Match preview: Atlético vs. Real Betis

Cholo after third successive league win as Betis visit Calderón for the last time

Juanfran scored against Betis last season, but will he start on Saturday?

Juanfran scored against Betis last season, but will he start on Saturday?

After conceding three goals in the home leg and just squeezing past Las Palmas in the Copa del Rey in midweek, Atlético return to La Liga action on Saturday as Real Betis visit the Calderón.

The rojiblancos will be looking to return to winning ways and make up ground on the top three, as fixture congestion starts to take it’s toll on the teams involved in all three competitions.

Kick-off in the Spanish capital is set for 18:30 CET.

Four straight wins and Antoine Griezmann’s first goal since November 23rd had Atlético confident and with high hopes before the slip-up on Tuesday.

Atlético will try to return to the strong defensive foundations that helped them win four in a row, a stretch in which they conceded only one consolation goal against Guijuelo. The three allowed goals against Las Palmas were certainly not a recipe for success.

Diego Simeone rested a few players for that match, but will likely start a full strength eleven on Saturday judging by reports from training in the last few days.

Augusto Fernández, Jan Oblak, Tiago and Lucas Hernández continue to miss on injuries while Thomas Partey is still away for the African Cup of Nations.

The Argentine boss confirmed in his pre-match press conference that Fernando Torres and Nico Gaitán will feature from the start. Yannick Carraco is also back from injury, and youngster Keidi features in the squad again.

Meanwhile, despite doing well in the pivot at Eibar last weekend, it looks as if José Giménez will drop back to the bench with Saúl and Gabi holding the midfield.

Vrsaljko should also get the nod over Juanfran again, who came in for criticism for his defending for both of Las Palmas’ late goals on Tuesday.

Betis manager Victor Sánchez is in his first season at the club after taking over from Gus Poyet in November. He has employed a 5-3-2 lineup recently.

Antonio Adán starts in goal with Rafa Navarro, Bruno, Germán Pezzella, José Carlos and Riza Durmisi along the back. Jonas Martin, Petros and Dani Ceballos are the midfielders with Antonio Sanabria and Rubén Castro in the forward roles.

The predatory Castro leads the team with eight goals so far on the season. They like to spread the ball around as ten different players have hit the back of the net so far this season.

Atlético handled this fixture easily last year, winning 5-1 with goals from Fernando Torres, Juanfran, Thomas Partey and a brace for Antoine Griezmann. They also took the away fixture with Koke scoring early for a 1-0 result.

Betis have always had a close relationship with Atlético, and before the game they will pay homage to the Vicente Calderón on their final visit to the stadium, where they won the Copa del Rey in 1977 and 2005.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers
: Moyá, Bernabé
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Gaitán, Keidi
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro


  • Gol

    Griezmann-Torres-Correa
    Carrasco-Koke-Gabi-Gaitan
    Filipe-Godin-Vrsaljko
    Moya

  • Vagabond Messi

    It seems as if Torres will start no matter what, he should be third choice behind Gameiro and Corriea.

  • Gol

    Let’s hope Koke plays like this against Betis. XD https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg9thnLWRfk

  • Hannu
  • Hannu

    Torres will score tonight

  • Mitch

    Yes, the one and only FT9!

  • iamfaried

    Predicted lineup:

    Moya
    Vrsa Savkee Godin Filipe
    Gaitan Gabi Saul Koke
    Grizzi Torres

    Aupa Atléti

  • Zinni DUDU

    What a kind of bullshit are you talking about? Torres comleted this season only 433 minutes in the league while Gameiro completed 1051 mintes and correa 656. Get your informations right before writing some bullshit

  • Vagabond Messi

    How would he play like this when this system is not remotely closer to what Modric plays in. Imo , Koke can be next Veratti but lad is too busy doing defensive duty .

  • Vagabond Messi

    Yes and ignore cl matches and CDR because it doesn’t suit your agenda? If you compare all three this season, it’s clear Torres doesn’t deserve start over Either Correa and Gameiro.

  • Kris

    I think Correa and Gameiro were/are sick or something. I think the fact that he scored against them last season is why Cholo’s starting him this match. But I agree with you.Torres is third at the moment. Both Gameiro and Correa are playing at a level much higher than him.

  • AndersAT

    I like Torres but I think Gameiro or Correa should start. And I miss seeing Carrasco, but Gaitan in the starting lineup is a positive.

    Is anybody in here following the ANC, who knows how Thomas is performing?

  • Zinni DUDU

    I am not able to judge if torres should start or not, because we are not there to watch them train day in and day out.

    And if I compare – as you want – all three competitions the argument stays the same:

    Torres: 821
    Correa: 1.015
    Gameiro: 1.399

    So the whole season Torres was number three behind Gameiro und Correa and we were still shit. I have the opponion that the team plays better with Torres though he has not performed on the highest level, because he holds up long balls, wins areial duells and opens up space. While Correa und Gameiro are not able to do that. Gameiro and Correa are very simmilar to Griezmann, thats why you have to look game by game. You have to decide: Do I need a bigger striker? Or should I start with players which Simmilar to each other?

    I think it is more complicated than only to say Gameiro and Correa are better thatswhy they should always start ahead of Torres. You can do that if you have a strikforce like BBC or MSN but not with our attack.

  • Zinni DUDU

    Yeah Gameiro trained really warm clothed in training and he is still effected by something. But Cholo said in the press conference that Torres starts because he thinks he will adapt better to the game than gameiro and correa

  • Zinni DUDU

    Hahahahahahahaha. Is that honestly meant?

  • Kris

    Holy shit, you tripped me up with ANC. I guess it can be done like that but I am used to AFCON. But can’t say much about how Thomas is performing as the tournament officially starts today. You should watch some of the games if you have time, it’s really exciting, although I don’t think I will be watching the group stages this time around.

  • Kris

    Simeone said that because Torres scored against them last season. I think Torres has been worse than last season based on the 821 minutes I have seen of him on the pitch. That being said, I hope he gets a goal or two.

  • Vagabond Messi

    Smurf or gnoms, Gameiro and Correa performed better this year statewise , deal with it, Torres couldb’t cut in to joke team like this Milan and you want him to be our main striker. I’m no Gameiro fan but Gameiro and Correa gives much more than this version of Torres. As far as Torres holding ball is concerned, he loses ball easily as he did in cl final , has slowed down. He was a legend now he’s past it a long ago, It’s safe to say Gemeiro has been a better player than Torres over last 3 years.

  • Vagabond Messi

    Frustrating thing that’s unsettling thing is Simeone doesn’t even have founded his best 11 so far when everyone is avaliable. Look at barca , Madrid or Any top team, they have a fixed first eleven and then rotate players according to schedule.

  • iamfaried

    This years AFCON will be the best since 2010. Judging by the teams, players and performances that is.

    Bets on Algerie, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire and Egypt.

  • Kris

    I would include Senegal on that list. Their team is pretty good with many young players and players in their prime.

  • iamfaried

    Reports say Gameiro and another two from the B team caught the flu.

  • iamfaried

    On point! I should’ve bet some money!

  • Kris

    Lol really? They are always on AS.com the day or a couple of days before the match. The final team he trains with is the team Simeone pretty much always fields for the match.

  • Kris

    Gaitan starts. Gaitan scores.

  • iamfaried

    They actually predicted Juanfran on the right and Josema in the Middle.

  • Kris