What the hell was that?
For the second straight league match away from home, Atlético resembled the version of themselves spearheaded by Gregorio Manzano before Diego Simeone came to the rescue.
Osasuna ran riot against los Colchoneros, tearing the league’s best defence to shreds and scoring three times before the first half had even come to a close.
Diego Costa, our opponents’ bête noire in recent years and our hero in Milan at the midweek, was rendered completely harmless.
Was it a Champions League bug? Or, lack of intensity by several key players looking to avoid automatic suspension for a fifth booking?
All we’re left with are questions after such an inexplicable result.
In spite of Sunday’s catastrophe in Pamplona, Atleti will have the opportunity to gain the edge over Real Madrid next weekend when they host their eternal rivals.
A derby triumph would be the perfect form of redemption for this debacle.
A win against the Merengues will also give us the head-to-head advantage over them should we end the season with the same amount of points.
Regardless of what happens in the derby though, this loss to Osasuna raises a lot of questions about the viability of a league-title for Atlético.
Or does it? Both Barcelona and Real had already dropped points in Pamplona this season, though not quite as spectacularly as Atleti did this weekend–but even the mighty slip up and fall every so often.
It’s time to bounce back big!
Post-game notes and quotes:
Simeone, as is customary after a loss, keeps his statements short
Following his team’s worst first half showing since he took the reins back at the end of 2011, Atleti boss Diego Simeone could only praise his men’s aggressors on Sunday.
“Osasuna worked well in the first 20 minutes,” he said.
“They played a very good match and surprised us with their first two chances. In the first half, we couldn’t find ourselves. We were better in the second but the goal that could have gotten us back into the game never arrived.”
He continued: “When our opponents play better, like today, I can only congratulate them. Other days, you’re the better team.
“This is football.”
A Diego curse?
In Diego’s first four starts since making his much-celebrated return to Atleti in January, the club have been shutout by a grand total of 10-0 (Real Madrid, Almería, Real Madrid and Osasuna).
It’s obvious his incorporation into the line-up has thrown a wrench into Simeone’s system, but how?
The Brazilian was an absolute wizard in his first stint with the club, and though he has a goal and an assist in two appearances as a substitute, when a match is planned for by taking him into consideration from the beginning of proceedings, our performance takes a big hit.
Has he lost his touch? Probably not. The 28-year-old seemed antsy at times, forcing desperate shots from outside the box–and, he certainly wasn’t linking up with any teammates at El Sadar.
But, come on! This is Diego we’re talking about. Let’s give the former Wolfsburg man some time to acclimate.
Cholo thrusted him into a central role immediately, so let’s cut him some slack. Diego’s presence in the line-up should start paying dividends soon.
These wacky people with their superstitions and curses.
Now, an Adrián curse, well…
- Thibaut Courtois hadn’t conceded three goals in 42 league games until this godforsaken trip.
- Only Mario Suárez was booked in Pamplona. The midfielder joined the four-yellow-card club, and was lucky not to lose his membership in the group almost right away, as he should’ve seen a second yellow (his fifth overall) that would have seen him hit the showers early. But, because Spanish referees are apparently not the most competent fellas, he was allowed to catch the second half from the bench and will be available for Real’s visit. If you don’t have the following list of the other players on four bookings memorised by now, you ought to have your brain checked: Filipe, Costa, Miranda, Godín, Tiago, Arda. With the exception of the injured Tiago, all of our men will be available to suit up against los Blancos.
- Atleti youth academy product Gabi made his 200th appearance in red and white in official competition. The skipper has notched 5 goals and 19 assists throughout his career at Atleti. After this result, he probably cared less than we did about having achieved this milestone.