Match preview: Atlético vs. Deportivo

Atleti look to win three in a row and keep pace with league leaders

Fans needed in big voice at the Calderón

Fans needed in big voice at the Calderón

Atlético return to league action on Sunday afternoon, with an early kick-off against a Deportivo side languishing in the bottom three, having only managed a single win away from home all season.

Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 12 noon.

Atleti will be looking to replicate the fine display they produced against Olympiacos in the Champions League on Wednesday. Mario Mandzukic scored a hat-trick and helped Los Rojiblancos destroy the Greek champions in a 4-0 win.

Currently sat third in La Liga, Atleti will want a win to keep the pace with Barcelona, currently two points ahead, and Real Madrid, who currently top the table four points ahead of their cross-town rivals.

Real Madrid are in action on Saturday evening, whilst Barcelona travel to Valencia in a top-four showdown on Sunday night.

Diego Simeone will have to do without captain Gabi for the visit of the Galicians, after he was sent-off following two yellow cards in last weekend’s win over Malaga.

Primed for a start in the red and white of Atleti is Saúl, who Cholo seems to prefer (as well as the majority of the fans) to Mario Suarez.

The young Spaniard will most likely partner Tiago in the midfield, who is set to start despite being withdrawn from the game with Olympiacos at half time due to a thigh injury.

Cristian Ansaldi will start at left-back, as Siqueira was left out for technical reasons. The Argentine has shone over the last couple of games, and spoke about his desire to remain at Atlético as well as the game against Deportivo this week.

“From the first moment I joined Atlético, the first thing that Simeone instils in you, and all of the news players, is to treat every match as final,” he told Atleti’s official website.

“Now Deportivo are coming, and we know this is a final that we have to win. Especially because we’re at home where we are very strong.”

Cholo has again pleaded with the fans to turn up in full voice, despite the early kick-off in Spain.

“The team that plays at home has an added strength, with the energy of your own fans in your own stadium,” he told the press at the pre-match conference.

“We are expecting a packed stadium, at a time that makes it possible for people to come and we hope to continue counting with the unconditional support of our fans because it makes the team stronger. The match is very important for everyone.”

If Raul Garcia makes an appearance, it will be his 300th since joining Atleti from Osasuna in 2007.

Fans used to despair when he took to the field at the Vicente Calderón, but seven years later he is a firm crowd favourite.

He looks to be beaten out to a starting berth by Antoine Griezmann. The two have been rotating over the last couple of games, and after being left out in midweek against Olympiacos, the Frenchman was preferred in a behind-closed-doors session preparing for the game against Depor.

Also absent from the side again was Miranda, who continues to recover from the injury sustained on international duty with Brazil. Gimenez will again get his chance partnering compatriot Diego Godin.

Alessio Cerci is on the bench again – more on the sticky situation the Italian is in a little later this week.

A win and the right result for Valencia could make it very tight at the top, before attention turns to Copa del Rey midweek.

Atlético squad:
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak.
Defenders: Godín, Ansaldi, Gámez, Juanfran, Giménez.
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Koke, Raúl García, Arda Turan, Saúl, Cristian Rodríguez, Cerci.
Forwards: Griezmann, Mandzukic, Raúl Jiménez.

  • if the reason we keep playing too early is to get more viewers in Asia then I’m O.K with it
    but if it’s just the usual bulliness and inequity from LFP then this have to stop immediately