Match preview: Las Palmas vs. Atlético

Red and whites start the year in Gran Canaria with Copa del Rey clash

Gameiro looking to end goal drought against Las Palmas

Gameiro looking to end goal drought against Las Palmas

Atlético Madrid return to competitive action after a brief winter break on Tuesday night, taking on Las Palmas in the first leg of their Copa del Rey last 16 tie.

Diego Simeone’s men will be looking to start the new year with a win in the Canary Islands, having beaten the same opposition 1-0 in their last league match of 2016 just over two weeks ago.

Kick-off is set for 21:15 CET.

Atlético haven’t quite had things all their own way in recent months, but after a short break and a couple of wins under the belt there is hopefully a platform for the team to push on and challenge for titles this season.

One of those titles is the Copa del Rey, which the rojiblancos won famously for a tenth time against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu back in 2013.

This year the draw has been kind to Atleti, and although they face a good Las Palmas side in the last 16, the rest of the top 7 have all been drawn against each other, which could pave a route to the latter stages for whoever goes through.

However, Cholo‘s thinking will as usual only be on the next game and he has named a full strength squad for the trip, suggesting that he is taking the cup very seriously.

Most of the team were in action last Friday in the 3-2 friendly win over Al-Ittihad in Saudi Arabia, where the Argentine tactician tested out a few new strategies with this game in mind.

Juanfran is likely to start again on the right wing, with Sime Vrsaljko behind him. Saúl is set to partner Gabi in midfield, although Jose Giménez could be another option after his impressive cameo in Jeddah.

French duo Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann are likely to get the nod again up front, both of whom struggling for form and without a goal since November.

Not included is top scorer Yannick Carrasco after he suffered an achilles injury in training, and Thomas, who is off to the African Nations Cup this week. Cerci is left out as he looks to seal a move to Bologna.

Jan Oblak, Augusto and Tiago remain injured, but Filipe Luís is fit to play his first competitive match in almost a month. Teenage midfielder Juan Moreno is also called up.

Las Palmas are in the midst of a bit of a selection crisis of their own, with a number of players unlikely to play both due to fitness, health and bureaucratic issues.

According to manager Quique Setién; three players (Pedro Bigas, Javi Varas and Montoro) are suffering from illness, Tana is injured, Araujo and Boateng may or may not be fit and Míchel is in Brazil with permission from the club.

“The team isn’t in great shape,” he said in his press conference. “We have two competitions and an important league match on Saturday, but will still show our face in the cup and give everything we can.”

Atleti also return to La Liga action on Saturday, with a tough trip to Ipurúa to face Eibar. The return leg against Las Palmas takes place at the Vicente Calderón next Tuesday night.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers
: Moyá, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Gabi, Gaitán, Juan Moreno
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro


  • Koke

    Carrasco-Torres-Griezmann
    Gaitan-Gabi-Saul
    Filipe-Gimenez-Godin-Juanfran
    Moya

    Koke has been playing pretty poorly for a while and the last friendly didn’t show any improvement. Not that Saul or Gabi have been so spectacular either. Gaitan deserves a midfield start.

    Torres played well the other day while Gameiro didn’t show much. He deserves some minutes.

    Please, please let’s start 2017 well!

  • Hannu

    Carrasco is not in squad. I quess he has some injury and read somewhere that Simeone said that he dont want to play as right winger but dont know what that meant though..

  • Zinni DUDU

    Yeah he is injured but he would not play either. Juanfran will be again on the right side while Koke starts on the left side. So our only ofensive players will be to short and weak players who are similiar to each other. I have to say I feel sorry for Gaitan, Torres and Correa, who should play atleast in the copa. I would not be surprised if Torres leaves at the end of the season, because the way Simeone starts Gameiro always and always makes me really sad, that our legend gets so les playing time while two of-form strikers are always playing, though torres played the last two games realy good.

  • Hannu

    Well we will see next liga game but if we will see:
    Gameiro-Griezmann
    Koke-Saul-Gabi-Juanfran
    And Carrasco fit but on the bench then Simeone should just go to Inter..

  • nandes

    This is the first season Torres is actually doing the role he was brought for – a sub. He’s fine

  • Hannu

    Though sub for who? Mandzu was called flop when he managed to score “only” 20 goals. Lets see how many goals Gameiro can bring. I have nothing against Gameiro but with his contribution who should be sub here? Maybe Torres should save our asses again as in last season.

  • Zinni DUDU

    Well we got with a man you call a “sub” into the cl final. With Gameiro we will not reach even the semi finals

  • Usavicente Calderon

    I think I would keep the Vrsaljko and Juanfran tangent going, especially with Corrasco out.

  • AndersAT

    Well Juanfran is a natural right winger, so he is offensive minded when playing on the wing.

    Apparently Simeone thinks he is better than Gaitan on the right. I don’t know about that, but I don’t mind that. But I would prefer Gaitan on the left and Koke in the middle next to Saul.

  • Los indianos

    Hgj

  • aileen

    Simeone shows how much stubborn and closed-minded person he is. Gameiro didn`t want to go to Barcelona, because he was afraid of not playing. So Simeone probably had promised him he would play all the matches,something he woulldn`t automatically decide in case of Martinez – saying later Jackson`s setback was his fault.
    And yes, Torres should go now, not in the summer leaving all this mess and going to play anywhere as he is not about retiring yet.

  • nandes

    I didn’t mean it to sound demeaning. I’m a big Torres fan. Just saying that we spent ~~100m on Mandzukic, Jackson, Vietto & Gameiro – they were the ones who were/are supposed to be our superstars strikers. Torres has filled in as the main striker because the others flopped, but that’s not his main role in the squad.