then only we will have a way to approach every game. Simeone was talking about complacency at the press conference, and I really believe he will start to change things up now. Aupa Atleti!

  • Johnny

    I think Simeone has to give a chance for the youngsters today, maybe Gimenez or Saul. And i think Koke has just got to get some rest, you can see that he is exausted and the following couple of weeks there is UCL match, and also UERO qualification match for him.

  • Αθανάσιος Νικηταράς

    same think

  • is that you Piserakos ?!

  • Αθανάσιος Νικηταράς

    Yes 😛
    I can’t join with my old account here and i write trough my facebook

  • BlasiusMagnus

    i think gimenez should definietly start, and bring in saul for the 2nd half.

  • Chewie

    I would start with Gimenez and Godin/Miranda in defence, any of the full backs, super-solid defensive midfield with RG8/Mario, Gabi and Saul, and scorchingly fast offense with Jimenez, Griezmann and Arda. Maybe later on let Cerci and Cebolla in. In this way we would suffocate their attacks and get plenty of counter-attacking opportunities. I mean, Cordoba it’s not even Getafe, and the first half of last game was quite impressive – there won’t be a better chance to continue looking for diversity.

    5-0 would be a good result. I predict that we will score from a set-piece at least once 🙂

  • Brad

    Siquera-Godin-Miranda-Juanfran

    Moya

  • Kris

    Damnit Simeone! I love and respect you but come on! You have such great players on the bench who should be getting minutes, but you rely on the same players for every single game until they get injured. Yeah, we will probably get a good result today, but this was a perfect game to show everyone that you are not complacent and you have another set of players on the bench who are perfectly capable of doing what your starters can do.
    Only if Simeone read this….. damn.!!

  • Brad

    Looks like Mario has an injured thumb

  • Brad

    Koke almost had one there

  • Brad

    Atleti dominating possession…and we don’t look like we know what we’re supposed to do having the ball that long XD