Match preview: Eibar vs. Atlético

Rojiblancos travel to Ipurúa in search of their first three points of 2017

Torres set to start against Eibar

Torres set to start against Eibar

La Liga resumes after the winter break for Atlético Madrid on Saturday afternoon, the red and whites travelling to the Basque Country to take on Eibar at Ipurúa.

Having won their last three matches, Cholo‘s men will be looking for another three points to help them back into the top four going into the second half of the season.

Up against them are Eibar, who are enjoying another good season in the top flight and are only two points behind tomorrow’s visitors in eighth as things stand.

Both teams won in the Copa del Rey in midweek, the home side winning 3-0 in Pamplona against Osasuna, and Atleti 2-0 winners away at Las Palmas in Gran Canaria.

Diego Simeone is expected to continue his recent trend of experimental line-ups, a topic we covered in our latest opinion piece. So far, his changes have been getting results.

The Argentine head coach partnered Josema Giménez in midfield alongside Gabi in training on Thursday, with Juanfran dropping out of the XI. The impressive Sime Vrsaljko is likely to keep his place at right-back.

Up front, Fernando Torres is set to replace Kevin Gameiro. The veteran forward scored his 100th Atleti goal in our last meeting with Eibar, and was also on target in the reverse fixture at Ipurúa last season.

Yannick Carrasco is still out with an achilles problem, and Tiago, Augusto and Oblak remain on the sidelines. Thomas is at the African Nations Cup, so teen midfielder Juan Moreno makes the squad again.

“I would like to continue to see growth within our game,” said Simeone in his press conference. “With good training we can make different options work, and it has left us with a good feeling in recent matches.”

“We expect a tough match, but hopefully we can take it to where we want to. Eibar are an intense team with a clear identity, which is something I always have a thought for.”

José Luis Mendilibar has called up 20 players for the home side, but will be without both Iván Ramis and Kike García. However, Asier Riesgo and Fran Rico have recovered from injury and are available.

In both of their two La Liga seasons, Eibar have started strongly before tailing off after new year, but a win against Atlético could provide the confidence they need to avoid a repeat performance this year.

They are strong at home, having lost just once with only six goals conceded in eight matches, the second best total in the division. Back in October they also picked up a famous 1-1 draw at the Bernabéu.

Atleti will provisionally move up to fourth should they win, and with the teams from 2nd to 5th in the league all playing each other, Cholo will know the importance of not dropping points.

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


  • BOBT

    I hope we get a Result . we really need this .

  • Kris

    There’s no way Simeone has gone to Ipurua to try and win the match. Look at the fucking line up. Goddammit.

    Moya-
    Vrsaljko-Savic-Godin-Filipe
    Koke-Gabi-Gimenez-Saul
    Torres-Griezmann

    How the fuck does anyone expect to win with this lineup? Torres has scored one goal since god knows when. Gimenez as an extra DM. wow. No creative outlet whatsoever. Who’s going to provide service for the strikers?

  • iamfaried

    This is what the match vs Eibar requires. I understand your frustration at the lineup, but a quick trip back to last season at Ipurua will help you understand Cholos justification for this match. Any creative players will not be able to create chances due to the conditions of the pitch and The basque sides style of play. The physical and defensive players will thrive the most.

    Gameiro isn’t as physical when it comes to Torres. Sure he hasn’t scored since the Jurassic era, but his presence and movement creates a lot of trouble and gaps in defense.

    The only way I can prove this is after the match when we see the gameplay and result.

    ¡Aupa Atléti!

  • atleti10

    What I would say about the lineup is it has something we’ve lost of late.. aggression. If Koke can get his service right we have 4 good headerers of the ball who can score, Vrsaljko isn’t small either.

    He’ll need to improve his corners though!!

    Clean sheet is a bare minimum expectation here.

  • AndersAT

    You might be right. I think the crosses from Sime (yes, I can’t spell his last name) to Gimenez, Torres and Griezman along with fierce intensity will be the key to winning this match.

  • iamfaried

    I must admit it’s not looking as promising after the first half. Again proving things on paper are much different when applied in real life.

  • AndersAT

    Agreed. Nice with a goal, but I am not impressed with Gimenez today.