Match preview: Atlético vs. Barcelona

Atlético face stern test as the champions roll into town

Filipe Luís returns to play in first Barcelona game since title triumph

Filipe Luís returns to play in first Barcelona game since title triumph

Atlético Madrid welcome Barcelona to the Vicente Calderón on Saturday evening for the toughest match of their season so far.

Kick-off on matchday three is set for 20:30 CEST.

It’s an early season clash for two of La Liga’s biggest teams, and an early test for Diego Simeone’s refreshed squad, who promise so much.

Both teams enjoy a 100 per cent record after two games, whilst Atlético impressed last time out in their 3-0 away away from home against Sevilla.

It’s this game against the defending champions that will mean more to Atleti though, as a win against the Blaugrana will help Cholo’s men re-establish themselves as title contenders – something they didn’t manage for the whole of last season.

The international break may have disrupted some of the preparation for Saturday’s match, but Simeone has all of his players available – even Tiago who reported some discomfort in training.

The coach resisted the urge to experiment with his team in the pre-match sesion, with Filipe Luís the only player to come into the training line-up that didn’t start against Sevilla. The Brazilian replaces Jesús Gámez.

Despite having a plethora of new signings on the bench, Cholo looks set to stick with the starting eleven he knows and trusts, with Fernando Torres continuing to start up front with Antoine Griezmann.

This means that Jackson Martínez, Luciano Vietto, Ángel Correa and Yannick Carrasco will all have to settle for a place on the substitute’s bench.

Óliver Torres will continue to start in midfield alongside Koke, Gabi, and Tiago if he is fit.

The talent available in this season’s Atlético squad will make rotation a must, despite Cholo’s resistance to tinker with his team in recent seasons.

With the Champions League returning on Tuesday night – Atlético travel to Istanbul – there will be plenty of matches for every one to play.

Luis Enrique’s men however are missing some important members of the first-team for their visit to Madrid. Dani Alves and Gerard Pique miss out through injury and suspension respectively.

We won’t even mention any Atlético-Barcelona transfers that happened this summer.

“We’ve started really well with two victories,” Antoine Griezmann said head of the match on Saturday. “We hope to win the third one this week.”

“We’ll go out and give our all and try to win.”

Sentiments that were echoed by Filipe Luís, who’s last game against Barcelona for Atlético was when los Rojiblancos clinched the title in 2014.

“Barcelona has just won all the titles. They have so many resources, even if they have injured players, the squad is practically the same as last year.

“They are the favourites in ever fixture they play. We have the advantage of playing at home and it will surely be a tough game,” the left-back continued.

“We are very confident, but we must play the same as we have in our first two league games, where we haven’t conceded a goal.”

“My last game against them was the one in which we won the League, it was a very important day, but I think that Barcelona have improved greatly since then.”

“I am eager and excited to play again and do my bit so the team can play to win,” Filipe finished.

Who do you want to start for Atlético? Should Simeone give any of the new signings a chance from the start?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    El Cholo said in the press conference that he hasn’t decided yet between Torres and Jackson, while Correa is one of the four who didn’t make it to the list, along with Siqueira, Lucas & Thomas .

    I would start with Torres, despite Jackson’s great goal against Sevilla, he still not at the same fitness level as his teammates .
    And I would have put Siqueira on the bench instead of Gamez, since Filipe is coming back from an injury and may not be able to complete the 90 minutes, and since Savic can play as a right back, and I think he played in that position with Montenegro last week, and he scored a goal by the way .
    Or Simeone could have done like what he did against La Palmas, having Savic as a sole defender on the bench, and that would have made a room for Angelito who also scored in his debut with Argentina in the international break . Savic can play as a center back or a right back, and Saul can play as a center back or a left back, but I guess it’s too much risk against a team like Barca .

    Well, I wish this means we are finally going to see Vietto .

  • madwriter

    I agree with you on Siqueira, I would love to see him on the bench, just for the fans if nothing else, and would definitely start Torres or even Vietto alongside Griezmann and give Jackson more minutes against weaker teams in these first few fixtures, maybe Barca is just too much to handle at the moment.


  • Kris

    I would start with Jackson, so he can use his height and strength against the Barcelona defenders, but I don’t know what’s going through Cholo’s mind.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    And in case you missed it, Atletico de Kolkata will offer their Indian Super League trophy they won last season before the game .
    They are about to finish their preseason that was held in Los Angeles de San Rafael, before starting their title defending campaign in October 7th .
    But what I really hated was that they were wearing the training kits of Atletico Madrid of last season .. they are not that poor, neither of them, the Indian Atleti or the “original” Atleti .
    It wasn’t a pretty image for both clubs and for the Hero-ISL .

  • Arjit Barua

    Maybe because Torres has a good record against Barca? either that or he wants Torres to tire out their make-shift backline and then Martinez and/or vietto to hit the killer blow.

  • Chewie

    Only victory!