Connect with us

Interviews

Expert Interview: Who could be Atletico’s key player besides Diego Costa in the Champions League?

In anticipation of the massive Champions League ties in the Quarter-Final stage, we’ve done something special for our build-up. Eight teams, eight experts, each giving us their insight into their team’s chances, tactical set ups and bold predictions.

Billy Edwards is the expert for this piece focusing on Atletico Madrid. Billy is an Atletico supporter, whose writing can be seen at AtleticoFans.com. You can find him on twitter @billyedwards94

AtleticoChampionsLeague

Firstly, what are your thoughts on Atlético’s Champions League campaign so far?

Given we haven’t had a great deal of experience in the competition recently, so far it couldn’t have gone any better. We were a little fortunate with the group stage draw but did what we had to do, and I think being the first team to qualify really sent a message out and showed that we shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’ve also proved throughout the season that we can compete both in Europe and domestically, which has been especially pleasing.

What would your priority be, La Liga or Champions League? Especially given that Simeone doesn’t, and can’t afford to rotate his squad?

Honestly I couldn’t really decide, my mind changes every day! After the first leg in Milan I asked this very question to a few members of my supporters club whilst leaving the San Siro, and most of them said they would prefer the Champions League. Personally though, to win La Liga, “the two team league”, would be nothing short of a miracle all things considered, and I don’t think anything could top that.

Lionel Messi has an impressive scoring record against Atlético, finding the net 20 times. He’s only scored more goals in the Clasico than this fixture. So just how do you stop him?

I couldn’t say how exactly, but if we play with the same intensity we did in the Super Cup last August then it can be done. In the first leg especially of that tie he was given nothing, no space, no time to shoot, nothing. Our work-rate and discipline was incredible, and it would take that kind of performance to stop him again. It’s actually been 5 games now since Messi last scored against us, so I’m sure he’ll be keen to put that right.

MORE READING | Barcelona 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Tactical Analysis

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Barcelona: Tactical Analysis (Second Leg)

Expert Interview: How have Barcelona set-up Tactically this season?

Everyone will be focusing on Diego Costa, but who is that other man who could prove to be Atletico’s key player?

The team collective is without doubt more important for us than any individual, although if I were to single out one man it would be Gabi. He is the heart and soul of Simeone’s Atleti and has been a revelation this year, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player improve as much as he has. Obviously midfield is key against Barca, and although they will dominate possession, if we can shut them down and make things as uncomfortable as possible then we stand a good chance. Gabi is a master at this and as captain, he’ll be the example for the rest of the team to follow.

What would your starting XI for the first leg against Barcelona be?

Courtois; Juanfran, Godin, Miranda, Filipe; Koke, Gabi, Tiago, Arda; Diego Costa, Villa.

As Raúl García is suspended, the only real debate is between Tiago and Mario Suárez in midfield. Mario often saves his best performances for the big games, but I think Tiago is more suited to playing against teams like Barca and has experience at this level. I’ll trust whoever Cholo chooses though.

We attempt to track the progress of the best young players as much as time allows under our #TalentRadar and Scout Report features. Which youngster coming through from Atlético are you most excited about?

Most people know about Óliver Torres, Saúl and Manquillo, so I’ll go with somebody a little lesser established. Atleti are known for bringing through strikers, and there is an 18 year-old forward in our reserve side, Hector Hernández, who I really like. He made his first-team debut in the Copa del Rey back in December and scored just 2 minutes after coming on, and also really impressed in the UEFA Youth League. Definitely one to keep an eye on, although sadly this season he’s had a few injuries which have stopped him from playing more.

Finally, if you were to make a prediction for the tie, who do you see going through? Any particular scoreline?

I’m always cautious, but think it’ll be pretty close like in the Super Cup. This time we play the second leg at home though which may be an advantage, I’ll put my neck on the line and say a 2-1 aggregate win for Atleti.

Over to you, what are your thoughts on Atletico Madrid and their Champions League chances?

For the rest of our interviews from this series and all our other interviews, head this way.

100 to Watch

Latest

Indian Football2 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: NorthEast United 0-1 Bengaluru FC

Sauharda Karki discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished NorthEast United 0-1 Bengaluru FC Another...

Talent Radar4 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Forwards – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Talent Radar4 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Midfielders – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Talent Radar4 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Defenders – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Talent Radar4 days ago

2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 5 Young Keepers – Edition 2

Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...

Indian Football4 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 3-2 ATK

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 3-2 ATK Chennaiyin FC continued...

Indian Football4 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 0-1 Jamshedpur

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 0-1 Jamshedpur Jamshedpur FC...

Interviews5 days ago

Exclusive Interview: Gabriel Brazão, Brazil’s gentle giant and U17 World Cup star

Anderson Moura gets the chance to speak with Gabriel Brazão, Brazil’s U17 World Cup star. If you did not watch the...

Indian Football5 days ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Kerala Blasters 1-1 Mumbai City

Aravind Unnikrishnan discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Kerala Blasters 1-1 Mumbai City Kerala...

Talent Radar5 days ago

MLS 2017: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Andrew Thompson sits down and takes a look at, who in his opinion, have been the best of a bright...

Tactical Analysis6 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United | Heavy man orientation and poor spacing

Zachary Wu provides a tactical analysis of the Premier League game that finished Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United The Gunners vs...

Talent Radar7 days ago

Brasileiro 2017: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Football News 24/7  Tom Robinson compiles a list of the top 5 U-22 Players of the 2017 edition of the...

Talent Radar1 week ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #13: Calvert-Lewin, Gnabry and Harit feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football1 week ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 0-2 NorthEast United

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 0-2 NorthEast United NorthEast...

Opinions1 week ago

Copa Libertadores 2017: Classy Gremio Worthy Winners

Tom Robinson looks back at the 2017 edition of the Copa Libertadores after Gremio overcame Lanus to take home the...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #12: Naby Keita and Justin Kluivert feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Panagiotis Retsos | Greece’s newest defensive rock

Dino Marcou provides a scout report which analyses Greece’s latest defensive starlet, Panagiotis Retsos. Panagiotis Retsos falls into the list...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 4-4 Schalke 04 | An epic comeback

This is the mother of all derbies in German football, therefore the narratives that lead to this game were full...

Bengaluru FC2 weeks ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru FC 4-1 Delhi Dynamos

Sami Faizullah discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru FC 4-1 Delhi Dynamos Bengaluru...

Indian Football2 weeks ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Mumbai City FC 2-1 FC Goa

Vatsal Dani discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Mumbai City FC 2-1 FC Goa...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot