Match preview: L’Hospitalet vs. Atlético

Red and whites focusing on Copa clash in midst of ultras storm

Raúl Jiménez and Cerci to start up top (

Raúl Jiménez and Cerci to start up top (

Copa del Rey action returns for La Liga clubs this week, and Atlético Madrid will be start the mission to regain the title they won in such memorable fashion at the Bernabéu back in 2012/13.

The rojiblancos have been handed the toughest draw possible with Real Madrid and Barcelona both in our path to the final, but will first have to overcome the challenge of Catalan outfit L’Hospitalet on Wednesday evening.

Kick-off in the Estadi La Feixa Llarga is set for 20:00 CET.

Fallout the tragic violence that took place before the weekend’s clash with Deportivo is dominating headlines at the moment, but for Diego Simeone and his team, it’s business as usual as they gear up for another important match and competition.

The season so far has been intense and unforgiving, so a bit of respite will be more than welcome against the Segunda B side.

We will also finally get the chance to see some of our fringe players and canteranos play from the start, and with 6 games in 16 days from now until the Christmas break, the whole squad will need to be firing on all cylinders.

That being said, there are no easy games even at this stage, and despite finding themselves in a lowly position domestically, there is no pressure on Hospitalet and motivation will be high against the national champions, especially at home where they have a good record.

Simeone has opted to rest seven of Sunday’s starting XI for the trip, with only Miguél Moya, Saúl, Antoine Griezmann and Josema Giménez – given the all clear following a head injury – amongst the travelling party.

Cholo revealed the team that would take to the field in his press conference on Tuesday – Oblak, Jesús Gámez, Giménez, Lucas, Siqueira, Mario Suárez, Gabi, Saúl, Cerci, Cebolla and Raúl Jiménez.

Starts for Jan Oblak and Alessio Cerci will be the main attractions, the two having played just once between them from the beginning following big money moves back in the summer.

French starlet Lucas Hernández is handed a debut in the centre of defence, and fellow Atleti B teammates Carlos Ramos, Sekou Keita and Nacho Monsalve are also in the squad.

Returning for the first time since his red card at Real Sociedad back in early November is Guilherme Siqueira, but compatriot Miranda remains on the injury list.

“This game is an opportunity for those with less minutes, hopefully to respond to how they are being trained and prove themselves,” said Simeone. “Words are words, but what matters is what happens on the pitch.”

“The team will be competitive, one capable of giving us a big performance. L’Hospitalet will come out with great hopes and that should make for what will be an interesting match, we are not thinking any further than tomorrow night.”

One journalist also made the point that the likes of Diego Costa and Raúl García won their places in similar types of matches, although the Argentine coach insisted that all members of his squad come into his thinking for every match.

“It’s true, neither were playing regularly back then but they worked hard and got what they deserved. Everyone has a chance to play depending on the situation and opponent.”

Hospitalet haven’t played at this stage of the Copa del Rey since 2011, when they were beaten 10-0 on aggregate to eventual winners Barcelona.

Should we make it through, Real Madrid will be our opponents after sealing their qualification on Tuesday night. The second leg takes place in the Calderón on December 17th.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak
Defenders: Siqueira, Gámez, Giménez, Lucas, Nacho
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Griezmann, Gabi, Saúl, Cristian Rodríguez, Cerci, Carlos Ramos
Forwards: Jiménez, Keita

  • One should not be so excited about a game in the first round of the cup against a team that many can not pronounce or spell its name, but I am, because it’s a “rare” chance to watch some of the irregulars start, especially Oblak & Cerci, while we could have added Gimenez to the list if Miranda wasn’t injured (do you still hate me for saying that his injury was a kind of a good news ?!)

    I’m also excited to watch Lucas for the first time, I read a lot about him, and he was called to train with the first team in several occasions this season (his younger brother Theo also plays for Atleti youth team, and he is also a CB)
    But I miss the other Hernandez though, Hector, our promising Spanish striker

    I’m glad that Cerci will finally have his first line-up, but I was a little upset when I saw this video last night that shows that he doesn’t take the training seriously .. in a club like Atleti where hard work is everything !!
    take a look at this, not just the second sets of the workout when he doesn’t raise his hands like everybody else, but look carefully at the first sets, he doesn’t jump like the others, but he is just moving his legs like he doesn’t give a sh***

  • I agree with you that Miranda’s injury was good for the team. We all trust in Gimenez more now. I am specially exited to see Cerci playing above as starter. We can’t forget it’s a dangerous match because we are going to play with a near 100% reserve squad.

    Some post ago I said that Cerci’s problem should be from inside, something we might never know but it’s could be what you pointed out here. No way Jimenéz is picked before him. I really think he fits best in the Diego Costa’s spot than even Mandzukic (I know you really don’t agree with me abou this 🙂 ) but I don’t think he’ll last. Cholo used to say “Effort is not negotiable” and ‘effort’ may be the Cerci’s exit door, unfortunately.

  • Maybe Cerci isn’t trying hard at practice because he is not on the pitch often enough to practice hard. I am sure Cholo has been watching him the entire season and Cerci does not have the intensity Cholo wants. You don’t reward the lazy guy. Then everyone gets lazy.

  • Todays game should prove to Simeone that he has a lot of options and depth. Our
    starting IX should and would blow L’Hospitalet away, as in a 5 – 0 game. With this in mind, the players that are on the pitch this afternoon will need to be just as effective or may
    continue to stay on the bench. So, this is a “Substitute” or “Bench warmer” game. If
    Simeone sees everyone struggling to win today, that would be a 2 – 0 victory or worse, then all these players will be back on the bench and Simeone will continue with his core 11 (to 14) players. I am looking forward to watching this game to see how they do and hope to see these bench players shine. (Side note: Oblak better have a clean sheet after today.)