Match preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Atlético

Atleti travel north to Bilbao looking for another three points

Forlan nets against Athletic last season

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

Predicted lineup:

De Gea
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.

Don’t forget to get your predictions in for this game in the Atlé Prediction League! You’ve got until ten minutes before kick-off!

  • Mohammed

    Wow, looking at our squad this way, we really need more wingers. We only have Simao, Reyes and the injured Merida. I’m guessing that Quique would use Filipe as a winger if it’s necessary.

  • RojiBlanco

    Yes, I think so too. And otherwise A.Lo or Valera (doh). It’s a shame too that we lack a single offensive midfielder, we can’t really switch to a 4-5-1 now (well, with 3 defensive-minded midfielders perhaps..).

  • Derek Maaijen

    Fran gives us plenty of options and formations, but with him injured you can immediately see how thin we are in the offensive department.

    Will be interesting to see if Quique will drop Perea after his good performances.

  • Edletico

    Although we are short now we seem to have a few rumoured wingers coming. Firstly David Silva of Man city, we all know how good he is but the English style of hoof and run will not suit him so we should get him on a cut price deal, next Afelley might come on a free next summer (wants Spanish football and if we finish in the champions league we could be the most appealing) I also think that a right back will come and a def midfielder (Blaise Matuidi)

  • Independencia atletica

    Hey, guys, you forget Diego Costa as a offensive winger. He,s had this role in Valladolid on many encounters. He´s very strong and speedy, and offer us several possibilities

  • Derek Maaijen

    Athletic’s match selection has been added to the preview. They do have some exciting young players

  • Martin Rosenow

    Independencia, the only problem with Diego Costa as a winger sub for tomorrow’s game is that there would be no sub for Kun or Forlan at the top.

  • Nick Poskitt

    @Edletico – bit early to be talking about David Silva isn’t it? He’s hardly four games into his Man City career and he looked very good versus Liverpool.

  • Edletico

    I know but it is reported that he doesn’t like Machester and Spanish football is better suited to him so it would be a good move for all parties

  • Ringo Schut

    Martin, that could mean Diego moves to the center and someone like Filipe will become a winger…

    League debut for Filipe this game? Tiago needs to get his minutes, too.

    Ed, why do you think we want or need a defensive midfielder? I don’t see Assunção leaving that soon and it’s better (in my opinion) to give Camacho a new contract and a starting position, slowly starting to replace Paulo this season. Furthermore, we still have Mario, Garcia and Tiago (and Koke) who can play defensive as well! Winger would be most useful, Afellay, Silva, Cazorla and Arda Turan all sound good, but I’d like to see Marko Marín (Werder Bremen)! He really has some great skills, is good with both feet, can play on either wing and even in the center. He’s 21 or something now and is the star in Bremen already!

  • Arjit

    Guys, what about salvio and keko returning? i think they can become great players. Keko is the captain of u19 spain team, who did very well in their recent tournament and salvio…we just bought him less than a year ago, he’s 19 i’m sure he can become a great player. as of now tho, yeah we are short on wingers.

  • k14

    I was hoping to see Alberto perea get promoted to the main team after jurado sale, he really impressed me in the pre-season when he got to play.
    Or maybe the couch doesnt see him fit to play the role of a winger maybe

  • Ringo Schut

    Arjit, most of us are almost sure Salvio is better in a central role, a second striker is probably his best position.
    Keko is indeed a great talent, but it’s hard to predict if he’ll be good enough already after a Segunda season…

    I’m sure what’s with Perea, but he will probably get his chances. He was good this preseason, but I’m not sure if he’ll grow to stardom…

    About the match:
    Athletic is very strong and we usually suck after international duties, but I think we should really win this, even though it is an away game.
    We have a first place to defend! 🙂

  • Independencia atletica

    Martin, i think so too, but i was thnking in all the season. Transpired one month and a half we´ll have Borja with us. I was thinking in Arberto Perea too. Obviously today we have a little problem if ours atackers and one of our midfileders are injured, and this artcle talks of today´s match. But I do not think that’s going to happen.

  • Edletico

    The thing is with the younger players is that they are good and become fan favorites only if they can cut it straight away. If alberto Perea went into the first team for a couple of games and played badly then people would not rate him anymore and his career would plummet so it is better for them to have loan spells. Where as big name players are used to playing in pressure situations and they have shown what they can do. To Ringo I agree that Camacho IMO is top class youngster and should play more, Assencao is much better ATM and when he fades another def mid will supply competition to Camacho and improve both players performances because it is good to have competition.

  • Derek Maaijen

    Don’t forget to follow our Twitter for some live updates!

  • Ringo Schut

    Agüero =(

    Hopefully back sooner than expected

  • Enrique

    Did anybody else noticed that diego costa isnt able to run? he just walks around the pitch as if the game was over

  • Mohammed

    Yeah Enrique, What the hell was he thinking about!! He could’ve made the pass to Forlan to score the third!!

  • NiñoTorres

    It sucks that as soon as we sell Jurado, Kun picks up an injury which will probably rule him out for some important games 🙁

    Nevertheless, we did well today and worked hard for those three points. Last season I doubt we would have won that game. Still top of the league!

  • k14

    I think Aguero will be fine in one week only, or at least I hope so ;p