The red and white aftermath: Match Day 2

Atlético bully neighbouring Rayo, hammering home 5 goals in Calderón shutout

raul garcia celebrates

Atlético delivered an impeccable performance in Sunday’s 5-0 obliteration of Rayo Vallecano at the Vicente Calderón.

In their home opener in league play, los Colchoneros were out to prove ‘Cholo Castle’ remains the scariest place to visit in La Liga, haunted by a ‘Beast’ that calls the Rojiblanco fortress home, and protected by the world’s fiercest defence.

Ever since Diego Simeone took over the stadium, opponents have cowered at the sight of its walls, and Atleti supporters, except us here at AtléticoFans, of course, where we stay humble and keep our feet on the ground, have gotten carried away in cocky hyperbole when they describe just how badass their club is.

Coming into the campaign, the biggest area of doubt was how Atleti would fare without their top goalscorer of the last two campaigns, following Falcao’s exit to Monaco. Many expected the team to suffer a significant decline in offensive production.

The jury is still out, but one could perhaps argue that ‘El Tigre’s’ absence contributes to a more collective playing style, now that there isn’t such a demanding, primary focal point up top.

Again, it’s far too early to draw any conclusions, but eight goals in two league games should keep our worries at bay, for now.

Prior to next weekend’s trip to San Sebastián to take on Real Sociedad, our guys get set for Wednesday’s visit to Barcelona, where they hope to upset the Blaugrana in the Supercopa.

To bring the trophy back to the capital with them, they’ll have to improve on their splendid midweek showing in the first leg of the final, which will be no easy task.

But, as the old adage says, “Where there is a Cholo, there is a way.”

“Thank God we only conceded five goals.” – Rayo boss Paco Jémez

Post-game notes and quotes:

Simeone tallies 150th win as a coach

Argentine tactician Diego Simeone is putting together quite a remarkable coaching career, after not having done so badly for himself as a player.

The 43-year-old bagged his 150th victory as a manager with Sunday’s triumph over Rayo. The milestone was achieved after 294 matches, Pedro Martin reports.

56 of those wins have been in 90 games at the helm of Atleti.

Simeone felt his men’s “aerial game and breaks from the back” were the keys to beating the Vallecas-based outfit.

“We allowed our opponents to bring the ball up and applied pressure, complicating things for them,” he said after the bout.

“There’s no other way we know how to play. This is the rhythm we maintain, and we feel comfortable like that because of the characteristics of our players. I try to have the team play based on that, as opposed to how I would like them to play.”

Cholo isn’t worried about David Villa’s absence from the scoresheet for the second weekend in a row. ‘El Guaje’ scored a wondergoal against his former teammates on Wednesday, but has yet to nab his first league goal of the present term, and failed to capitalise on some very clear opportunities Sunday night.

“Hopefully he can continue the way he’s playing because he’s getting chances and, eventually, he’ll score them,” Simeone said.

“He lives off goals and I like that about him.”

Raúl opens and closes the rout with a brace

In a week in which in his namesake across town, Raúl (González Blanco), was paid a late tribute to at the Bernabéu following an illustrious career in white, Atleti midfielder Raúl García — making his first appearance of the season — did his best to boost his appearances in Google search results by sneaking a pair of strikes past a woeful Cobeño.

“Raúl’s performance makes me happy,” Cholo said of the former Osasuna man’s outing.

“The other day he was out [of the squad] and today he scored two goals. We need players that understand that, first, we are a group, and then, we will become a team.”

Of his decision to replace Koke with García, our most lethal midfielder last year, Simeone explained that Raúl would offer us an advantage in the air. Fittingly, his first goal came from a header.

“The other day I was out of the match selection and it’s not easy, because everyone wants to play,” ‘RG8’ told reporters in the mixed zone.

“There’s a lot of competition and one must learn to accept it.”

The only stain on García’s performance was his lowly pass completion rate of 49%.

“We know it’s a complicated match but we also know that we’ll have our chances. We played well in the first leg and deserved more, but there’s still a game left. We know there will be goals because there always are in those matches and we should believe in ourselves because it will be difficult to defeat them.” – Raúl, on the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday against Barcelona

The Beast can’t be stopped

Diego Costa’s season has gotten off to a roaring start. The ‘Beast of the Manzanares’ directly contributed to three of our goals on Sunday, and already has three goals and an assist to his name in the young campaign.

The Brazilian, overshadowed a bit by the arrival of Villa over the summer, is currently tied with Almería’s Rodri as La Liga’s top scorer.

Vintage Arda

Much was made about Arda’s perceived disappointment when he was taken off after just an hour of play in Sevilla last weekend.

The Turk had uncharacteristically failed to make much of an impact on the game, and with rumours coming out of his home country suggesting he wants to return to Galatasaray, some concern was creeping in.

All those doubts were wiped away on Sunday though.

Our bearded midfield maestro put in a sublime shift, scoring a lovely goal and providing two others.

Arda now has three assists on the campaign. He had a grand total of four in all competitions last season.

Tiago reappears and adds name to scoresheet

Like Raúl, Tiago made his first appearance of the season against Rayo. The 33-year-old, who replaced Mario in the fold, scored his 11th goal in red and white since having joined the club back in January of 2010.

“Ever since [Simeone’s] arrival, the team shows up for every match,” the former Portugal international said.

“Every encounter is a final. We’re all locked in and we follow the coach regardless of who plays, because we’re always playing at a high level.”

He continued: “I felt really good but the important thing is the team, who came into the game very strongly. We were able to score on the chances we’ve had, we didn’t offer them any and we had the strength to control the match.”

Other notes:

  • Atleti skipper Gabi, an underrated set piece specialist, picked up his first assist of the season off of a well-executed corner kick for our opening goal.
  • 2012-13 team assist leader Koke, who came on for Gabi at the hour mark, tallied his second assist of the campaign when we completed the manita in the 90th minute.
  • Reigning Zamora trophy-holder Thibaut Courtois earned his first clean sheet of the season, one of his easiest shutouts in his career.
  • Though the scoresheet didn’t show it, the match ran through the feet of left-back Filipe Luís, who had by far the most touches on the evening for Atleti with 85. His counterpart on the right flank, Juanfran, only touched the ball 51 times.
  • Adrián, who replaced Costa in the 66th minute, should have earned an assist when he fed a perfect, leading pass to a wide open Villa that the Spanish national team legend inexplicably sent smashing into the crossbar. It was one of ‘Adri’s’ better nights, but it may not even matter anymore, as there are strong signs suggesting the forward will be sold shortly.
  • A clear indication of Rayo’s dreadful effort was that not a single Atlético player was booked.
  • Atleti’s Léo Baptistão, who faced off against his former buddies, turns 21 on Monday.
  • Choice quotes from Rayo coach Paco Jémez‘ dramatic post-game press conference: “We’re going to spend a couple of days feeling like shit, ashamed and humiliated.” “We’re the smallest team in the league; the shittiest team in the league–that’s us. Once we realise that, we can compete against anyone. We went out onto the pitch thinking that we were up against a group of friends and that’s why we shipped five.” On having removed right-back Gálvez after just half an hour, Jémez explained he did so because he couldn’t “take out [all 11 players]“.

  • DJ _ZA

    Seems RG still needs to do a bit more to improve his google search status hehehehe

    Paco Jemez – no BS; just saying it like it is. That’s got to be the best quote ever!!

    Oh! … And the match – nothing left to say except

  • colchonero in sf

    My man Raul Golcia. Just Keep it going- Golcia para seleccion in the false 9? That guy just keeps scoring….

  • AndersAT

    Great match!
    I really hope that those of you, who wanted to sell Raul Garcia is changing your mind. I agree that he is not that good in the passing game, but he can score from the midfield. Furthermore he is a well integrated member of the squad, and we would never get a better replacement for the amount of money a sale would bring.

    My only concern is that some of the big clubs in Europe is drooling at the sight of the magnificent Arda. I really hope we can hold on to him through the campaign.

  • yon

    Just seen this, he looks a great prospect, must mean Man City are close to getting Demi from us!

    Ajax DoF Marc Overmars confirms the club rejected a reported bid of €4.5m from Atletico Madrid for Toby Alderweireld. They want €7.5m

  • Piserakos

    Well done paco you made laugh. Great game. Garcia is a fantartic false 9 but he doesn’t help on the creativity like koke does… Anyone heard rumors about mata? Nice performance from adri. Filipe also great game. Anyone knows about the kid that died? It’s sad.

  • pantic#10

    On next June (2014) Raul Garcia’s contract ends.
    Please, can we renew it? thanx in advance 😉

  • epoy

    Raul garcia, what a legend!!! We love you raul!!! You can keep having a passing rate of below 50% as long as you score every game….

  • piserakos

    guys of course we have to renew garcia contract… cause he doesn’t earn too much and he helps the team with his goals but because he scored 2 goals he is not messi… i like him like most of you cause he is for long at the club and he is a nice guy

  • kris

    I hate the fact that Raul Garcia plays out of position and gives so many misplaced passes.. but,,, like Cebolla,, the guy scores unexpected goals out of nowhere..

  • Jorge

    At this time last year, I was scratching my head, wondering why everyone wanted Garcia off the team. Now I find I’m scratching my head wondering why everyone sees him as a “legend”.

    Guys, he’s the same player he’s always been–an offensive minded M/winger who can score beautiful goals and then disappear for a few games.

    I just hope that when that happens, everyone doesn’t turn on him again. Such fickle fans belong at the Bernabeu.

  • kris

    It’s not that I like him a lot now.. I just appreciate what he does.. He’s still a very decent player for me ,, who finds the back of the net at times.. Like I said, his positioning is bad, he forgets what position he is playing,, and his passing is bad.. it’s just that he could score..

  • Jeronamo

    I still don’t like him and just because he played (what you guys consider) good doesn’t mean he’s gonna transform into an amazing player this season. Sickenss me to think the word legend was just used
    , SERIOUSLY? I’m not hating on him its just the fact of the matter is he’s not that good and I want him sold

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    since Simeone took charge of Atleti, we lost only 6 games at Vicente Calderon, 4 of them against Real & Barca (twice against each) and once against Sociedad from an offside goal, and once against Rubin Kazan without Courtios, Miranda, Gabi & Diego Costa

    in other words:
    at home, we never lose unless the opponent is one of the two giants

    but that is understatement, it’s true that Real won both games at Calderon at Simeone era, but Simeone team have won in Bernabeu .. and it was the most important one, the cup final
    and Camp Nou turn is coming on Wednesday !

    Aupa Simeone .. Aupa Atleti

  • Raul Garcia can only leave if there’d be a great RW to play in his position.
    Plus now it’s late in the window, so it’s probably better if he’d stay.
    Also, he can definitely score, but I’m afraid his passing game could be dangerous against fast counter attacking opponents… and not in our favour…

  • piserakos

    i agree with gambo… we need a lot of player to compete at 4 competition(ok 3+1) garcia will be a disaster against a team like real but against weaker teams he can help by providing goals… he is too cheap and it will be difficult to find someone who does his job for that amount of money… if we buy another mid so then he will probably has to leave but only if we can sell him… but tell me the truth anyone believes that we can have more than 5mil for him? he is a nice back-up

  • kris

    GET LJAJIC FOR FUKK’S SAKE!! He can play almost any position in the attack..

  • Piserakos

    Kris i agree with you he would be a fantastic addition with not a lot of money. Fiorentina wants to sell him at atleti but he wants to go to milan… Hope he’ll come at least one of him enriksen or mata

  • Ricardo Menéndez

    Reading the aftermath after every match day is by far the best Atleti reading moment of the week. Tip o’ the hat for your weekly superbly condensed review Martin!

  • pantic#10

    I’m probably the only Atletifans that don’t want Ljajic to Atleti.
    Good player but Montella (Fiorentina Coach) is sick of this vitiated player and Della Valle (Fiorentina president) prefer to keep it in tribune one year instead undersell him.
    Fiorentina fans have lost patience with him. so i don’t think that in Firenze are all crazy; It’s a great football club and they know what to do.
    Ljacic had also problems with his country team (Serbia) and Mihajlovic coach.
    We don’t need this kind of player (very bad mentality).
    What he did and he’s doing in Fiorentina he can do it at Atleti in the future.
    Ljajic don’t want to come to Atletico, he wants Milan but he’ll probably go to Rome (last rumours).
    or he can stay in tribune one year and go to Milan (that’s what he deserves).

    If Chelsea give us Mata….that’s a big hit! 2 world champions on ATK, can you imagine it? with Diego Costa? that’s killer.

  • starvs

    I’d trust Cholo to bring any malcontent player in line real fast like.

  • kris

    DEADLINE DAY IS ALMOST NEAR,, THOUGH!!

  • Adnan khan

    @Pantic about ljajic: he got hit in the face infront of the camera by his own manager, maybe thats why he is causing problems in fiorentina
    And the thing you mentioned about him and the serbian national team isnt his fault either. If a player doesnt want to sing a national song that is against his belief or are offending to him, then he should not be forced to sing it.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Adnan Khan : you have said exactly what I wanted to say

    and pantic#10 : yes, you are the only one !
    but it’s nice to hear different opinions 🙂

  • pantic#10

    @Adnan: yes i remember the brawl with his coach Rossi.
    but i don’t agree about that’s why he’s causing problems to Fiorentina now.
    Fiorentina immediately fired Rossi and always protected Ljacic for what happened; They know that he’s a good player and that’s why they offered him a renew with a better salary.
    About Serbia team: Mihajlovic (like Montella) complained also about his overweight and lazyness.

    There are other cases of players that don’t sing the national song: Benzema, Matic, Osvaldo, Amauri, Camoranesi…

    But i see your point of view and agree with it; for example my national anthem say that my country is slave of Rome and God and i’m ready to die for it…WHAT?!! 🙂

  • pantic#10

    god created it*
    forgot two words

  • pantic#10

    latest news: Ljacic tomorrow will be in Rome to do medical test.
    Now let’s focus on Mata. C’mon Mourihno! let him free to join us.

  • Adnan khan

    Haha Pantic i see. Honestly if it was a player that i wanted to atletico this year it was ljajic, but as you said “lets move on” 🙂 ps pantic can is ask you where you are from? Just curious

  • pantic#10

    Adnan it’s easy, my national anthem says “Slave of Rome…” I’m from Italy.
    The Ljajic/Rossi brawl was a very sad moment in Italian football (well…aside all the money/illegal bets/mafia/referee scandal… eheheh).
    Fiorentina just bought another young and promising player to replace Ljajic: Rebic a croatian under 21.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow match against Barca. i really really hope that we will win.
    It’ll be another epic night like it was with Real last May.

  • piserakos

    pantic you probably are fron north side of italy am i right??? greeting from a neighbour

  • pantic#10

    Piserakos, yes! 😉 do you live in Italy too at the moment?

  • piserakos

    no i live at greece but i know a lot of things about italy… i’ve visited italy many times and i really loved siena and firenze…. where do you live my friend?

  • pantic#10

    Unfortunately i never visited your beautiful country..i hope one day to go to Greece because i study Near Ancient East civilizations…so it’s weird that i know all your history but i never seen it with my eyes! 🙂
    I live very near Milano (my “italian” team is Inter F.C.)
    and you in the capital?

  • piserakos

    Greece is a fantastic country unfortunately we destroyed a little our country. but there are fantastic places… yes i leave in Athens(the worst Greek city) and my Greek team is Aris(from thessaloniki even if i leave in Athens:P)… by the way do you know from where we bought pantic?

  • pantic#10

    Yep! Panionos 😉 Antic did a great purchase!
    I followed for many years the Greek championship, especially the “big” teams: Panathinaikos (i remember great 90’s with warzycha as forward) AEK, Olympiakos.

    Italy is a beautiful country (we have obviously so many similarities!) and the worst thing are italians. we (and Europe) destroyed it too.
    sad moment for our ancient country.