Match preview: Valencia vs. Atlético

Red and whites travel to Mestalla for a clash against rejuvenated Los Che

Carrasco scored against Valencia home and away last season

Carrasco scored against Valencia home and away last season

After handing Bayern Munich their first defeat of the season, Atlético roll on to Valencia this Sunday, undefeated in their first eight matches and standing at third in La Liga.

The hosts are currently in between managers after the sacking of Pako Ayesteran, with match delegate Voro in charge tomorrow before newly appointed Cesare Prandelli takes charge on Monday.

Kick-off at Mestalla is set for 12:00 CET.

In midweek, Carrasco netted his first goal of the season against to give Atlético a 1-0 victory over Bayern Munich. He hit the woodwork in the first three home matches, but finally found the net on Wednesday.

That wasn’t the only reason manager Diego Simeone was celebrating this week though, as he became a father for the fourth time on Thursday to a baby girl called Francesca.

With an international break coming up after Sunday’s match, Cholo can start his best XI, meaning there should not be many changes from the side that faced Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Augusto and José Giménez continue to be sidelined with injuries. Possible changes include Kevin Gameiro coming in for Torres at the striker position and Nicolas Gaitán featuring somewhere in the midfield.

Diego Godín has made the trip despite suffering an ankle injury against the German side, but with 19 players in the squad, one will have to drop out before kick-off.

Valencia got off to a rough start this season, allowing 10 goals in their first four matches, all losses. They sacked Pako Ayestarán on September 20th, and appointed Italian Cesare Prandelli last week.

Los Che had originally bid for former Villarreal manager Marcelino, but were denied after several pleas to overturn the rule against coaching two teams in one season.

Salvador “Voro” González has taken over as caretaker manager and done well in his first two matches, both 2-1 victories over newly promoted sides Alavés and Leganés.

He most recently started a 4-2-3-1 with Diego Alvés in goal behind a back four of José Gayá, Eliaquim Mangala, Aderlan Santos and Martín Montoya.

Former Atletico player Mario Suárez and Enzo Pérez were the deep lying midfielders with Nani, Daniel Parejo, and Joao Cancelo in the attacking roles. Rodrigo was the lone striker.

Despite defeating Alavés in his first match, Voro made two changes before facing Leganés subbing Cancelo for Munir El Haddadi and Mario Suárez for Álvaro Medrán.

It’s anybody’s guess who will start in those positions on Sunday, so Atlético will have to prepare for any and all situations.

Notwithstanding their 12th place finish last season, Valencia is full of talent. Last season was their worst since 1987-88, the year after their most recent promotion to La Liga.

They finished fourth in 2014-15 and had three straight third place finishes from 2010-2012.

Atlético won both of last season’s matches handily, 2-1 at the Calderón and 3-1 in the Mestalla. Jackson Martínez scored at home, while Griezmann and Torres netted on the road. Carrasco also scored in both fixtures.

Simeone worked on quickness this week, saying, “The team worked well these past days with the clear idea of how to harm them and avoid their offensive speed.”

The game will be shown live on big screens at the Vicente Calderón on Sunday, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the stadium in which is set to be it’s last season.

Atleti and Valencia played the first ever match at the Calderón on 2nd October 1967, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

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

  • nandes

    I think it’s worrying that Godín keeps returning from his injuries way sooner than expected, that can’t be good in the long term. Lucas should start

  • atleti10

    Whilst I’m delighted that Correa’s starting you have to think Gaitan should be playing. He’s a quality player and he can be a star for us but he needs a run of games.

    I’d like to see Correa and Gaitan out wide and Koke and Gabi in the center. Griez and Gameiro up top.

    Looking forward to this lineup all the same.

  • Kris

    Gaitan should be starting every game man. I criticize Carrasco all the time too, but he is coming off a very confident game against Bayern and it’s not the best idea to bench a hot player in a crucial game. Correa has been very good thus far though, his turns are a joy to watch.