Match preview: Málaga vs. Atlético

Atleti look to capitalise on Valencia draw with win at Málaga

Tiago scores against Malaga at the Calderón

Tiago scores against Malaga at the Calderón

Atlético travel to La Rosaleda to face off against Málaga on Saturday afternoon for the 31st league match of the season.

Kick-off in the south of Spain is set for 18:00 CEST.

When Málaga came to the Vicente Calderón in November, they lost 3-1. Tiago, Griezmann and Godín were on the scoresheet that night for Atleti while Roque Santa Cruz scored for the ‘blanquiazules.’

Simeone has called up all of his men except for Mario Mandzukic and Raúl García who are still recovering from injury.

Moyá has received the ‘OK’ from the medical staff and he will travel with the team. It is unclear whether Moyá will play or if Oblak will retain his starting berth.

After Moyá’s injury against Bayer Leverkusen, Oblak has played four matches and kept a clean sheet in all of them.

Former Atleti youth player Ignacio Camacho, now playing for Camacho, will miss the match as he is still recovering from injury.

Rumour has it that Atlético will swoop in and sign Camacho and youngster Samu Castillejo in the summer.

Castillejo missed Málaga’s last match against Eibar due to suspension, but both he and Sergio Sánchez have returned to Javi Gracia’s 18-man squad.

Eibar broke an 11-match spell of no victories when they beat Málaga 1-0 midweek.

Málaga currently have 45 points and are seventh in the table. In comparison to last season, Málaga had 45 points after all 38 matches.

Javi Gracia is bringing stability to the club; something the club has been yearning ever since Pellegrini’s departure.

“What Atlético does has a lot of merit,” said Gracia. “They’re a team that won’t gift us anything.”

Not only is the match an important one for Atleti as it is a must win match, but it is a special one for Jesús Gámez.

Gámez spent his entire career in Málaga until he signed with Atleti in August.

“In Málaga I grew up as a player and as a person,” said Gámez. “I have lots of friends over there and the fans have always made me feel loved. Yes, it’ll be a special match.”

Gámez has been playing as a left-back during the last couple of matches, although he did play right back in the mid-week match against Real Sociedad due to Juanfran’s suspension.

Atlético currently have a three-point gap over Valencia as Los Che dropped points against Athletic. Cholo will want to keep mounting the pressure on Nuno’s men by extending the gap to six.

Valencia will receive city rivals Levante on Monday and the pressure will be on them as fifth place Sevilla is currently just one point below them.

It is unclear whether Cholo will rotate the squad in sight of the Champions League Quarter Final match against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

“I don’t think any player is thinking of the match on Tuesday, but they are thinking about the match against Málaga,” Simeone said.

“The match against Málaga and the next away trip against Deportivo are crucial to what we can accomplish in the league.”

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moya
Defenders: Godín, Siqueira, Jesús Gámez, Juanfran, Miranda, Giménez
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Koke, Arda, Gabi, Saúl, Cani
Forwards: Griezmann, Raúl Jiménez, Fernando Torres

  • Atletico can not take Malaga lightly or it will be bad news. I am thinking we will win 2 to zero.

  • For me, this game is more important than the clash against RM in the CL
    We can afford to not reach CL 1/2 final this season, although it will hurt very much to be knocked out by RM, especially after dominating the derby this season with 4W 2D 0L ,
    BUT what we can never afford is to miss the CL next season, and things are still complicated, despite that Valencia dropped 4 pts in the last 2 games and that they & Sevilla still to play vs Barca & RM, because our schedule is also tough,
    Of the remaining 8 games, we have 5 away, while one of the 3 at home is against Barca

    This time I will not ask for rotation, but I will ask to line up our best 11
    And we actually did rotate enough in the last few games, deliberately or not, doesn’t matter
    Godin & Juanfran didn’t play against Scoiedad, Gabi played just 2 minutes, Miranda missed 2 games for suspension, Mandzukic asked Simeone for some rest and he got it, Siqueira & Ansaldi also got it, but they didn’t ask for it !, Tiago played just the 1st half in Cordoba, Torres and Jimenez never play full games, RG8 is having a long rest for his broken arm, while the one who needs rest the most, Arda, had played only 20 min vs Cordoba
    The two who didn’t rest enough lately are Koke & Grizi, and they don’t need to, they are very young and energetic, but I would take them off tomorrow soon after we secure the win

  • Chewie

    If Malaga manages to score, it’ll be a super-nervous game. Hoping for an intense yet comfortable 2-0 as well.

  • If any team manages to score before us in any of the remaining games, it will be a super-nervous game
    We are in that stage of the season where most of the games end with a very narrow score, where who scores first usually wins
    We can’t afford to miss easy scoring chances, and we can’t afford any silly mistakes, especially those of Mario & Miranda
    And I wish we don’t suffer any refereeing mistakes, we can’t afford Teixeira brothers at this stage, no team can .. though I’m happy about what Teixeira did in San Mames last Thursday, I want everybody to taste what we have suffered from those 2 many times in many years

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    I’m nervous about this game, it feels like that “every game is a final” time we had last year.
    Let’s go guys!!!