Friday’s Copa del Rey Round of 16 draw certainly packed a punch. Holders Barcelona will face Athletic Club, Real Madrid will go toe-to-toe with Sevilla and Real Sociedad will take on Villarreal in another battle of top-five LaLiga clubs.
Atlético Madrid were drawn with Las Palmas, a team the rojiblancos defeated 1-0 last Saturday. Thus, three of Atlético’s four competitive games between Dec. 17 and Jan. 11 will be against the Canarians. Both sides advanced to the quarterfinal stage of this competition in 2015-16; it was Las Palmas’ first appearance at that stage since 1997, and Atlético’s fourth striaght trip to the last eight.
This is an intriguing tie and one that could be thoroughly entertaining. Both teams can play wonderful football and counterattack with efficiency. Atlético will not be perturbed by Las Palmas’ deliberate possession style, setting the stage for a great tactical battle between Diego Simeone and Quique Setién. Atleti will feel somewhat fortunate not to have drawn one of Barcelona, Real Madrid or Sevilla and will fancy its chances of advancing to a fifth consecutive Copa del Rey quarterfinal.
The first leg will take place at Gran Canaria on Jan. 3, with the Vicente Calderón hosting the return leg on Jan. 10.