The red and white aftermath: Match Day 30

Atleti draw for second week in a row as they finish with nine men in Getafe

Filipe Luis against Getafe

Humdrum finish in Getafe for Atleti in scoreless draw
(clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Atlético managed to take home a point despite finishing with nine players on the field in Getafe on Sunday.

The scoreless bout will lend a lot of credence to the theory that there’s a lack of motivation in Rojiblanco land.

There was always going to be some concern about Atleti’s ability to create chances coming into the encounter given midfield maestro Arda Turan’s unavailability through injury.

Diego Simeone’s charges came out of the gates punching though — looking especially dangerous on the counter in the first half — but they ended up lamenting their early missed opportunities.

Shortly after the break, Atlético began to run out of steam. Los Colchoneros were still in command however, and looked the likelier side to pull off the result.

Starlet Óliver Torres’ entry offered some promise, but Mario Suárez’ second yellow for a very silly hand ball with 20 minutes remaining cost us dearly–sapping us of the dwindling hope we had of running away with a victory.

In the end, we truly were fortunate to have come away with anything at all from this insipid fixture.

One statistic that went under the radar after this clash is that Atleti haven’t allowed a single goal in their last five league exits.

That, along with Thibaut Courtois’ excellent performance against los Azulones, was among the very few positives worth taking from this game.

We remain well on track to qualify for Champions League in spite of our decline in recent weeks, though fourth-place Real Sociedad moved to within 11 points of our direct berth spot.

Next week, we host relegation-threatened Granada at the Vicente Calderón, where we haven’t won since late February.

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone wary of opponents having figured out his squad

“In the first half there were passages of the game in which, had we been sharper, we’d have had more options [to win],” Atleti coach Diego Simeone told the press after the tie.

“The team was committed and kept it up until Mario was dismissed. The guys are making a great effort. They have put together a spectacular season and they must keep responding in the remaining eight fixtures.”

After consecutive weekends in which his squad were unable to bag the three points in dispute, Simeone preferred to focus on the bright side.

“I think we can look at it from the perspective of having 60-plus points,” he said.

“The season is long and opponents are beginning to figure us out and are finding solutions. We won in Pamplona, tied against Valencia and here. We would like to continue improving and it’s true we haven’t been as solid as we had been.”

With regard to the two red cards, ‘El Cholo’ said: “It’s a game and sometimes there are situations in which adrenaline and the intensity of the match result in a yellow.

“We’ll try to correct it.”

Courtois ever closer to Zamora trophy

A splendid four-save showing by Thibaut Courtois took the young goalkeeping phenom’s clean sheet total up to 16 in league play this season, a figure that had not been achieved by an Atleti ‘keeper since the 1995/96 campaign–when José Francisco Molina reached 17 en route to the Liga title.

The shutout was Courtois’ 20th overall in the present term, and the Belgian remains the lead candidate for the Zamora Trophy.

Óliver handed a career-high 30 minutes in Primera

This affair will be one of the most forgetful ones of recent years, but if it is to be recalled at some point, it will be remembered as “that game Óliver played in again”.

The Rojiblanco faithful’s biggest gripe with Cholo all season long has been his reluctance to offer Óliver any meaningful playing time. The Argentine tactician finally caved in to the pressure at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez, bringing on the Spain youth international with about half an hour left on the clock.

“I leave happy with the minutes that Óliver played that gave us a spike in quality,” Simeone said.

“Then, we were left with one less and he couldn’t continue progressing in the game. It was a very good appearance.”

The gifted youngster shared his experience with reporters in the mixed zone.

“Participating with the first team is always reason to be happy,” he said. “I have to thank [Simeone] for trusting in me.”

The 18-year-old playmaker failed to pull the trigger inside the penalty box when he was presented with a golden opportunity to score.

“It was a shame,” he said. “I saw that I had a close chance but in the end the defender was able to just poke it out and took the ball away from me.”

‘Oli’s’ small size has been cited as his chief impediment, but apparently the club is taking measures to address the issue.

“We’re trying to build up my body to compete at the highest level,” the midfielder admitted.

“I’ve always been happy at Atlético Madrid and every day more so,” he said.

“Every day that I’m at the Cerro [training facilities] the fans offer me affection, and that’s something I need,” he concluded.

“Óliver is the future of Atlético Madrid. He has it all: quality, humility and the affection of the fans and of the dressing room. Hopefully he’ll be here for many years.” – Filipe Luís

A tiger in need of some grooming

Increasingly facing more criticism from the fans and the media, Radamel Falcao was unable to capitalise on two clear chances from his total of five shots on Sunday.

It wasn’t even a good hair day for our tiger, as his characteristically shampoo-commercial-worthy locks were severely unkempt. The Colombian’s body and follicle language seemed to indicate he’s going through some rough times and having a little trouble getting his beauty sleep of late.

The father-to-be even responded to a dig on Twitter Saturday night, when an individual who identifies himself as an Atleti fan wrote to him: “I want you to play decently again, because it looks like you’re already thinking of another club.”

“You find out who’s a good fan in the bad times,” ‘El Tigre’ fired back at his detractor.

Simeone stuck up for his top scorer after the match.

“We know that Radamel is a great player in front of goal,” he said.

“His numbers are incredible. In a league that is so long and demanding, it’s normal that goals are demanded of him, but it’s not easy. He has 22 goals and with eight games left he’s two goals shy of his total from the last campaign.”

Cholo continued: “He commits himself to the club he works for and forwards have spells in which the first chance they have they convert, and sometimes they don’t. He’s okay and he’s on track to repeat his total from last year.

“Hopefully we can always have a striker that guarantees us that many goals.”

“Falcao has played excellently. He’s a natural leader and is always correcting players and the team.” – Filipe Luís

Other notes:

  • As had been reported throughout the week, Simeone opted to go with Adrián in place of Arda from the start. “The intention was to have Adrián pull the centre-backs towards him so that he could turn and find Costa on the left,” Cholo said. “In the beginning, we were able to achieve that. Adrián played a very good game and we hope he continues on that same path.” The majority of our attacks came from the right flank this game, with Juanfran being more involved than usual having a partner to link-up with in ‘Adri’. The Asturian’s pace offered us a lot more speed on the counter than usual. Adrián would often blow past defenders, but his crosses were too often well off the mark. Overall, it was a promising outing for the former Deportivo man, but that’s little consolation at this late stage of the season.
  • Cata Díaz and Tiago should be in line for starts next week in replacement of the automatically suspended pair Diego Godín and Mario Suárez, who were both shown red on Sunday.
  • Koke, with four, and Diego Costa, with nine, each remain a yellow card away from a one-game ban.
  • Filipe Luís made his 200th appearance in Primera División on Sunday (111 with Deportivo and 89 with Atlético). The 27-year-old fullback has scored seven goals (one with Atleti) and has 12 assists, Pedro Martin reported.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    there is an 11 points gap between Atleti the 3rd and Sociedad the 4th, BUT I’m worried that they can take our place .. and before anyone says this is ridiculous : just take a look on our last 8 games in the season and theirs

    after Granada at home we have Sevilla away, Barca at home, Deportivo away (who are in very good shape lately with 3 wins in a row with 3 goals in each one) then the derby at home,
    4 matches with a big probability that we will win Zero points in them

    while Sociedad have much more easier games, and I repeat what I’ve said last week : they have more goals than us (55 – 51) and they don’t have Falcao … this is unacceptable

    maybe the players are not motivated enough to fight for 2nd place, that’s O.K , there is no big difference between 2nd & 3rd (although all the fans are dying to see their Atleti finish la liga above our enemies) , but there is a huge difference between 3rd & 4th : the 3rd is qualified directly to CL group stages while the 4th have to play in qualifications … are Simeone and his men aware of that !!

    last week when I criticized Falcao some of you didn’t like what I said (including our friend Martin) .. well, what do you say know ?!
    big players could have a bad day or a bad week, may even have a bad month .. but they do not have 2 bad months !!

    There is something wrong with Falcao, I won’t say he is thinking about another club … but he is thinking about something.

  • piserakos

    well ahmad… for me there are 3 reason why falcao plays like this…
    1st he is disappointing because he wanted la liga title and he see that maybe the 3rd place is the best that we can do
    2nd he is already thinking about he’s next club and a possible transfer, it is not easy to focus on football when everyday you hear your name about a possible tranfer
    3rd all team is at a weak form and no one pass falcao the ball in the box, for that reason he play out of it he’s opponents play him hard so he can’t play how he can…
    for me those are the reasons, if i was cerezo i would sell falcao for a deal about 35 millions plus courtois and torres or a deal about 45 millions plus courtois and with those 45 million i could use 15-20 millions to buy another striker and about 15-20 for a winger.
    i also worry about 3rd place if we continue play like this, and also i worry about cup final and the derbies against real and barca those would be disastrous… something wrong simeone come on where is 2012 atletico?? WITH THE BEST ATTACK??

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes

    0.85 goals per game this season – that’s class. Cut the guy a bid of slag

  • Lubo

    Sorry Jimbo, but 0.85 goals/game, with 8 penalties and 5 goals scored in a single game makes this ratio quite useless. Falcao seems a bit lost in the year 2013.

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes

    Well in contrast to last year he has scored the same amount of goals but in five matches less.Yes, it’s quit obviesly that he ein’t playing at his very best at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that we should sell him right away if I could choose I’d have him staying. All I’m trying to say is that everybody has their ups and downs and that it’s a bid surprising how many who has turned their backs at our Tiger.

  • JimboWithTheDancingShoes
  • Andres (Lolaya)

    Ahmad, I still don’t see what you’re saying.

    Cavani had 3 bad months and is still having continuing that form while Van Persie is another one having a worse time than Falcao.

  • MTON

    I really have to agree with Lubo: 8 penalties and 5 goals in 1 match… take that away: 9 action goals in 25 matches is not that great I think. stats don’t always show the reality.
    I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of Radamel, but that is only because the stupid media suggests that Atletico is only a one man show of Falcao, while I think the truth is the exact opposite: the reason behind Falcaos great performances in the last 2 years is the result of great teamworks (Porto too). I really don’t like hyped players, thats why “rude” Diego is my favourite. Actually, the main reason behind Falcaos drop in focus and humility is because of the media hype surrounding him.
    I am sorry but I have to say I would rather see Diego as a lone striker in center and Cebola/Arda/Adri behind him.
    I am sorry as Falcao can’t cope with defenders constant pressure the same way as Messi and CR7 do week in week out.
    I really hope that we can sell him for at least 50 mlns and get some talented youngsters in.
    The other sad moment of the match was that I realized that Oliver has an incredible amount of work(out) to do to get some phisiqe…he looks like Messi at the age of 16 but I doubt he has the same skills…I can’t believe he’s 18. Eating – training – sleeping is all he needs for the coming 1-2 years.
    As for the 3rd place, it will be still a tough task, with this mentality we can only be humiliated by barca and real, not to mention sevilla…
    Vamos Atleti!

  • MTON

    @Jimbo I don’t think that anyone of us wants to see Radamel failing.
    Take into consideration that Radamel cost us 45 mils and he received 9 mils for the 2 years at the calderon. Thats 54 mils at all and we can only receive that amount this summer. Next summer he will only have 2 years on his contract and Europes big spenders will rape us and take Falcao away for nothing.
    Either we have to sell him this summer or renew his contract for another 5 years, but could you see that happening? I can’t.

  • Atleti-Rus

    Yes, Falaco looks frustrated. I thnink the reason is, before all, the team’s playing as a whole. Just look at those stupid passes and lobs, the man always has to struggle to win the balls. Have to agree, though, that CR7 and Messi are having the same problem each game and still manage to produce goals like machines. After the Soldado’s kick in the forehead Radamel hasn’t been the same, that’s the truth.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    well dear Andres, Cavani didn’t have 3 bad months, he didn’t score in 6 games in 5 weeks, then he scored 2 braces in a row

    but even if he didn’t score for 3 months he still makes a great effort, makes assists, wins penalties (even he usually misses them) … and the same thing for Van Persie & Rooney

    Falcao was like that last season, when he didn’t score he made assists, he won penalties and free kicks in good positions, and when he couldn’t beat the defenders in the box he used to go back and score from outside the box

    and he was like that in the 1st half of the season, and even made something new for him : score from free kicks … until the injury against Levante, then nobody knows what happened to him … this is not the Falcao we know, come on guys, the fans of other teams were terrified from any corner for Atleti, it was a 50% chance to concede a goal from Falcao

    MTON mentioned a great point, we must either sell him or renew him, but 50 million ?! come on man, with the inflation of player markets I won’t be satisfied with less than 65 M

    there are Arab Sheikhs who pay without thinking, pay for players much more than they really worth just because “they can” … they make me ashamed to be an Arab!