COPA DEL REY | ATLËTICO - BARÇA
The Vicente Calderón against Messi
Atlético Madrid, play tonight with Fernando Torres and Griezmann but without Koke, against a Barça side on a great run after their defeat at Anoeta.
Just when it seemed a hurricane would wreak havoc at Barça, Messi decided to start playing and now a gentle breeze blows in their favor. This is something for geniuses. Sometimes there is no way to work them out but their end product is unquestionable. The poor showing at Anoeta was the beginning of the end of a stage and so it appears. The major surprise is that this new era is surprisingly better: 6 games played and 6 consecutive wins (two against Atleti), 23 goals for and just one against. Against this incredible form is it possible that Atleti can turn the tie around in their favor ? Fear? Look for it some other place bit not at the Calderon..
Simeone has overseen 18 two legged ties since he came to rescue Atleti. He has won 16 of these and the two defeats were those games where the team needed to turn the tie around in the return leg: 0-2 against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League during the 2012-13 season and a 3-0 against Real Madrid in last season’s edition of the Copa del Rey. In his first comeback during his regime, the team had an extra player: the Calderón.
Initially the poor state of the Caldeón pitch at present will hurt the home side more, a team which won’t included Koke or Tiago. Arda is however able to control a ball on any surface and Griezmann is playing some of the best football of his career. Raúl García and Torres, the forward option in big games will put some aerial muscle into the team’s game. Dead ball situations are their manna and there is always Mandzukic in case of emergency.