Sunday night’s showdown between last season’s third and fourth-place finishers highlighted the gulf in class between the two sides now in this new season.
In what was the most one sided 2-1 victory you’ll see, Atleti put in an irresistible performance that had the visitors on the ropes for most of the game.
Visibly buoyed by the midweek thrashing of Kazakh superstars Astana, Los Rojiblancos started the game at 100mph and maintained an intensity that was common place in the title winning season.
The game was free flowing and red-blooded but rarely did it boil over and this is in part thanks to the referee on the night, Gil Manzano, who unlike many of his colleagues opted not to constantly interrupt play with his whistle.
Filipe Luis obviously picked up a few things during his short time in the Premier League as he launched the ball from his own defensive area right into his opposition’s which managed to comically make it’s way past both Mustafi and Santos gifting Jackson with his third Atleti goal, his second in two games.
Blood had been spilled and it wasn’t long before the other new recruit Carrasco showed pure grit as he cut through the Valencia back line before unleashing a long range missile that gave keeper Domenech no chance.
Registering eight shots on target, Atleti’s highest amount so far this season, Los Rojiblancos are once again firing on all cylinders and will look to continue this fantastic run of form against Depor on Friday night.
Post-game notes and quotes
“We saw one of the best Atleti performances in recent times.” – Simeone.
“Up until the penalty, we dominated the pitch choosing when and where to pressure, recovering the ball well and having speed on the counter.”
“We kept a strong rival like Valencia away from our goal allowing them only one shot on target which speaks volumes of the performance.”
Cholo quick to establish Valencia as his ‘rivals’ here although with that performance he will have trouble keeping it up.
“Conceding was a real shame as it offered the possibility of a draw rather than it seeming a reality.”
“It’s far too early to be making assessments and judgments, we leave that for the end of the season, what’s important is the next game and we come up against a tough opponent in Depor this Friday.”
The spirit of partido a partido hovering around the press conference like it is seated beside Cholo is always present like oxygen to this Atleti side.
The half man half quiff also had his say.
“We are very happy with the win.” said a visibly elated Carrasco.
“The final half an hour was tough despite the pentalty we can look back at a long match and be proud of ourselves.”
Atleti’s own Benjamin Button, Tiago, also faced the press.
“We played a great game at a very high level and dominated throughout.”
“With the amount of chances we created the scoreline should be different but we’re improving game by game and are closer to Barcelona and Real Madrid.”
Jackson was last up to give his reflections on the match.
“It’s crucial that we now continue on this path and we are going in the right direction in order to lift the team higher by achieving the victories we need.”
“The Valencia game is over now, we focus on rest and then the upcoming match against Deportivo.”
Yan the man
Yannick Fereira Carrasco was an unknown quantity at the start of the campaign after arriving from Monaco but the Belgian winger has endeared himself to the Atleti faithful with a mixture of speed, grit and style and is fast making himself a mainstay in the starting eleven.
Carrasco’s first half rocket showed what he’s all about with trickery to beat three players and the ability to find the bottom corner in what was Atleti’s fourth goal from outside the box, more than any other team in La Liga.
Carrasco, like Samson, undoubtedly owes his prowess to his hair and the half man half quiff was unplayable at times down the channels.
Eager to show that his terrific display in the Champions League midweek was no fluke, the youngster showed great understanding with Juanfran in what looks to be a growing relationship down the right hand side but, it is not only his explosiveness in attack that makes his presence invaluable but his defensive work rate that is highlighted in his unrelenting desire to regain possession for his team.
It’s clear that Carrasco has bought into Cholo’s philosophy and his performances continue to impress.
The final thoughts
- Godin‘s foolish defending gave Valencia half a chance and made the last quarter of the game much nervier than it needed to be. The Uruguayan can rarely be faulted though and were it not for Gaya on the goal line would’ve been on the score sheet himself.
- Fernando Torres made a late second half appearance and should really have celebrated his 100th Atleti goal but his header flashed wide of the post. Fer’s starting eleven days may be coming to an end as Jackson seems to be finding his feet (and more importantly the back of the net) now.
- Oliver Torres also made a cameo appearance and must raise his game now if he wants to see more minutes as the partnership of Tiago and Gabi do not look to be broken up and the emergence of Carrasco.