Atlético Madrid will be looking to continue their winning start to the competitive season on Saturday night as they travel north to Bilbao to take on Athletic.
Quique, who debuted as Atlético coach in San Mamés last season, will be hoping he can keep the momentum going following Atleti’s triumph over Inter in the UEFA Super Cup, and then the 4-0 demolition of Sporting Gijón just three days later.
He’s had to contend with the first international break of the season however, with a number of key players clocking up the air-miles to link up with their national sides.
Sergio Agüero returns from Buenos Aires with a goal to be proud of in Argentina’s 4-1 thumbing of World Champions Spain, while David de Gea turned in a spectacular performance for Spain U21s in Poland.
There is only one new injury worry for Flores to worry about; the loss of Ujfalusi to an Achilles injury.
However, the biggest loss for this game is undoubtedly José Manuel Jurado, who was sold to Schalke 04 after scoring Atlético’s first goal of the season last week.
Following his departure, Atleti are a little light up front, with only three recognised attackers named in the selection. Agüero, Diego Costa and of course our top scorer so far this season, Diego Forlán.
Forlán has a sensational goalscoring record against Athletic, with four to his name at San Mamés alone. Across his entire career in Spain, Diego had scored more goals against our Basque brothers than any other club, with eleven strikes in all competitions, including a hat-trick in the 08/09 season.
Kun’s record against Athletic isn’t bad either. The Argentine wonderkid scored the first goal of his Atleti career against them. He and Forlán have helped themselves to six goals in four games away to Bilbao.
This fixture last season resulted in a loss for los Colchoneros though. We slumped to a 1-0 defeat. We’ll be looking to avenge that as we strengthen our claim for third place in la Liga this season.
Athletic enjoyed a decent start to the season, earning three points of their own away to newly promoted Hercules. World Cup winner Fernando Llorente got the decisive goal in a 1-0 victory just after half-time.
Atlético will be looking to silence the critics who doubt their credentials to challenge Barca and Real Madrid this season. This is the start of a difficult run of games for the Europa League Champions, and it is imperative we continue our tremendous start to the season.
Let’s hope Atlético are still top of the table after this difficult away game!
Atlético Madrid match selection:
Goalkeepers: De Gea, Joel
Defenders: Valera, Antonio López, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea, Filipe Luis, Godín
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Ignacio Camacho, Raúl García, Paulo Assunção, Reyes, Simão
Forwards: Forlán, Kun Agüero, Diego Costa
Valera – Godín – Domínguez – López
Reyes – Raúl García – Assunção – Simão
Kun Agüero – Forlán
Athletic’s match selection:
Iraizoz, Raúl, Toquero, Ustaritz, Amorebieta, San José, David López, Iturraspe, Llorente, Gabilondo, Susaeta, Iraola, Orbaiz, Gurpegui, Javi Martínez, Muniain and Aurtenetxe.
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