Match preview: Celta Vigo vs. Atlético

Rojiblancos travel to Vigo for Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg

Griezmann could be rested against Celta

Griezmann could be rested against Celta

Atlético Madrid are back at Balaídos on Wednesday night, as they prepare to take on Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey.

The red and whites ran out 2-0 winners in Galicia earlier in the month, and they will be looking for a similar result in tomorrow’s quarter-final first leg.

Kick-off is set for 20:30 CET.

Goals from Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Carrasco secured the points for Atleti at a rain-soaked Balaídos ten days ago, and they followed that win up with a 3-0 success at Las Palmas on Sunday.

Top of La Liga and still competing strongly on all three fronts, the Copa has given Diego Simeone a chance to make full use of his 24-man squad this season.

Unlike in previous matches though, the Argentine tactician has opted to name a full strength squad, calling up 19 players for the trip.

Fernando Torres and long-term absentee Tiago are still out injured, but other than Saúl Ñíguez – who we presume is just rested – there are no unexpected omissions.

Cholo is expected to make rotations still, and he tested the likes of Thomas Partey, Óliver Torres and Matías Kranevitter in an experimental line-up in training yesterday.

Not involved are defenders Lucas Hernández and Guilherme Siqueira, both of whom could well be on their way out of the club before the end of the January transfer window.

In his press conference, Simeone gave little away about his team selection, but did underline how seriously he is taking both the opponent and the Copa del Rey this season.

“We know that knock-out ties are always complex, especially playing against a strong, attacking team like Celta,” he told press. “We’re preparing for tomorrow’s game as if it were last.”

“Our squad? Every player is valued. We play each match with all 18 players called, as you can see by the impact of the substitutes. I don’t think about winning only the first 10 minutes, it’s important to think about the ninety as a whole.”

After overcoming Rayo Vallecano in the last round a week ago, Atleti will be desperate to book their place in the semi-final, but if things panned out differently we could have been gearing up for a derby this week.

Celta beat Segunda B outfit Cádiz in the round of 16, who took Real Madrid’s place in the competition after los blancos were thrown out for fielding an ineligible player against them last month.

They were 5-0 aggregate winners, but have struggled in La Liga lately – perhaps due to the fact that they had their captain Augusto Fernández conveniently stolen from them earlier in the month…

Star man Nolito has also been out for over a month, and won’t be risked tomorrow despite having returned to training.

Another player unlikely to feature is captain Hugo Mallo as he battles an illness, although new signing Claudio Beauvue – who scored an impressive 27 goals for Guingamp last season – could make his debut.

On Saturday, they ended their three-match league losing streak by beating bottom-side Levante in a 4-3 thriller, and still find themselves in a race for the European places up in fifth spot.

We’re still waiting for the RFEF to confirm a date and time for the second leg at the Calderón next week, although it will most likely be the Wednesday judging by the two team’s respective fixtures.

On Sunday afternoon, Atleti take on Sevilla in another crucial encounter, and Celta are also in the capital for a visit to Rayo the night before.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Oblak
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Gámez, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Kranevitter, Óliver, Augusto, Gabi, Thomas, Carrasco
Forwards: Griezmann, Jackson, Correa, Vietto

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Well, I guess that’s it for Siqueira, I never agreed with Simeone or the vast majority of the fans that he is really that bad, but he is the boss, he watches him every day in training, and he is a football professional while I’m just a pharmacist .
    But here is something that doesn’t need a football genius to figure it out :
    What the fuck is he still doing in the club ?! why wasn’t he sold in the summer when he had several offers, one of them -reportedly- was from Juve, a big chance that the man will never get again ?! why we didn’t sign a big name in the summer who can put pressure on Filipe ?! or give Lucas a chance ?! and are we going to sign another LB this January before the ban comes in action (in case the appeal was rejected) ?! and can we really find a decent LB in the winter market ?!
    Who will be our LB in this very important game tonight, 30-year-old Filipe, which will be his 5th game in 19 days, then we have Sevilla & Barca ?! or the right-footed Gamez ?!

    Caminero & Barta have been doing a marvellous job in the last few years, but for the LB this season & the season before, I think they fucked up .
    Simeone fucked up too for failing to take a decision .

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    I actually was on Siqueira’s side at first but he has made me change my mind after watching him this season. Also Fillipe is way better than him and at lb he makes us stronger in that position than we were last year. I do however agree that we need a lb to challenge him for that position.

  • Koke

    I agree, I don’t understand why they treat Siquiera that way. It would make sense if they thought he was good enough to be a backup, keeping him and using him as a sub to Filipe. It would also make sense if they thought he wasn’t good enough, so they sold him in the summer to a club that needs him and bought a good back up. What I don’t understand is keeping him, paying him, and then never playing him.

    Obviously, it’s likely that Cholo knows better than we do, but I cannot for the life of me see what’s so awful about Siquiera. No, maybe he’s not first-choice material, but he is an ample backup and is good in attack. Besides, Gamez is hard to watch at LB. Only back passes, he can’t really provide width or contribute much to the attack because he’s on his weaker foot.

    Unless Simeone changes his mind about Siquiera, we’d better find a new LB fast, or start incorporating Lucas into the team (but Lucas looks like he’s leaving too.) LB is literally the only position in our squad where we don’t have ample cover, and both Juanfran and Filipe do WAY too much running in WAY too many games each season not to have proper cover to rest them.

  • Koke

    I’d be pumped to see an Oliver-Thomas-Kranevitter midfield trio. Oliver and Kranevitter are two players that excite me to watch but whom I haven’t gotten to see much of. I’d also like to see both Correa and Jackson start, since they both need minutes to continue to find their feet.

    Most importantly, though, we have to win. Celta are no pushovers, this is the same team that gave Barcelona one of its most embarrassing losses in the past 5 years. If we are on top form, we can beat them. Something tells me that we’re starting to get into top gear though.

  • Hannu

    Siqueira has been quite horrible this season but anyway we should have sold him in summer. Yeah and Lucas is another case. Why we didnt loan him? He had a pretty good pre-season and would be choice for lb too but he doesnt get any chance.