Match preview: Atlético vs. Osasuna

Atleti hope to continue good run of form in La Liga opener without new striker Falcao

Reyes will play a crucial role for Atleti this season  (

Reyes will play a crucial role for Atleti this season

With the news that La Liga’s players’ strike was coming to an end, fans of Spanish football breathed a collective sigh of relief and turned their attention towards the first round of matches this weekend.

Atletico open their account against Osasuna, hosting the Basque outfit for a noon match on Sunday at the Vicente Calderón.

The time slot is one Spanish league officials hope will help capture a bigger share of Asia’s football viewing audience.

Last week’s work stoppage may have helped Atletico in their preparation for the 2011/12 season. It gave the club time to finalise the deals for Radamel Falcao and Arda Turan, and also navigate the Europa League qualifiers.

With star signings secured and a spot in Europe sealed, Atletico must now hit the ground running in La Liga. The match against Osasuna provides the perfect opportunity to do just this.

Los Rojillos finished ninth last year, two spots behind Atleti with 47 points while they also failed to beat los Rojiblancos both at home and away.

At the Calderon, a double by Diego Forlan helped Atleti to a 3-0 win with Kun Aguero also on the scoresheet. Later on in the season, Atleti travelled to Pamplona and came away with all three points thanks to a Diego Costa hat-trick.

It came as a huge disappointment Saturday morning when it was announced, via Atlético’s official Twitter account, that new €40 million frontman Radamel Falcao would not be featuring in this clash.

The striker’s transfer paperwork has not been sorted out yet with former team Porto, so he will be watching the match from the stands, despite being included in the match selection.

The other major announcement Saturday, was coach Gregorio Manzano’s confirmation that Elias would be the sacrificed non-EU player, meaning Eduardo Salvio, Miranda and Falcao would be taking up los Colchoneros’ three available spots.

Elias was not registered for La Liga.

The former Sevilla boss also revealed that Diego Forlán’s move to Inter Milan was on the verge of being wrapped up.

Turan was a surprise inclusion in the squad list, although it’s unclear if the Turk will see action on Sunday.

Midfielder Koke has been left out due to a muscle injury.

One player that might attract the interest of Atlético fans is Raul Garcia, who has joined Osasuna on loan and could feature in the match against his current employers.

Gregorio Manzano will aim to get his team playing much like they did when they travelled to Portugal to take on Vitória de Guimarães in the Europa League qualifier. The dominant 4-0 win away from home will fill the players with confidence and provides the perfect springboard to kick the season off in style.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Joel, Courtois
Defenders: Godín, Antonio López, Filipe Luis, Sílvio, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Arda Turan, Assunçao, Gabi, Juanfran
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Borja González

Don’t forget to get your score in for the 2011/12 debut of our Prediction League!

  • Idan

    vamos atletico ! we must to win.

  • Ringo

    Sad news for Elias, but a decision had to be made. So Falcao cannot play, that means one other player is to be dropped, so Arda Turan, Borja or one of the defenders, I guess?
    Quality-wise, I’d drop Assuncao, but because Elias is not registered and Koke is out injured, so he’s the only substitute for the central midfielders (guessing Tiago, Mario and Gabi will start once again).
    I guess the attack will start in the same formation, as well. If Arda plays, I predict it will be somewhere in the second half.
    The defensive line: Silvio & Filipe on the wings. Perea seems to be a starter for every trainer, so he must be a god in training or something, haha.
    He could be replaced by Miranda/Dominguez this time around, though.
    I guess Dominguez will start instead of Miranda again, or instead of Perea. Godin doesn’t seem to convince (yet) or Manzano has a luxury problem in the back (wait… what? Atleti and a luxury problem in the back?)
    Courtois seemed confident in Portugal, very secure, so if I had to guess, I think he will start against Osasuna.
    So, my predicted formation:
    Courtois; Silvio, Perea, Dominguez, Filipe; Tiago, Mario, Gabi; Salvio, Adrian, Reyes.

    Seemed to work in the games against Vitoria, hopefully it’s not the good-/bad day-effect, again…

    Please, please, let Atleti be consistent this season!!

  • starvs

    Damn, noon kickoff is brutal, game will be on here at 6 am local time. Don’t think that means I’m not gonna wake up though. So excited, we gonna crush some souls this season.

  • karam

    hi guys , there is no news about diego ……… ?????

    plz anyone knows what is going on , any thing ????


    aupa atleti and this is our year guuuuuuuuys 🙂

  • k14

    Damn, Valencia was few mins away from losing, yet, they manged a comeback that will boost their morals for the rest of the season.

  • Ringo

    Judging on this first half and the second leg versus Vitoria, Reyes should be the one being replaced by Arda! 😀

    Salvio is best man on the pitch so far, at least offensively.

  • Turkish Fan

    i think needs time for get better..with forlan and falcao..and for be lasy game,ARDA was good,i saw that he was exicted…but he fought,and stole some ciritic balls…and just 30 mins….when he started to play 90 mins..u will see he il be star of ur team….have a good day,guys

  • Ringo

    Ah, should’ve won there.

    Osasuna should’ve scored their late chance, but so did Mario Suarez, in the final seconds, but that goalkeeper was pretty amazing.

    Salvio and Adrian were unlucky with their finishing, but they played well, especially the Argentine.
    But sadly, Salvio was taken off for Arda, should have been Reyes, usually way too selfish and pretty annoying.
    Arda was okay on his debut, but it’s very clear he has to adapt.
    Juanfran didn’t really add something, but I don’t really blame him, the play started to become a bit chaotic when he came on, so it’s harder to accomplish things, I guess.

  • Ringo

    Courtois was very good, by the way, I wonder how he’ll do against the bigger opponents, but so far I wish he was signed on a permanent deal…

  • Edletico

    Impressed with the team, we were just very unlucky. Passing was excellent all round, still think we need that one player who can supply killer passes from midfield.
    Courtois looks a very good keeper, anyone know if we have a buyout clause?
    Arda looks like he will be quality when he adapts. Hopefully Falcao will hit the ground running like Silvio has.

  • Turkish Fan

    Reyes played so individual….but he was only star in 11…juanFran was so so bad also…i ll follow you guys 🙂 and…

  • Turkish Fan

    by the way arda should play on the left sidee certainly…. 3 forwards: left :arda ,midl: falcao, right: reyes

  • Gert

    Dissappointed by Reyes… way too selfish. He believes he will be the new Kun but should realize he doesn’t have the same skills…
    Juanfran dissappointed me as well…

    Good job by Courtois, Arda, Mario, Gabi, Silvio and Salvio!