Match preview: Celta vs. Atlético

Atlético travel to Vigo looking for revenge on last season

Celta had it good last time at Balaidos

Celta had it good last time at Balaidos

Atlético Madrid travel to a rain-hit Balaidos on Sunday evening, as Diego Simeone’s men look to return to the top of the table with a win against Celta.

Kick-off in Galicia is set for 20:30 CET.

Sitting fifth in the league at the start of the weekend, Celta has enjoyed a good start to their league campaign, however will have to finish out the season without their captain Augusto Fernández, after the 29-year-old made the switch to join Atlético at the start of the winter transfer window.

Atleti will be relieved to be playing someone other than Rayo Vallecano, after the draw against them in the Copa del Rey meant that los Rojiblancos would have to play their neighbours three times in 15 days.

There are no new injury concerns for Atleti, and the man that Augusto came to replace, Tiago, is still the only player out injured for the Diego Simeone.

Celta however, are without Nolito who misses the game through injury. The striker has eight goals in his 15 La Liga appearances so far this season.

Last season, Atlético fell to a 2-0 defeat in the same fixture, so will be looking for a completely different result this time around.

Cholo likes to experiment with his line-up in training, and this week had Vietto up front with Antoine Griezmann, in place of both Fernando Torres and Jackson Martínez.

Augusto Fernández also featured in an Atleti midfield alongside Koke, Saúl and Gabi. The midfielder could be playing on the turf at Balaidos much sooner than he would have anticipated.

With Barcelona easing to a 4-0 win over Granada on Saturday afternoon, the Catalans have made their game in hand count but a win in Vigo will send Atleti back to the summit.


  • Ahmad Hossainy

    First League game after signing Augusto and the arrival of Kranevitter, and Cholo took 20 players with him to Vigo .
    Clearly it will be a problem for him to have a big squad, some may say it’s a sweet problem, but I really don’t think so, not if Oliver will be the victim .
    Last week he wasn’t in the list of 18 and now he isn’t even among the 20, what message should the kid receive from this ?!
    What did Thomas do more to earn a spot ?! .. 2 goals and 1 assist ?! .. Oliver scored a goal and made 3 assists, and if Torres, Jackson and Vietto have scored all those great chances he created he would have had at least 6 assists by now, making him the top assistant of the team .
    Some would say that Thomas did what he did in much less time, well, he also was responsible for Rayo’s goal after his stupid miss pass, plus, there is no guarantee that he will keep doing great, just like Carrasco, who is another player I want to compare Oliver with .
    In my opinion, Carrasco had only 2 great weeks, his goal vs Sociedad and his 2 great games vs Astana & Valencia, after that it was just useless and sometimes unnecessary dribbles, with a very awful finishing, how many one-on-one situations did he has ?! I can remember at least 3, he missed all of them and even all of them went off the target .
    What did even Koke himself do more than Oliver ?!
    And why Fernando Torres is getting more chances than Oliver, and that’s coming from one of the biggest fans of Torres who could be the only one who wants him to stay for one or two more seasons as our third choice striker (which should have been the case this season if our 2 new 55-million strikers weren’t as much disappointment as him) .

    And please, I don’t want to hear that Oliver doesn’t defend, have you really been watching him playing ?!
    Oliver would have never played 22 games this season under Simeone if he wasn’t defending very well .
    I think some people keep saying that just because he is small, like many kept saying that Gabi had a very bad season in 2014-15 just because he is old, and as I said before, I never thought that Gabi was bad that season, he just wasn’t as great as he was in 2013-14, and guess what, Gabi was number 71 on L’Equipe’s top 100 list for 2015 .. while Koke wasn’t on the list .

    Oliver is not Arda, not yet, but he is not Mario Suarez either, and he shouldn’t be treated like he is .

    Put Oliver in his natural positoin, the position he played in with Porto and you will have the same Oliver who was a big star at Porto .. or even better .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    This is a very vital game, beating Celta will give us 13 points gap from the 5th place, a very big step to reach our goal, the champions league .
    I know I said few weeks ago that I believe we can win the title, but with how things are going on it could go either way, we could win the title, and we could finish 5th .
    Half our wins (7 out of 13) came with 1 goal margin, 1-0 five times and 2-1 twice .
    Half our goals (12 out of 25) came in the last 15 minutes of the game .

    As many of you said : when we run out of luck, we are screwed .
    But I must say one thing : why should we run out of luck ?! .. why not stay that lucky every single game until the end of the season ?! .. I have seen such very good luck in life, but not with me though !

    The first league game for Augusto with Atleti could be against Celta, his old team, we also could have signed Nolito last summer if we wanted, but we decided to go for Carrasco .
    That’s the point I keep telling the people who don’t like criticizing Simeone :
    There is a big gap between Madrid & Barca and us, but there is also a big gap between us and the rest of La Liga clubs .
    We just did to Celta what Barca did to us & Sevilla in the summer by signing Arda & Vidal, and we did it in the summer to Villarreal too by signing their top scorer .

    For the 100th time : Simeone has the resources to play much better than we are playing right now .
    But I don’t have any problem with playing that awful and winning 1-0 every single game and lifting the title at the end of the season .. if he is that lucky .

  • BlasiusMagnus

    according to as.com oliver decided to leave, i just hope this is bullshit. also i love simeone, but i’m pretty sure he is the only top manager in the world who just can’t use oliver in the right position.

  • Ringo

    I hope so too

    But now with Augusto and Kranevitter I think Koke, Carrasco, Griezmann and Saúl are ahead of him as offensive midfielders.

    I get that Simeone is OCD on the cautiousness, but instead of being relatively annoyed like I was before, Oli (permanently) leaving would be the first time I’ll see Cholo as a failure. Even more so than I did with Aguirre when I ignored Camacho out of nowhere in favor of Paulo’s “essential experience.”

    You can see Oli is trying and at the moment he’s feeling less confident. Cholo is unable to give Oli the trust that’s essential right now, so there’s a good chance Oli doesn’t like his time here anymore.
    Cholo doesn’t stick to many promises anyway, outside of maybe the partido a partido approach.

    If he leaves I hope it’s a loan deal, but I fear it’s not… and I don’t blame him one bit.
    I hope Correa won’t be going down the same path.

  • Ringo

    I think with Cholo we need to stick to our defensive play and don’t buy possession-based players. Cholo doesn’t have the guts consistently enough for an offensive approach, so don’t fool players talented in the technical department and just go back to the long ball approach.
    Maybe let Koke and Saúl go to a team where their potential is seen and trusted as central midfielders.

    I’m overreacting here, of course, but we actually have a midfield capable of challenging for being first choice in the Spanish national team. Two to three of them could be the three man midfield in five years, but I wouldn’t be surprised if when (if) they actually will make it, that only one of them will have Atlético Madrid behind their name as current club.

    We’ll probably start playing better in the second half of the season, but I wouldn’t be mad at our talented canteranos if they’d leave for more creative teams. Unless changes things around like he promised.

    Hope Rayo wasn’t Oli’s last game with us. If it was, all good luck to you.

  • Ringo

    Then again, this might be Tiago’s final season, depending on how he returns and how he wishes to finish his career (such an injury might make it very hard to give it your all like is necessary with us) and Gabi is getting older, and he is more box-to-box than Tiago is, so he might have a harder time playing everything while aging (plus he’s suspended every ten games or so lol). Essentially Thomas, Saúl and Koke are central midfielders, so perhaps Oli needs patience until the rest of the team is closer to completing its transition, before given more space for more trust.

    In a way Simeone’s approach always makes sense, but I really do fear this is too much to ask of arguably our most talented player.

  • AndersAT

    To be a little provocative, why do you all seem to think Oliver is our most talented player? Why not Saul, Thomas, gimenez or even carrasco or Vietto. All these players have performed better this season (and Saul, Vietto and gimenez has performed on a high level in Spain last season as well). And don’t say he didn’t get a chance, he has played quite a bit in the start of the season and probably 90% of a footballers work is training, where he apparently haven’t performed either (I am guessing, since he hasn’t been picked for the starting eleven more often).

    I think he probably have potential but he should be loaned out now. And if he wants to leave for good, he should do that. We will survive without him.

  • Kris

    Yes, I agree there seems to be a little romanticization of Oliver on this website. I’m one of those that used to romanticize him because he’s definitely an exciting player. But you can’t always just be talking about his chances and how he’s not getting enough, because that is simply not true. He’s gotten as many chances as anybody, and even had the chance to establish himself as a regular at the start of the season as he was even given the number 10 before Carrasco came in and showed he’s a better fit.

    But I also agree with others that it wasn’t fair for Oliver as he was being played out of position. But so are Saul, Koke, Griezmann, and Juanfran. How come they’ve all been able to make positive impacts on the team and Oliver hasn’t? Is it because of his physicality, his technical abilities that will only let him play one position? I don’t know.

    If our whole team is to be able to play better and to their full potential, we have to change our footballing philosophy which lies with Simeone. Is he willing to change? I honestly don’t think so. He has a manly ego(principle) that he has always stood by and I have massive respect to him for that reason, but sometimes change is necessary even if it means breaking a little but of your ego.

    Also to those who only talk about Oliver’s limited chances, please tell me why you feel Correa, Thomas, Vietto, Saul aren’t just as important subjects?

  • Koke

    If I can add my two cents here, I think there are two sides to this. I have to admit that I am one of those who sort of romanticize Oliver, so let’s try to be objective here:

    On one hand, what’s not to like? He’s a canterano who is easily the most creative and exciting midfielder we’ve had in our ranks for years, his dribbling, passing, and flair is something that our other midfielders lack, even Koke. He is young so it’s fun to think that he will only get better and better. Many pundits tip him to be a world beater in the future, even Barcelona (who create world class midfielders for fun) reportedly made a clause in the David Villa sale that if we ever sell Oliver THEY have first dibs (not on Saul, not on Koke, but on the kid that had never even joined the first team yet). Oliver, in terms of talent and style, is the closest thing to Xavi we will see for years, and he, along with Koke, Thiago, and Isco, is the reason Spain can rest easy for years. Now, obviously, since he is so young and hasn’t played a lot for Atleti, there isn’t much footage of him, but check out this video if you have time and tell me that he doesn’t look just like a faster, trickier Xavi:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P_AtvnQfMU

    On the other hand, you’re right to say that he hasn’t shown much since arriving here. That is simply because he has lacked playing time, however. Remember his goal vs Astana, or his through pass to Griezmann? He has moments of brilliance every now and then, but 1) he is rarely played nowadays and 2) when he is played, it’s out of position. Who plays a center mid on the right wing and expects them to perform at their best?

    Maybe the best case scenario now is a loan move, so he can keep developing. I won’t lie, in recent weeks Thomas has been way more impressive, but I’d also like to see what Oliver would show if he played in Thomas position. If we loan Oliver out that’d be the best for all parties, unless Simeone decides to play him. But if we sell Oliver, that’d be our biggest, stupidest mistake in a long time. The problem is that if we loan Oliver this season we would have no more creative attacking mids. I guess Koke and Thomas maybe, but they aren’t creative or attacking enough in the final third, they are better off playing box to box.

    In summary, maybe fans of Atleti are guilty of liking Oliver too much. But Simeone is guilty of liking him too little as well. He may not be offering as much to the team as he could be, but he is also a future world class midfielder and we should not lose him by any means.

  • atleti lover

    So Gabi- Augusto- Saul- Koke- Greizmann- Vietto!!!
    What is this Simeone??? 3 defensive midfielders with Koke( who is central midfielder ) and Greizmann and Vietto!
    So boring sooooo ugly football for sure! Why Simeone is so afraid?? Why he bought augusto to play instead of Carrasco, Correa and Oliver????
    Who will create the chances???
    Also you leavr Jackson out for Vietto
    #boring Simeone
    #i will not watch the game
    #fuck you augusto

  • AndersAT

    I am actually just trying to play the devils advocate, but I think it is complicated. First off all it is fun too se a video of him, and he looks good, but all central midfielders make great passes sometimes and could have a video like that. When we bought Cleber Santana I saw a similar video, and he was really really bad. It is one thing to do these things in the U21 side and another to do it in la liga.

    But i to think he has potential, and I would love to see him as CAM from start, but I also think he needs to up his game in the position he is played in If he is to live up too his full potential.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Correa definitely deserves much more chances, Thomas wasted half of the season on the stands, not even on the bench, I have siad before that the one who needs playing minutes the most is Lucas, since he is the youngest, but he isn’t getting any and yet Simeone doesn’t want him to leave on loan (according to Spanish media just yesterday) .
    I even talked about Savic and how I think he could be better than Gmenez .

    But I will admit that I talk more about Oilver, not because I think he is the most talented player like Anders said, I never said that and I don’t remember anyone saying that, it is because he is the only one in his position, a playmaker, I can’t say that Koke or Saul or Carrasco or Correa are playmakers .
    Even worse : he is also losing his position to defensive midfielders like Augusto and Kranevitter !

    Changing your position, in my opinion, should be for one of two reasons :
    1- the need of the team .
    2- if you are not very impressive in your old postion but could be in your new one, like Juanfran .
    Oliver is good in his position, and he is the only one in it, so why change it ?!!