Match preview: Barcelona vs. Atlético

Manzano's men take on the European Champions at the Camp Nou

Filipe contends with Messi (

Filipe contends with Messi (

Atlético travel to Barcelona buoyed by back-to-back 4-0 performances and the possible return of Brazilian playmaker Diego, who missed out on midweek action against Sporting with a muscle injury.

The most exciting clash of the weekend kicks off on Saturday at 22:00 CET at the Camp Nou.

Striker Radamel Falcao García will look to capitalise on a suspect Barcelona defence that has struggled to reach peak form following a slew of injuries.

The Colombian has launched himself to the forefront of the Pichichi race with a blistering five goals in two matches.

“It’s a special match for any player who takes part in this type of game,” Falcao said in the pre-game press conference.

“Barcelona’s strength is taking possession of the ball, but it will be a well-disputed match.

“We know how to play with and without the ball and will have to be patient when they have it, and use it well when we have control.”

Atlético fans have been spoiled the last couple of years when it comes to forwards, having witnessed countless goals being banged in by the likes of Fernando Torres, Diego Forlán and Sergio Agüero.

What the Colchonero faithful isn’t accustomed to is control of the midfield and solid play at the back.

Los Rojiblancos’ back line has recorded seven shutouts in nine official matches, including three clean sheets on the trot.

But Atleti’s defence will be put to the ultimate challenge against the Catalans’ lethal attack force led by Lionel Messi.

The Argentine superstar has scored 11 goals in 10 games against us and comes into this bout tied with Falcao and Valencia’s Roberto Soldado at the top of the league’s goal scoring chart.

Atleti haven’t won at the Culés’ home stadium since February of 2006. Since then, it’s been nothing but thrashings at the hands of Barça there.

In our last four visits, we have been outscored by a 17-3 margin.

Atlético youth system product and bearer of La Liga’s finest ‘fro Mario Suárez isn’t afraid of the European giants though.

“We’re going for the victory with no fear,” he said.

“We’re going to the Camp Nou for the three points. We know we have to stay grounded. This has just started and to stay happy we have to do things well on the pitch.”

According to Radio Marca, Diego fully participated in Friday’s training session and will be available to coach Gregorio Manzano on Saturday.

Silvio, who re-injured his groin in our win over Sporting on Wednesday, was left off the match selection.

Sergio Asenjo, Diego Godín, Tiago and Juanfran return to the squad and travel to Barcelona.

Jorge Pulido, Pizzi, Joel and Assunçao will stay back in Madrid through tactical decision.

Centre-back Gerard Piqué has reportedly recovered from his ailments and could feature for Barça on Saturday.

Barcelona are coping with the injury blow of long-time Atleti target Ibrahim Afellay, who faces six months out with a knee injury after an unfortunate incident in training Thursday.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Antonio López, Filipe Luis, Álvaro Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Tiago, Salvio, Reyes, Arda, Gabi, Koke, Juanfran, Diego
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao

Barcelona match selection (TBA)

Referee: Carlos Delgado Ferreiro

Don’t forget to submit your score over at our Prediction League section!

  • Idan

    im very happy cus diego will play. its gonna be a very difficult match ..

  • Ringo Schut

    The back four seem obvious, Perea, Miranda, Dominguez and Filipe
    Surprised to see Asenjo, but Joel wasn’t very convincing so far, this season. Courtois will start, of course.
    Gabi, Mario and Diego in midfield, perhaps Koke instead of Mario, I’d like to see Jorge as CDM, but it’s not weird if Manzano won’t try that right now.
    I’d like Salvio, but Reyes will start on the right, accompanied by Falcao and Arda up front.
    Maybe one change, but this formation seems likely, at least to me.

  • DJ_ZA

    ‘Bearer of La Liga’s finest fro’ …. whahahaha. (still quite a way to go before the bro’s fro can match Valderama)

    Anyway, back to the match….don’t care about the score (ok maybe a little…or actually a lot), just hope we put in a great performance. Win, lose or draw I hope it’s thrilling from end to end.

    May the best Atleti win!

    Oh, almost forgot, enjoy the match Matthijs! So jealous! (I’ve just turned green). Guess some of us will just have to be happy with watching on TV).

  • starvs

    yeah I too would like to see:
    Perea Miranda Dominguez Filipe
    Mario Gabi Diego
    Reyes Falcao Turan

    That is a very strong team, but Mario is going to have to really put in a good performance if our midfield is going to be able to do what it needs to do.

    Hopefully Pique doesn’t come back yet, their D didn’t look super strong against Valencia.

  • 92

    Salvio was called up from Sabella for the world cup qualifiers!, I think that’s very good news for Salvio, that could be sort of a motivation for him to strive to do his best when he plays for Atleti, so that he gets more call ups to the Argentina team, I’m really glad for him, hope he plays though.

    About tomorrow’s match, there’s really not much to talk about, but I know that Atleti is gonna do a good performance and these Barca-Atleti matches are always riveting! with lots of goals and very good football, I agree DJ_ZA may the best team win.

  • Barca

    Result is: Barca 5— Atletico 1

  • Jewish

    If atletico can have the ball, the match can be head to head
    otherwise as he says the score will be 5 or 6…

  • k14

    Your on the wrong site mate,

    You should be on barca site, thats where all the glory whores meet 🙂

  • Ringo

    Come on, let’s keep it respectful.
    I guess the chances for a big conceding for Atleti, are far slimmer than previous years, so far the teams has looked very stable and doesn’t rely on the forwards too much to not lose.

    In the prediction league I even put down another clean sheet for Courtois, so I’ll stick with that for now.

    But above all: let’s hope for a terrific game!

  • Atletisrael

    a great game indeed, great test for our 1 goal defense. i hope it will be televised here in the far east (in Cambodia now for some reason)
    i don’t think the 7 goals per match ratio of the last years will continue. maybe a 2-1 either way
    hopefully atleti’s way 🙂
    i wish for another performance by falcao but anyone else will be far too busy on defense we should continue playing gabi on corners and FK cause it looks like a goal will come from that opportunities. And with a weak barca D…
    it will be interesting to see if manzanos’ starting lineup will be a defensing one with gabi tiago suarez and koke on the field for example and maybe diego on halftime. the supporters wont like it but probably it will be a smart way to go

  • bile

    Result is: Barca 1— Atlético 3

  • dgsozkan

    Maybe it’s too soon to claim that we can match with barca, yet I’m very hopeful about the game. This year , squad and the way the team play really enjoy me. I hope we’ll show the world how great team we are. Go Atleti Go!


    atleti will do great game hopefully due to the winning mentality which is the main diffrence compared to last year.

  • fancyfartpants

    barca will dominate, will have many chances, but atletico will be more effective and efficient with the few chances and will bring 3 points back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • AtletienPhila

    There is news on that Diego will be starting. The move puts Turan on the bench.

    Additionally, Marca reports that Godin will play instead of Dominguez and Antonio Lopez for Filipe Luis.

    Manzano has been earning our trust, but these moves confuse me.

  • Matthijs

    Thanks DJ_ZA, I will support Atleti the best I can 😉

  • Edletico

    Why did he not play Filipe, Dominguez and Turan??!!

  • Heval

    @Edletico, because hes a fool!

  • ryan

    4-0 barca, another shit performance at the nou camp from atletico- even worse than last year

  • Javi

    Bad game strategy totally changed team
    What was Manzano thinking
    We were totally afraid and lost
    Like the game against Valencia the correct changes came too late
    Bad strategy
    But barsa is in a league way above us even with Arda and Salvio starting we would have lost
    It is a two team league

  • Javi

    This is a severe psychological strike against Cortouis and the entire team
    I hope we didn’t totally loose everything we had developed

  • Heval

    Real losing to Levante and drawing Santander, Barca drawing both Valencia and Sociedad, I thought we could’ve at least put up a fight.

  • Lubo

    Don’t be so disappointed guys. It’s just one loss, maybe cruel, but just one. It’s obvious when Messi has his “standard” day, no one can challenge Barcelona.
    I’m sure we’ll bounce back in next league match and Sevilla will be destroyed.
    We have this whole exciting season ahead of us and I think this team can surprise everyone (if injuries won’t trouble us).

  • k14

    Playing Godin. might make me lose faith in Manzano
    Every single goal was godin fault for breaking the offside, except the 1 goal where he totally fucked up in another way, he just came from injury and out of sync with the others.

    Should have played Alvaro and Filipe, we needed faster players for this game, and more important, they would have worked out the offside line better.

    also, Assuncao would have been a better choice for this game instead if mario

  • 92

    Javi I agree, it was a bad strategy, we should’ve press Barca just like Valencia did, we should’ve been more concentrated, Perea’s marking was awful, he should stick with Villa at all times, Godin was shaky, the midfield was imprecise, overall it was our worst game of the season, on the other hand, let’s not forget we had the first chance in the game, Tiago’s shot hit the post, that would’ve changed the outcome of the game, what can we do,.
    It’s true that is a 2 team league or just Barca’s league, but Madrid has had an awful time last games even today, and Barca with Milan, R. Sociedad and Valencia, they’re not invincible, if we really lose the fear against Madrid and we play intelligently, we could defeat Madrid or a least make them have a hard time facing us.
    Let’s not lose our cool guys, we lost against the best team in the world, we have to look forward and try to win the next games, it’s not over yet, we’ll fight till the season is over. Aupa Atleti!

  • 7th

    rotating is good, but not every match.

    this match, he should have gone with the same four back.