Today is D-day. The match, the rival. The duel marked in red in that League of 14 that Atlético has been playing for two weeks. Since he started it, by the way, he has only added victories (Osasuna, Celtic), leaving behind Oblak’s bloodletting (34 goals conceded already, more than ever), the haggard gesture. A League of 14 with a single objective: to get into the top four, those positions that allow us to play the next Champions League. Of course, Betis is looking for the same (follow the match live on As.com).
With 46 points and 3rd, Pellegrini’s men face him. With 45 and 5th, those of Cholo. And embracing the result of the first round like Gollum to the ring: “My treasure“. The rojiblancos won 3-0. And the goal average in the League of 14 with so many rivals for the same thing is like a victory. Two Champions positions (Madrid and Seville already occupy 1st and 2nd with solvency and difference).
Betis arrives with many casualties but the encouragement fired after reaching the Cup final three days ago. Canales, the great creative leader, is out due to suspension. Pellegrini also has problems on the wings with injuries to Bellerín, Moreno and Miranda. Ruibal could cover the right flank and Sabaly the left despite his right-handed profile. There is multiplied confidence in Pellegrini and his search for solutions. Fekir will play. Borja Iglesias aims to be the ‘9’.
strap and change
There is also confidence in Cholo, in his new Atleti where the deserving have prevailed over the names. Herrera, Lodi, Vrsaljko, according to the tests, remain, the wings fly, the midfield creates, holds. But in his eleven type, the one that Cholo found in Pamplona, two forced casualties: Kondogbia, injury, and Savic, injury, sanction. Koke is not yet recovered either. The spotlights on De Paul, residual from the moment when he was a signing called to be key, a Cholo of the 21st century, and Felipe, on the day of proving that they deserve. With 17 on the list, Simeone could today add Marco Moreno, central to B, in case Giménez, limping, doesn’t. His changes, the resources on his bench, are scary: Griezmann, Lemar, Carrasco, Suárez…
At the top, with João, the one who almost a year ago left Villamarín in tearsafter two clear missed chances, the leader’s mattress losing fluffy day by day, with Cholo’s hug as consolation. It was Strap. And that image was hinge. After Villamarín it emerged as the Phoenix Bird and, since then, it flies and flies. His merits have made him a name. He is the man: key in the League title (his goal in Valladolid), top scorer is 21-22 (12). And this game, tonight, on this stage, a pending account. And also marked in red.