That stone called Ciutat

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And now the Ciutat (follow the game live on As.com). It doesn’t matter when Simeone reads that. At the beginning of the season, in the middle or at the end. It will always put a lump in your throat. The Ciutat de València. His particular ‘curse’. Levante, that mountain-size china that always slips into the Argentine coach’s shoe. And it crosses Leagues. Because it is not only last season, those two games in a row against Levante, one because it was playing and the other because of the postponement in September, that Atlético drew and lost, followed, and began to lose that fluffy mattress on which he rested high. It is that 2015-2016 that reached the penultimate day fighting the title with Barça and Madrid and the Ciutat dropped it from the fight.

Because if the Levante chokes in general, the Ciutat drowns. Directly. Simeone has only won there once. A 0-5 in 2017-18 that is like an oasis. Because there is another victory, yes, from Atleti al Levante at home, in 2020, but it has an asterisk: it was played in La Nucía for the works in the granota field. I mean, yes, but no. Simeone will travel today with that feeling in his shoe. This china, that stone, the Levante, so much bitter memory.

Pereira and Simeone’s plans

An Atleti that this year has turned: stronger outside than at home. He has won four of the five games played. Only once did he lose, to an Alavés who was bottom. Levante does not receive him with his best gesture. Sunk down, no win yet (hasn’t won since May, in fact), change of coach. Pereira has two games. And that will be your main weapon tonight to assault the Cholo. That he hardly knows him. That there is hardly background. If against Sevilla he repeated eleven, against Atleti he prepares a defense of three (Rober Pier, Duarte and Vezo). It is due to physical and casualties. It needs to rotate. Missing Mustafi, Postigo, Campaña, Roger and Melero. Soldier arrives but very fair: he will not be the starter. The one who will be is Morales. A Morales who scored two goals against Sevilla last day, which of the nine from Levante in total, four are his.

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In front you will see Simeone wielding his trident. Suárez, João and Grizi back in attack. He has them, he puts them on. The Portuguese is exalted. Like Lemar. But the last one will be missing from Cholo, injured. Nor does it have Llorente and Kondogbia (blow). But what the champion does not lack in this 21-22 is a deep closet. They are not there; yes Herrera, will play. If Carrasco does it where Lemar, back will play defense of four. Atleti needs to jump to the start game and not to see themselves behind.

You need to equate your trident to what you always had. Solidity. For this Savic is already back, although not yet to be a starter. For this the Cholo has his own Commander. Gimenez. He will try to stop the Pereira at all times. And make grit out of that china. The Ciutat, the fearsome Ciutat.

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