The most important league match by far is yet to come and it will be played on Saturday afternoon against Atletico Madrid.
We haven’t beaten Atletico in Vicente Calderon since 2008, but the bad spell could be potentially broken in their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium (a very nice stadium btw).
Atletico haven’t started the season well, almost losing away from Girona, but managed to get a hard-fought point and keep out from losing. Their recent win vs. Bilbao away could be considered a bit lucky (Bilbao missed the penalty and what not), but still, it shows that they are a very serious side and could literally beat any team in the world right now. Not sure if the same can be said for us.
The luck factor has been a good friend of ours lately and hopefully it will continue on Saturday, as we’ll definitely need it in order to take a point or (fingers crossed) win the match, which would be a miracle.
It will definitely be a tough match and hopefully the referee will not screw it up, that is all I ask for in such big matches.
One advantage of ours is that we are not forced to think who to rest as we’ll play Maribor on mid-week CL while Atletico plays Chelsea, a very important match for them regarding group passage.
I’d personally go with this formation (my ideal formation a.k.a. our strongest possible, excluding the injured Nolito and Pizarro):
Mercado – Kjaer – Lenglet – Escudero
N’Zonzi – Banega
The only reason Mercado before Corchia vs. Atleti is that we shouldn’t be too attacking-minded in that match. Mercado provides the defensive balance that we need, while our biggest threat should come from Banega-Mudo and the left flank with Escudero and Correa. Navas will be a hidden surprise for the opponents as usual.
As for the CB, Berizzo will probably go with Pareja and Kjaer again, but that would be a mistake, since Pareja will be too slow and soft for Carrasco or Griezmann and in that case Mercado’s contribution will be nulled. They will simply attack our right side and cause havoc there, just like Liverpool. We might not get extremely lucky again, so I hope Berizzo took some important notes. If Pareja is fielded, then field Corchia to cover for speed, otherwise it doesn’t make sense, we don’t need an immensely slow right side of defense, Navas coverage is not enough.
Also God forbid fielding WBY before Muriel, that would just be a fatal mistake, since we need some power in the box, whether it is individual break-throughs or crosses or set piece heading etc., Muriel will provide all of that, while there will be no chance for WBY tap-ins, they can wait for Maribor on Tuesday night.