Atlético pounded Getafe into submission on Saturday with a performance that bordered on downright cruelty.
The 7-0 annihilation was the worst loss in los Azulones‘ history.
The scoreboard also happened to mirror Atleti’s record at ‘Cholo Castle’ this season, with Simeone’s men picking up their seventh home win on the trot.
With the goal fest, Atleti were able to brush away Getafe’s mighty Marea Azul (Blue Tide) fan club, who, roughly 10-men strong, made their imposing presence felt in the away section of the Vicente Calderón (or not).
Speaking of 10 men, former Colchonero Juan Valera did his former buddies a favour by getting himself dismissed before the half, facilitating the ensuing bloodbath.
Having faced off against all three of their neighbours in the current campaign, Atleti are now the unquestionable kings of the capital.
They’ve defeated Rayo Vallecano (5-0), Real Madrid (1-0) and Getafe (7-0) by a combined scoreline of 13-0.
La Liga’s giants, Barcelona and Atleti, both came out of the weekend victorious, so our Rojiblancos (37 points) continue to trail the Blaugrana by three points in the league table.
Real Madrid, leaders of the ‘other league’, are close behind with 34 points.
Atleti will make the trip to Russia to take on Zenit in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, and then it’s off to Elche on Saturday.
Post-game notes and quotes:
Rojiblancos were “almost perfect”, says Simeone
“[Valera’s] dismissal favoured us, but we also had an almost perfect night,” Diego Simeone said following Saturday’s lopsided affair.
“The goals allowed us to resolve the match the way we imagined. It wasn’t easy at the start, but with one more man, the team was decisively stronger.”
He continued: “I’d like to highlight the team’s excellent work in making their return to La Liga. [On Friday], we had the entire team at our disposal for the first time this week. That’s what makes me most happy today, the way we interpreted the match from the start.”
Despite the squad’s resounding success so far, the Argentine tactician stuck to his doctrine.
“I don’t rely on what happens today to get more, or less, happy,” he said, before switching into autopilot for the remainder of his speech.
“We’re in a championship that is played game-by-game, taking on each opponent as if it were a final. There are always difficulties, in every match, and they must be resolved. When there are five, six or seven fixtures left, we’ll take a look at the table and see where we are, but there’s still a very long way to go for that.”
‘Cholo’ then shed some light on his methods.
“I’m not looking to do something different,” he said.
“I look to strengthen my players based on their characteristics and on Atlético’s history, because I understand and respect the history of the club that I’m at. I want a fast and valiant team, and that’s what we are right now.”
Raúl García offers a master class on finishing
The formerly much-maligned-but-now-respected-by-most-circles-though-still-has-his-stubborn-detractors Raúl García, offsets any shortcoming in his game with his ferociousness in front of goal. While his low pass accuracy has been the subject of some debate (Saturday’s was at 59% while his average for the season stands at 55%), his form inside the box leaves nothing to be desired.
In fact, if his teammates resembled nets, we’re convinced Raúl’s pass accuracy would consistently be at Xavi-esque levels.
There’s no reason to believe that Raúl, with regular appearances in the starting line-up, wouldn’t finish as a top-five goalscorer in Spain.
The Pamplona-born attacking midfielder has three goals in his last three games, and seven total goals in nine starts this season (zero goals as a substitute).
The night didn’t start off too promisingly for the 27-year-old, who was booked for an alleged dive inside the box (though replays showed Diego Castro did make contact with his foot).
García got his redemption a little later though, when he opened up the scoring with a powerful header. The former Osasuna man made it a double shortly after the break, again finding the back of the net with his head. He later tore some paint off the woodwork with a roaring blast, narrowly missing out on a hat trick prior to being replaced by Costa.
“I’d like to once again highlight Raúl’s response in this new opportunity to play,” coach Simeone said in his post-game press conference.
“It made me very happy to see how the fans bade him farewell, because they value him more.”
Six goals in last five games for ‘El Guaje’
David Villa smelled blood too, bagging a brace of his own to pick up his sixth goal in the last five games.
Our bargain striker now has a very respectable nine goals this season (eight in La Liga), and is two goals shy of his total in league play in his last year with Barça.
‘El Guaje’ is in a four-way tie for third place with Messi, Alexis Sánchez and Griezmann in the Pichichi standings.
Costa steals the show
Atleti had already put four up on the board before Diego Costa, recovered from injury, returned to the pitch in the 62nd minute to replace the star of the night (up until that point, at least): Raúl García.
What could the ‘Beast’ possibly do to steal Raúl’s thunder?
Let us know once you’ve scraped your jaw off the ground after watching that spectacular display of beastliness…
…Okay. So, that makes it 14 goals in 14 league matches for Scolari’s nightmare, and 17 in 18 overall.
“Nobody expected that pirouette, because the ball was heading to his other foot; almost to his back,” a still-amazed Simeone said of his superstar forward’s wonder goal.
Costa currently sits in second in the Primera scoring chart, with three goals less than Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘Perfect 7’ makes it 7 with first goal since January
It took 13 appearances (4 starts) and 484 minutes, but Adrián finally got his goal in the present term when, showing no mercy for our hapless foes, he scored our seventh of the night in stoppage time.
With an Asturian connection, feeding Villa on our sixth goal, ‘Adri’ also notched his first assist of the season.
“It’s always important to score,” the 25-year-old said after the game.
“I hadn’t been able to yet. I’m happy at a personal level, but especially because of the team’s victory and because we continue to do things well.”
- Thibaut Courtois tallied his sixth league shutout this season, and ninth clean sheet overall in 2013/14. The Belgian stud likely broke more of a sweat celebrating our goals than he did while minding his net.
- Assists galore: Koke (now with eight in La Liga and nine in all competitions), is tied for the league lead with Neymar and Cesc Fàbregas; Tiago (his first this season); Juanfran (second); Gabi (fourth in La Liga, sixth overall); Adrián (first); and Villa (third).
- All seven goals were scored by Spanish nationals Saturday night.
- Gabi, Arda and Raúl García, with four yellow cards apiece, are all in danger of imminent suspension.
- In case you missed it, our Ricardo Menéndez spoke to Toby Alderweireld after the match. Read Arthur Guisasola’s report here.
- “We feel the support of the fans. They support us in the good and the bad times. They are always demanding and I think they can see that the team runs after and fights for each ball, and they feel happy.” – Juanfran