Copa Del Rey Preview: Atlético Madrid - Barcelona

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    FooSe
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    Copa Del Rey Preview: Atlético Madrid - Barcelona

    Post by FooSe on Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:04 pm

    What: Copa De Rey, Last 16, First Leg
    Who: Atlético Madrid vs Barcelona
    When: Wednesday 6 January, Kick-off: 20:00 CET
    Where: Vicente Calderón, Madrid

    Atlético Madrid take on Barcelona this Tuesday evening in a match that is sure to be filled with passion and determination, especially after the mauling at the Camp Nou earlier this season. On that occasion the Catalan side ran out 6-1 winners, and whilst some of the players on show will be different here, it looks set to be a thrilling encounter…

    Camp Nou Catastrophe

    It was the match that signalled Barcelona’s title credentials this season, and it was also possibly the one that wrote off any title aspirations Atlético Madrid might have had. The 6-1 annihilation in the Camp Nou was not only humiliating for the visitors, but it was also worryingly illustrative of all their problems, which until then had almost been sugar-coated. The defence was torn apart time and time again by Barcelona, and the attack, whilst it possessed quality players, could not function against a strong and determined back-line.

    It would be nice to say that since then Atlético have improved, but in reality it does not look as though they have done. They may well sit in the top six, but in their five matches against big teams, they have picked up just one point, with their latest defeat coming at the hands of Valencia last weekend. In the Mestalla they were yet again out-played and
    out-classed from the off, and against Barcelona they will need to improve dramatically if they are to get a decent lead in the first leg.

    Bullish Barcelona

    Make no mistake about it either, Atlético Madrid need a decent lead from this first leg to take to the Camp Nou, for fear of a repeat of the 6-1 scoreline. Their main hope will come from the fact that Pep Guardiola has decided to rest quite a few key players for the game tonight, but nevertheless Barcelona are in fine form. Their 3-1 victory over Real Mallorca at the weekend might not have been the most impressive, but it stretched their lead at the top of La Liga even further, and it was the first match after the winter break.

    In the capital this Tuesday the coach has decided to give a run out to some of the younger players, but the key man for Atlético is Lionel Messi. The Argentine ran the show against them earlier this season and whilst all those around him might not be world class tonight, he most certainly is. Barcelona will no doubt hope to get at Atlético from the off, just as other strong teams have done this season, and an early goal could well be a hammer blow.

    In the last round it is fair to say that neither side really excelled as Atleti scraped through against Orihuela, 1-0 on aggregate, and Barcelona beat Benidorm by two goals to nil over the two legs. However, they will both be keen to show their class in this encounter, and whilst some Atlético Madrid players have declared that revenge is not on the agenda, it would be a surprise were it not in the back of all their minds.


    FORM GUIDE

    Atlético Madrid

    Jan 3 Valencia 3-1 Atlético Madrid (La Liga)

    Dec 20 Espanyol 2-3 Atlético Madrid (La Liga)

    Dec 14 Atlético Madrid 2-0 Real Betis (La Liga)

    Dec 09 Marseille 0-0 Atlético Madrid (Champions League)

    Dec 06 Sporting Gijón 2-5 Atlético Madrid (La Liga)

    Barcelona

    Jan 3 Barcelona 3-1 Real Mallorca (La Liga)

    Dec 21 Villarreal 1-2 Barcelona (La Liga)

    Dec 13 Barcelona 2-0 Real Madrid (La Liga)

    Dec 9 Barcelona 2-3 Shakhtar Donetsk (Champions League)

    Dec 6 Barcelona 4-0 Valencia (La Liga)


    TEAM NEWS

    Atlético Madrid

    The main news from the Atlético Madrid camp is that Sergio Agüero and Antonio López are out of the match with pharyngitis, which should mean Mariano Pernía and Florent Sinama-Pongolle start.

    In midfield, Maxi Rodríguez and Maniche return to the team following their absence at the Mestalla, and in defence, Giourkas Seitaridis should be the only new name on the sheet, due to the absence of López.

    Probable Line-Up (4-4-2): Coupet – Seitaridis, Heitinga, Ujfalusi, Pernía – Maxi Rodríguez, Maniche, Assuncao, Simao – Forlán, Sinama-Pongolle

    Barcelona

    Barcelona will be without Samuel Eto’o, Xavi, Víctor Valdés and Eidur Gudjohnsen through technical decision, whilst Carles Puyol, Rafael Márquez and Aliaksandr Hleb are all out injured.

    The good news though is that Lionel Messi and Andrés Iniesta should start, and Martín Cáceres should also get a rare appearance from the beginning.

    Probable Line-Up (4-3-3): Pinto – Alves, Cáceres, Piqué, Sylvinho – Busquets, Keita, Touré – Bojan, Messi, Iniesta


    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Atlético Madrid

    Florent Sinama-Pongolle has rarely got to start this season but tonight he gets to start one of the big matches for Atlético, and he will be eager to impress. The French international came on against Valencia and looked lively down the wing, but up front he should be much more effective. His pace and skill will be a handful for the Barcelona defence, and as long as he can link up with Diego Forlán well, he could be a real threat.

    Barcelona

    No doubt about it, Lionel Messi is the man whom most Atlético Madrid fans will be dreading tonight, and with good reason. The Argentine might not have played against Real Mallorca but he will want to start his year well and against a fragile defence will fancy himself. With Iniesta and Bojan around him he should have no shortage of partners for cute passing, and he could be the game-changer this evening.


    PREDICTION

    If Atlético Madrid are to progress further in the Copa Del Rey there is no doubt that they either need to win tonight, or at worst not concede. Whether or not they will be able to do either is another matter, and Barcelona, despite fielding a weakened side, will still be strong. Roared on by a passionate home support, Atlético have looked impressive so far this season though, and they could well grab a draw, or maybe nick this one, to set up an intriguing second leg at the Camp Nou.

    Atlético Madrid 3-1 Barcelona

      Current date/time is Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:51 am