Jornada 7: Barcelona v Atlético Madrid
Posted by atleti on October 5, 2007
I’m not one to write detailed previews, but I like to make exceptions for certain fixtures, such as the Madrid derbi and games against Barcelona (a derbi in its own way). Since our return to top flight football, we have been a sort of bogey team for Barcelona, frustrating them at home and even winning at Camp Nou twice. The difference this season than previous ones is that we no longer have Torres. El Niño had an impressive goal-scoring record against Barcelona– some truly memorable goals, it must be said.
Do we have what it takes to frustrate them with our new squad? I think so. Now, don’t get me wrong, despite our current winning streak and our good record at Camp Nou, this is still a very complicated fixture: Barcelona are a powerhouse and their record speaks for itself. That said, I respect Barcelona, but I do not fear them.
Their injury list, at the moment, is long and composed of key players: Eto’o, Zambrotta, Yaya Toure, Marquez, Edmilson, et al. Despite the rearranging Rijkaard will have to do (eg Puyol & Milito paired up in the back), I think this is an opportunity for los rojiblancos to exploit these defensive absenses. We’ve been looking incredibly threatening attack-wise, creating opportunities & scoring a variety of impressive goals, from long-range gooolazos to short-distance shots & headers.
Our main concern should be our defensive performance. Although we have an impeccable record of clean sheets entering this Jornada, defence is always an area that I’ve felt we need to beef up. For this game especially, it’s incredibly important that the back-line remain focused & aware of their surroundings. Messi, Henry, and Ronaldinho will always pose a threat.
It’s unclear who Aguirre will choose at this point. Normally, he would use Pablo-Perea. With Perea out, Aguirre has two options: Ze Castro and Eller, both of whom have their weaknesses and strengths. In terms of left-backs, I expect Aguirre to choose Pernia over Antonio Lopez. As far as right-back position is occurred, Seitaridis is fit, so I don’t doubt he’ll be chosen. Although Leo Franco is deemed fit for the game, I hope that Aguirre chooses Abbiati.
Luis Garcia and Simao are prepared to face their ex-club and what a fantastic time to be facing them! Luis Garcia is in fantastic form and Simao, with each performance, continues to show signs of incredible technical ability & creativity. He still hasn’t shown us all that he has to offer– as I mentioned before, he still needs to find his ‘niche’. This is the sort of fixture I expect both players to go above & beyond, to prove how far they’ve come since their days at Camp Nou.
Messi v Aguero (or, Messi < Aguero?)
Good friends. Both tied for Pichichi at the moment. It adds another interesting angle to this fixture. KUN KUN KUN!
I expect him to remain benched for this game. From what I’ve seen, he still hasn’t given Aguirre any reason to include him in the starting 11. I hope that his appearances as sub improve so that he can regain his top spot. That position will be handed to Reyes.
Maniche was rested in mid-week and will return to play alongside the always impressive Raul Garcia– a proven key player in midfield who isn’t afraid of taking a shot at goal from long distance.
CHOSEN SQUAD [UPDATE]:
Abbiati; Seitaridis; Pablo; Zé Castro; Pernía; Maniche; Raúl García; Simao; Reyes; Agüero; Forlán
SUBS: Falcón; Eller Antonio López; Cléber; Luis García; Maxi; Jurado
AGUIRRE PRE-GAME INTERVIEW [UPDATE]:
“It would be a lie if I said we [don't enter this game in good form], but they are also strong. Barcelona have demonstrated, in the Champions League as well as Liga, that it’s very difficult to win at Camp Nou. Hopefully it’ll be a good game; one that will give the people something to celebrate…
In closing, here are some excerpts from Luis’ recent interview.
On the possibility of a rojiblanco victory:
“I think it’s going to be an interesting game[...] I’m confident that my club will win. Barcelona are a complicated club and we should not make any mistakes and remain concentrated in not conceding any goal.
“They have a great squad, with plenty of talent and any player can complicate [the game for us.] [We must] be wary of all the players. Ronaldinho is a great player…
In terms of us, he said that we are working well as a team and that we are creating many goal-scoring opportunities. Evidence: In our last 5 games, we have scored 17 goals, thanks to Kun, Forlan, Raul Garcia, et al.
VAMOS VAMOS VAMOS