Match preview: Atlético vs. Deportivo

Cholo set to rotate again as red and whites look to close gap at the top

Griezmann was on target against Depor last season

Griezmann was on target against Depor last season

Fresh off of a 1-1 draw with Barcelona on Wednesday night, Atlético Madrid returns to the Vicente Calderón on Sunday afternoon for a match up with lowly Deportivo La Coruña.

The hosts can go up to third in the table with a win against the Galicians, with reports suggesting that we can expect rotations to the team in the midst of our hectic early season schedule.

Kick-off in the capital is set for 16:15 CET.

Leaders Real Madrid have now drawn twice in a row having been held at Las Palmas on Saturday night, meaning just weeks after some ruled Atleti out of the title race for dropping points in their two openers, we have a chance to go within touching distance of the top two.

As expected, Simeone went with his most trusted and experienced players in the draw at Barcelona, after having made changes for last weekend’s win over Sporting Gijón.

Sunday’s game may give the Atleti boss a chance to rotate the likes of Gaitán, Augusto and Torres into the side with the games coming thick and fast, and a Champions League match-up with Bayern Munich looming.

Saúl Ñíguez has been rested altogether and doesn’t feature in the squad, but apart form the injured Tiago, Cerci and Moyá, everybody else has been called-up.

Depor have struggled to get onto the scoresheet lately, scoring just once in their last four matches. That came against Leganés on Thursday night, but counted for nothing as the visitors claimed an unlikely 2-1 win.

Germán Lux starts in goal for the Branquiazuis, with Juanfran, Raúl Albentosa, Alejandro Arribas, and Luisinho manning the back line last time out.

Pedro Mosquera and Celso Borges featured as deep lying midfielders, with Emre Colak, Bruno Gama and Marlos Moreno in the more forward roles.

Florin Andone is the lone striker for Deportivo, and they also have free signing Ryan Babel in their ranks now, a former teammate of Fernando Torres back in his Liverpool days.

Despite their place at 14th in La Liga, Deportivo could be a tough opponent. The rojiblancos took care of business last time they came to the Calderón with a 3-0 win, but struggled at the Riazor as the hosts scored late on in a 1-1 draw.

However, the departure of Lucas Pérez to Arsenal has left a big whole in their frontline. They’ve not scored in the Calderón since 2008, a certain Filipe Luís on target in a 4-1 Atleti win.

“Depor will come to look for the alternatives needed to try and earn a result,” said Simeone in his press conference. “We will play the players who we believe are at their best and the ones who can win us this match.”

The match has been declared as high-risk by police, with violence before between ultras back in 2014 still leaving a sour taste in the mouth.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Carrasco, Augusto, Gabi, Thomas, Gaitán
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I keep asking for rotation, but I’m actually not a big fan of heavy rotation, not with Simeone’s Atleti, I mean look at our results when we do that in the first round of Copa del Rey when s we play against teams from 2nd or 3rd division .
    Last season we beat Reus 1-2 away and 1-0 at home, and all our players in both games were first team players, the season before we drew 2-2 at the Calderon with L’Hospitalet with only two youth players, Ivan Perez & Lucas in the starting XI, in 2013/14 we beat Sant Andreu 2-1 at the Calderon with our goals coming in min. 78 & 92 after we were 1-0 down since min. 14, Carlos Ramos was the only youth player in the line-up .

    This is strange, even if we didn’t have strong benches, we still should have done better against those 2nd and 3rd division sides .
    Maybe we could discuss that phenomenon -if we can call it that- later, but for now I don’t want and I don’t think that we gonna see a bench against Depor like the one we saw in Hamburg yesterday, Robben, Ribery, Vidal, Xabi Alonso & Boateng .

    The one who needs to be rotated the most if Filipe, and not only because that hole in his feet made by Suarez, but I’m not sure he should play in his place, Lucas or Vrsaljko, but if it was Lucas then I don’t want Vrsaljko on the right, I think it would be too much to rest both our regular full backs, maybe Juanfran could come off in the 2nd half when we secure the result .
    And I guess we will see Gimenez again .
    I don’t consider resting Saul a rotation, because I don’t think he should be a regular starter, I don’t think he is in the same place with Oblak, Godin, Filipe, Jaunfran, Koke & Grizi, not yet .
    Gaitan on the starting XI shouldn’t be considered a rotation either, because he should be a regular starter .
    I think Gameiro should start, he only played 60 min. against Barca, he is -relatively- young, he has a good stamina, he is coming from very physical Sevilla, and more important than all of that : he needs minutes, especially against average teams where he can score a goal or two he needs very much to raise he confidence .
    And If Correa didn’t start in such circumstances then I don’t know when !!

    My XI would be like this :
    Juanfran – Godin – Gimenez – Lucas
    Gaitan – Augusto – Koke
    Correa – Grizi – Gameiro

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Isn’t anybody going to tell me that I was wrong about Real Madrid, again ?!!
    Some of you seemed to find joy in rubbing it in my face 😉

    I actually expected this one, Casemiro is injured, Pepe didn’t play, instead it was overrated Varane, Keylor received the medical clearance but I was surprised that Zidane kept him on the bench, Las Palma are having a great start especially at home, and most importantly, as I said after their draw against Villarreal : they are so bad under pressure, a negative result for them usually brings another negative result and cause some problems in the dressing room .

    There was an article in a Madridista paper (I forgot which one) that caused an outrage few days ago, they were asking which absence is more effective : Messi or Casemiro ?!
    And I actually believe it’s Casemiro, it’s not a comparison between the two players, Messi can’t be compared to anyone, but a comparison between their roles and their importance in their teams, and I think Barca can live without Messi for a while, but Real Madrid will suffer a lot without Casemiro, I think Simeone would agree, he talks about him and his importance for his team a lot .

  • Dircil

    That line-up makes sense for me although I would prefer to give some rest to Grizi for today match. We can start with Torres and if we wont manage to score, then grizi can come in the 2nd half.

  • Mitch

    If I were Simeone:

    Goalkeepers: Moreira
    Defenders: Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Giménez
    Midfielders: Carrasco, Augusto, Gaitán
    Forwards: Torres, Correa, Gameiro

    Griezmann will come in later if needed (doubt it!)

    However, Simeone selected:
    Goalkeepers: Oblak
    Defenders: Godín, Savic, Lucas, Juanfran
    Midfielders: Koke, Augusto, Gabi, Gaitán
    Forwards: Griezmann, Gameiro