Atlético de Madrid

The love that hurts.

  • About Me

    26 year old in New York; Passionate fan of the beautiful game; lover of Argentina (los Albicelestes); long-suffering, devoted supporter of Atlético Madrid (los Rojiblancos) for the past 13 years.
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Archive for the ‘Mariano Pernia’ Category

Jornada 19: Atlético de Madrid 1 Valencia 0

Posted by atleti on January 13, 2008

Los Colchoneros climb to #3 after another bizarre night at el Vicente Calderón– the final minutes were unbearable! Pure suffering.

Agüero scored the only goal thanks to a shocking error by Valencia goalkeeper Hildebrand.

Abbiati; Perea, Pablo, Eller, Antonio López; Raúl García, Cléber Santana, Maxi (Luis García 91’), Simão; Forlán (Reyes 71’) and Kun Agüero (Valera 93’)

Truth be told, it was another odd game: we went up before half-time as the better side, but allowed Valencia to dominate play in the second half (with Joaquín & Silva causing the most havoc). We played far too much in our own end — up until the dying minutes. Not to mention losing possession in the midfield all too frequently.

SERGIO at La Grada Blog makes a few points that I most definitely agree with: with the exception of Raúl & Agüero, the overall play & attitude of the team leaves much to be desired. That’s not to say that the team (as a whole) doesn’t play well. We’ve all seen them play great football with quick touches and fantastic combinations. It’s just disconcerting that they don’t MAINTAIN that same level of play for the ENTIRE 90 minutes…particularly when they score first.

Switching gears a bit…the sooner Cléber returns to the bench (or, leaves altogether), the better. He is NOT starting 11 quality. Hell, he’s not Liga quality. It’s an absolute shame that a class player such as Raúl has him for a midfield partner. Speaking of which, Raúl has been playing practically non-stop for us. Incredible talent, but I’d hate to see him burn out before the end of the season– or worse, suffer an injury. It’s driving me insane that Jurado is re-injured and Maniche had to act like a dick and get himself banished from the club. Our options are so slim at this point.

Defence looked good, for the most part. Antonio, I think, has proven that he deserves a regular starting 11 spot instead of Pernía. It’s good to see him receiving more minutes of play and proving that it was a tactical error to keep him benched during the early part of the season.

The thing that pissed me off was the substitution of Forlán for Reyes. What the hell? Did anyone else notice Forlán’s reaction? I was watching the game at a bar, so I couldn’t hear what the commentators had to say about it, but he looked rather peeved. Pernía had to settle him down a bit at the bench, it seemed. When I came home, I didn’t notice any online headlines about the outburst. Anyway, I completely understand and sympathise with Forlán, if that was the case. It seemed like an idiotic, risky tactical move by Aguirre, removing the Uruguayo when we’re only 1 up for rubbish Reyes. WHY DOES HE CONTINUE TO USE REYES INSTEAD OF LUIS OR MIGUEL? I will never understand this at all. He got the substitutions all wrong, again, but thankfully it didn’t cost us. A better manager wouldn’t make the sort of decisions that Aguirre makes on a weekly basis.

Aggravations aside (it’s been a day of mixed emotions, as usual), I’m very happy we collected 3 points today. 3 points AND we’re in #3 Champions spot. I’m loving it…suffering, but loving it.

If we play this way against Re*l, we won’t stand a chance.

Here’s our next 6 fixtures:
16-Jan: away to Valladolid (COPA)
20- Jan: at home, MADRID DERBI (LIGA)
27-Jan: away to Mallorca (LIGA)
3-Feb: home to Murcia (LIGA)
10-Feb: away to Racing (LIGA)
13-Feb: away to Bolton (UEFA)

Anything missing?

(Check out all comments on the game in the previous entry, if you haven’t already- lots of good thoughts on it.)

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero | 26 Comments »

Jornada 14: Real Betis 0 Atlético de Madrid 2

Posted by atleti on December 2, 2007

Two goal-scorers, Raul & Forlán. Crucial win lifts Los Colchoneros to Champions.

Thoroughly deserved victory. It was a game that we dominated from start to finish, although the 2nd half was brutal. And by ‘brutal’ I mean downright ugly. In other words, we invited unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Nevertheless, we remained focused enough to secure the victory. Raul’s goal was icing on the cake.

STARTING 11: Leo Franco (Abbiati, 86´); Antonio López; Pablo; Eller; Pernía; Raúl García; Maniche; Maxi Rodríguez; Reyes (Simao, 62’); Agüero (Motta, 69’); Forlán

33′ Forlán
92′ Raúl García

Real Betis are a limited, woeful team with very little quality & practically no creativity. There were only three maybe four occasions where I felt they had an opportunity to equalise. Those occasions aside, Betis did not look like they were going to get anything out of the game.


Leo Franco had an incredibly good game, making a double save against Betis’ only real attack in the entire game. It’s unfortunate that he was subbed out with an injury. More on that if it is severe.

Pernía played surprisingly well as left-back, I thought. He made a few unnecessary mistakes, but overall, it was a decent display by the Argentine.

Pablo had a solid performance, although I thought that his yellow card could have easily been a red card had it been a harsher ref. Either way, this means he will serve a suspension for our next game, home to Getafe.

Eller. I’d never thought I’d say this, but the Brasilian actually had a good  game. It was far from sparkling, but it was efficient and not as sloppy as his previous performances.

Antonio López played as right-back and struggled in the 1st half– the Spaniard truly had a difficult time controlling play at that end- in fact, many of Betis’ runs came from the right. He redeemed himself in the 2nd half with an improved, composed performance. Far from perfect, but efficient, for the most part.

Maniche & Raúl García controlled that central midfield area. Class performances by both midfielders, particularly Raúl, our most consistent player. It was great to see him add another goal to his tally. Easily my favourite new signing.

Reyes. Hm. Leivinha wrote a little critique of him in the below entry. I found that the ex-Sevilla midfielder was very industrious in the first half & was unfortunate to be targetted by many of the Betis players. The Spanish commentator on GolTV rightly pointed out that there seems to be a rift between Reyes & Forlan as Reyes tends to waste great attacking opportunities by shooting at goal from long distances.  I can’t blame the Uruguayo if he is indeed frustrated with Reyes being wasteful.

I found that Reyes disappeared in the 2nd half & was deservedly subbed out. I agree with Leivinha in that he has a foul attitude when he is replaced. He had this sarcastic smirk on his face.

I would have preferred Simao to start than Reyes. Not only does he have great technical ability & vision, but the Portuguese midfielder is a ‘team player’.

Maxi had a fairly good game, although he disappeared for moments at a time. At the end of the day, his presence on the pitch adds a certain amount of balance into our game.

Forlán. As far as I’m concerned, he did his job– scored the opening goal with absolute class. Did anyone feel that he disappeared for long spells of the game? I honestly don’t mind, as long as he reappears for goal-scoring opportunities. Good game for the Uruguasho.

Kun- I cringed a bit when Aguirre subbed him out for Motta;  it seemed risky & far too defensive a change at that point. Remember what happened when we played against Murcia? Aguirre subbed out Kun for a defensive player when we were winning 0-1…it, unfortunately, ended as a draw.

I suppose the decision to sub him out wasn’t entirely bad: I continue to remind myself that Kun has been playing practically non-stop since the summer. He’s a professional, but still a young guy and that amount of playing does take its toll out on a player.

Motta was, again, quite impressive. It’s wonderful to have him back & fully fit. With Pablo out with suspension next week, he will surely receive more playing time.

Aguirre didn’t want to comment on Motta’s performance against Aberdeen, but he has broken the silence in his post-game interview tonight: he has praised Motta for adding much needed ‘security’ to the side.

Simao. He didn’t have much time to make his mark in the game, but whenever he is on the pitch, he always tries his best & is always a threat to the opposition.

All in all, I’m thrilled with the win and the fact that we are back in Champions contention. It is also great that the Barcelona derby ended as a draw; that Villarreal lost to Valladolid; and that woeful Valencia lost to Athletic Bilbao!

Next three games:
5-December: away to FC Copenhagen (UEFA)
9-December: home to Getafe (Liga)
12-December: away to Granada (Copa del Rey)



Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Leo Franco, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 11 Comments »

More Venting on the Defence

Posted by atleti on November 5, 2007

The day after Jornada 11 and I’m still a bit shell-shocked over the loss. In retrospect, the same result could have occurred to us against Sevilla. We were fortunate then to have the result go our way, considering we defended in the same suicidal manner.

Aguirre, Jurado, Pablo have all come out to express their opinions of the game and all of them basically echo the same thing: that we need to defend better. When asked about the defensive problems, Aguirre said, “We need to work on them. We go forward, which leaves us very open.” And, of course, he mentioned we lacked ‘balance’ and ‘organisation’ as we are now a very attack-minded team this season.

Meanwhile, midfielder Jurado said  that ‘defending is the job of everyone’, from the goalkeeper to the main striker. I don’t agree with this entirely. I believe the job, first and foremost, falls on the defenders (obviously!). When the defenders are confident and protecting the team in the back, our attacking players can move forward without worrying about rushing back to defend. As Aguirre mentioned, we need to achieve a balance.

At the same time, we simply do not have the quality in the back-line, so  changes ( at least two) MUST be made this January.

Let’s be honest: all of our defenders have had more bad days than good days.

Leo Franco (shaky, adds to our defensive worries; doesn’t instill any sense of confidence)
Abbiati (not good enough to play in Liga week in & week out)
Falcon (inexperienced keeper from the B team)

Ze Castro

All unreliable; I’d get rid of all of them. Realistically, that won’t (& can’t) happen. I still think we should offload at least two of them in January. Which you ask? Does it honestly matter? They’re all horrendous.


I can’t put any fault on Valera– he hasn’t played at all (well, a little bit) since returning from injury. He still deserves an opportunity to prove his worth. Seitaridis– sometimes he’s fairly solid, other times I cringe when he’s in a one-on-one situation.

Antonio Lopez

Dreadful. No further comments.

Shout-out: Armon (blog commentator) hit it on the head: our defence is sabotaging us. If we don’t secure a Champions League spot, we are at risk of losing our best players in the summer (Kun, in particular).

At the end of the day, we still have plenty of games up for grabs. It’s just frustrating because we SHOULD have won this game. Hell, I would’ve have been OK with a point. I would have been disappointed, but something is better than nothing.

OK, enough venting from me.

Monday Training Notes
Everyone except Raul (who fractured a bone in his nose) participated in today’s ‘relaxed’ training session. Of note, two of our Atleti B players participated with the top team: strikers Batres & Senel. Both Spaniards have been in good form with the B squad.

Motta & Mista worked with the physical therapist in the gym. Please, please, please, MOTTA come back from injury already! WE NEED YOU!

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Giorgios Seitaridis, Javier Aguirre, Juan Valera, Jurado, Leo Franco, Luis Perea, Mariano Pernia, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Thiago Motta, Ze Castro | 14 Comments »

Jornada 11: Atlético de Madrid 3 Villarreal 4

Posted by atleti on November 4, 2007

I’m absolutely disgusted, stunned, and embarrassed by this loss. Our defence destroyed the hard work of our attack each and every time we took the lead. Who, specifically, was at fault? Leo Franco, Perea, Pablo, and Pernia. ESPECIALLY Leo Franco and Perea. Suicidal defending, lacking confidence & losing focus too often.

Day1star mentioned (in the below entry) that we need defensive midfielders– a very good point. I say the sooner we get Motta back from injury the better. At this point, we’re leaking far too many goals. We play several more games before January– all must-win fixtures– and we simply can’t afford to concede these sloppy goals.

Our priority in January should be to repair the defence. No more attacking players, for the love of God– we are perfectly OK in the goal-scoring department.

Not to go without blame: ATROCIOUS penalty miss by Maxi. I expect much better from our captain. Simply unacceptable. I dare say that was the turning point. We are now left to wonder what would have happened had he did score it.

09′ Pablo (fantastic interplay between Simao-Pernia-Pablo)
24′ Simao (Brilliant strike, absolute golazo!)
30′ Rossi (due to Rossi outpacing Pablo & Perea)
41′ Fuentes (slopping play by Leo Franco, putting Raul in a difficult position)
61′ Agüero (great game for the little Argentine)
69′ Nihat (the fault of Perea)
89′ Nihat (no one was marking Nihat AT ALL)


Leo Franco; Seitaridis; Perea; Pablo; Pernía; Raúl García; Maniche; Reyes (76′ Luis Garcia); Simao (76′ Jurado); Maxi; Agüero

Why did Aguirre wait so long to make substitutions? Why did he remove Simao, who was having a brilliant game, instead of Maxi?

The Positives
It’s difficult to NOT end in a negative note because of the manner in which we lost. That said, great game for Simao & Kun. Easily our best players on the pitch. Simao terrorised the left side of the pitch during the 1st half and continued to impress in the 2nd half. He was absolutely lethal with free kicks & corners AND  he worked quite well with kun.

Next Up:  Home to newly-promoted Valladolid. MUST WIN.


Posted in Atletico Madrid, Leo Franco, Luis Perea, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 27 Comments »

Jornada 10: Atlético de Madrid 4 Sevilla 3

Posted by atleti on October 31, 2007

Atlético climb to 4th in the league table after scoring four brilliant goals!

Leo Franco; Seitaridis, Perea, Zé Castro, Pernía; Raúl García, Maniche, Maxi (Jurado, 88’), Luis García (Simão, 58’); Kun Agüero; Forlán (Reyes, 23’)

FORLAN was subbed out in the 23′ with an injury. More on that if it is severe.

01′ Maniche (assist by Maxi)
14′ Fabiano (result of a free kick)
16′ Agüero (assist by Forlán)
44’Zé Castro (disastrous og)
69′ Maxi Rodríguez (assist by Agüero)
90′ Jurado (assist by Simão)
92’Fabiano (absolute loss of concentration)

ATLETI: 9 shots, 8 on goal.
SEVILLA: 11 shots, 3 on goal.


Words cannot describe how good I feel at this moment. Not only does the win put us in a Champions League spot (with two points separating us from Valencia), but we are only 5 points away from the top.

Of course, it wasn’t complete bliss: it was another tale of two Atléticos. On one hand, our attack fills me such hope, pride, & happiness. Indeed, we are in incredible goal-scoring form. We have speed, technical ability, and, more importantly, OPTIONS on the bench to reinforce our offence (although we do lack a fit 3rd striker). KUN & Forlán are undoubtedly the best strike force in Liga at the moment. Fantastic game for Maxi, in particular, too.

On the other hand, our defence is still incredibly unreliable, costing us goals. Zé Castro had a disastrous performance, for the most part: not only did he score an own goal, but he also lost possession in dangerous areas. He is not the only one at fault either– we conceded unnecessary free kicks, one of which led to Sevilla’s first goal. Pernía, Seitaridis, Leo Franco, and Perea— all incredibly shaky– you never know when they’re going to have a [relatively] good day or an absolute shocker. There is no sense of security. What’s the good of having the best attack in Liga when we’re leaking goals with suicidal defending?

This is the paradox of Atleti.

At the end of the day, I’m absolutely thrilled that we secured another crucial win.

Next up: home to VILLARREAL.


Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Jurado, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Ze Castro | 10 Comments »

Jornada 9: Levante v Atlético de Madrid

Posted by atleti on October 26, 2007

We face a very woeful Levante with 1 measily point– a game we should absolutely win (no ifs, ands, or buts). Anything less than a win would be a massive disappointment. At the same time, I wouldn’t underestimate them: Levante are desperate (ravenous, even) for 3 points. We can’t let our guard down for this encounter at all.

Brief, Random, Unstructured Notes

Reyes, Zé Castro, Motta (hell froze over?), Miguel, & Valera were all fit to participate in today’s (Friday) training session. [NB: Seitaridis and Mista are still unavailable.]

When I read that Mista was still injured, it made me wonder if Batres would occupy a spot on the bench again, to fill the role of 3rd striker. [I’d support that decision wholeheartedly- I like to see canteranos given an opportunity to play with the top team. That’s how we found Torres, after all.]

With Seitaridis out injured, it might be a good idea to start Valera as left-back (instead of Antonio)– he had a restful time in Madrid while the team traveled to Moscow.

Oddly, there’s no mention of Perea at all in the article. I guess we’ll have to wait until the squad list is released to see if he’ll be available. If Motta is deemed fit enough, I think he should occupy a spot on the bench. It’s time to get him back in action, for goodness sake.

Luis, Maxi, and Reyes (if 100% fit) should be included in the starting 11.

I’ll post up the confirmed 11 once it’s available, of course.

Also: Check out the below entry to see names of possible centre-backs that might interest the higher-ups.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Giorgios Seitaridis, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Juan Valera, Luis Garcia, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Miguel de las Cuevas, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta, Ze Castro | 2 Comments »

Jornada 8: Atlético de Madrid 4 Real Zaragoza 0

Posted by atleti on October 21, 2007

Atlético light up el Vicente Calderón with a goalfest!
[Great photo, no?]

I followed the game via live text on El Mundo and Internet radio because it was unavailable on TV. Even though I didn’t watch it with my own eyes, it was a very exciting game to follow. We came back from international break with passion & hunger to return to our high goal-scoring winning form. On that note, that is one of the many differences from 06/07 to this season: this season, we have goal-scorers and contributors throughout the field.

Stand Out Performances (in no particular order): Luis, Raul, Forlan, Perea (I hope he didn’t pick up a severe injury), Pernia, Kun (unfortunate not to have scored), Maxi (excellent to hear him involved in attacks & scoring goals!)

Leo Franco; Perea (70′ Valera); Pablo; Antonio López; Zé Castro; Maniche (76′ Cleber); Raúl García; Maxi; Luis García; Agüero; Forlán (65′ Jurado)

10′ Luis García (assist by Forlan)
33′ Forlán (assist by Maxi) goolazzoo
63′ Maxi (penalty)
90’Maxi (assist by Luis, but a tremendous effort by Cleber that led to the goal)


Brief 1st Half Notes
*Tremendous display by Luis. Based on it, there is absolutely no reason why he should be benched in future Liga games. He was far more effective & potent in attacks than Simao(who was benched after suffering a bit of an injury during international duty) and especially Reyes.

*There were quite a few impressive strings of attacks involving Forlán and Kun. Once we settled down, we looked comfortable & threatening in attack, hence the two goals scored in the 1st half; the 2nd one was an absolute golazo by Forlán.

*Leo Franco made two clear saves to keep us ahead before HT.

Brief 2nd Half Notes
*Good 2nd half appearances by Cleber & Valera (it was great to hear Valera back in action; confidence booster after such a long spell out; he even made a few runs forward)

*We enjoyed quite a few moments of brilliant attacks and should have been 0-5

*[Curiosity: many supporters were chanting Luis Aragonés name in the stadium (Atleti legend).]

OVERALL, Zaragoza didn’t play as poorly as the scoreline might suggest: they had their share of possession, created some strings of passes, & threatened at goal quite a few times. They simply could not make the most out of those opportunities. We, on the other hand, put away our chances– and quite well, too!

Today is a day we should all be happy because we were against a great rival and what we saw was a great Atleti win and play beautiful football.

The team is working very well and it shows that we have improved. What I really like is that the team have shown that the result at the Camp Nou was an accident. We’ve created a great form of play. At the same time,  we are realistic in the fact that we are in 6th place. In addition, there many tired players- it was noticeable. [We had commitment, however.] This makes me optimistic when thinking about the three competitions that we will be playing this season (Liga, Copa, and UEFA).

NEXT UP… away to Locomotiv Moscow on Thursday (UEFA) and away to woeful Levante on the weekend!


Posted in Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Javier Aguirre, Juan Valera, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa | 3 Comments »

International Break Wrap-Up

Posted by atleti on October 17, 2007

Finally! Liga returns this weekend! More on the next Jornada soon, but for now here’s some wrap-up:

*Maniche played 59 minutes for Portugal against Kazakhstan while Simao remained sidelined with an injury. Here’s hoping he is fully fit for Sunday.

*Seitaridis played a full 90 for Greece in their EURO qualifier against arch rival Turkey. Ah, I found out why Seitaridis didn’t play in Greece’s game against Bosnia: he was serving a suspension.

*Pablo and Pernia played a full 90 for Spain in a truly meaningless friendly against Finland. Ridiculous. What a terrible time to schedule a friendly.

*As mentioned in the comment section below, Maxi and Kun didn’t play at all for Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Venezuela.

*Forlan played the full 90 for Uruguay in a frustrating away loss to Paraguay– World Cup qualifier.

Injury News
was fit enough to be included in the most recent training session. Hopefully he’ll be fully fit to play this Sunday- a few reports suggest he will be, which is good.

Mista and Miguel trained in a specialised session separate from the group.

Motta was the only player that didn’t train at all.

AS claims that we’re keeping our eyes on Anderlecht’s 22 year old Argentine midfielder, Lucas Biglia. He played alongside Messi during the 2005 World Youth Championship & played with Agüero in Argentine club Independiente. He says he’s ‘happy’ in Belgium, but wouldn’t rule out a move to another league. I confess I don’t know anything about the player, but at this point it’s still very much a rumour. AS basically claim he could be a possible solution to our lack of a playmaker and that– while unconfirmed– Atleti are keeping tabs on him. The article also brings into question, very briefly, the future of Cleber (he hasn’t debuted in Liga at all, which says a lot) and the future of Motta (who only signed a 1 year deal with the club). Both are central midfielders who haven’t played important roles in our campaign thus far.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Giorgios Seitaridis, Luis Perea, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Miguel de las Cuevas, Pablo Ibanez, Rumours, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 6 Comments »

Duty Calls! International Duty, that is.

Posted by atleti on October 7, 2007

[EURO and World Cup Qualifier games = 13th & 17th.]

SPAIN (EURO): Pernía and Pablo.

U21 SPAIN: Raul and Jurado.

URUGUAY (World Cup Qualifiers): Forlan.

GREECE (EURO): Seitaridis.

ARGENTINA (World Cup Qualifiers): Maxi and Kun.

PORTUGAL (EURO): Simao and Maniche

The international break comes at a good time. For one, Motta, Leo Franco, and possibly Mista should be available by Jornada 8. Ze Castro might need at least 2-3 weeks out with his current injury (sprain in his ankle). No word on Perea returning any time soon. Same with Miguel. I have a feeling we could be seeing Valera back in action after the international break- hopefully by the end of October.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Giorgios Seitaridis, Juan Valera, Jurado, Leo Franco, Luis Perea, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Miguel de las Cuevas, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 2 Comments »

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.

Abbiati; Seitaridis; Pablo; Zé Castro; Pernía; Maniche; Raúl García; Simao; Reyes; Agüero; Forlán

SUBS: Falcón; Eller Antonio López; Cléber; Luis García; Maxi; Jurado

“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.

On Barcelona:
“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.



Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Christian Abbiati, Fernando Torres, Javier Aguirre, Leo Franco, Luis Garcia, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Ze Castro | 22 Comments »