What a difference one year makes


Considering the front-loaded nature of our schedule that has pitted us against the likes of Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia early on, we have to be pleased with our seven points and two solid showings away from the Calderón.

The Atleti of last season likely would be sitting at three points right now, with a lone win against Sporting, and we would be hanging out at the bottom of the table with Levante, Málaga and Racing Santander in panic mode, calling for Pitarch’s head on a platter and in all out protest against Gil and Cerezo.

Coming into last night’s game at Mestalla, a venue we have not won at in seven years and without the services of the heart and soul of our team, Kun Agüero, a tie would undoubtedly be considered a successful result. The problem is that any time you go up and feel like the three points are in the bag and they suddenly get snatched away from you in the dying minutes of the game, it’s devastating and it leaves a bitter after taste.

Had it not been for De Gea though, who put in another god-like performance with three unbelievable saves, we easily could have lost. The angel between the sticks has been extraordinary of late, and is right there fighting for superstar status with Kun and Forlán.

Speaking of Forlán, our No. 7 will lament his big miss in the first half for a while, an insatiable striker always does. It’s hard to fault Cacha for anything at all though, especially with the absence of Kun which has placed a heavy burden on the Uruguayan’s shoulders in the form of extra pressure to score and over-time minutes on the pitch.

Let us hope that Agüero returns in time for next week’s Europa League bout against Bayer Leverkusen. If we are lucky he may even be ready to play against Zaragoza this Sunday, and if he does, I really like our chances for victory number three.

Diego Godín, arguably the lesser of our big three signings of the summer in that his arrival received the least amount of buzz, has been the most important acquisition thus far. Quique immediately put him in the line-up for the Super Cup and he has played every minute since. You can rest easy, as gone are the days of Atleti’s set piece disasters and of crosses easily slicing through our back line to be struck into our helpless, unsuspecting goal.

Meanwhile, our biggest signing Filipe Luís eagerly awaits his turn to impress. Trustworthy AS journalist Javier Matallanas reported via twitter this morning that Filipe will play on Sunday. The conditions for a debut this weekend seem optimal: playing at home against a softer side in Real Zaragoza who presently sit dead last in the Primera División. A victory Sunday will help to build confidence and momentum ahead of Leverkusen’s visit four days later.

  • Derek Maaijen

    We’ve taken only one point from the last three games, but still there is a euphoric atmosphere among the fans. Like someone pointed out yesterday, this team can only improve, once Agüero, Filipe and Tiago are fit. We have a problem with the limited options in attack, but I’m confident we can look forward to an exciting season.

  • Ringo Schut

    It’s not that good that Kun is really this important.
    This is one of the reasons we should not sell him.
    Costa was good in pre-season, but he doesn’t seem capable to be a sufficient sub for Agüero…

    I really hope Tiago and Filipe’s fitness gets close to complete pretty soon. I’d really like to see their skills (again).

    Filipe >> López
    Tiago >> García
    Agüero >>> Costa

    Waiting to see our complete team 🙂

  • Flo

    Tiago and Filipe are the reason why fans are so euphoric. WIthout them we started quite well in la liga. So with them we should play even better.

  • For Kun being that important – I think QSF is partly to blame here as he takes a long time to come up with a back-up plan.
    Aris formation was a disaster and yet he was unable to give an alternative – bringing Costa was an improvement but not enough. It’s been 3 games without Kun and I predict 3 more until he’s back to norm, and there’s still no click.
    Costa wasn’t a good sub, but it was just 3 games and if chances will keep getting set up for him he’ll score. But I wonder if Simao or Reyes could be used as forwards to pair up with Forlan meanwhile, with Costa still a sub or a 3rd?

    As Forlan being a half of what he was w/o Kun – duh. Of course, as he’s a half of a pair, he needs to play off someone, just like Kun. Costa was better than nothing, and they got some chances between them, but again, maybe Reyes as a link-up would work better. I see Barca put Iniesta as a forward while Messi’s out…

  • Ian

    I also don’t really like how Kun is being so important, but I don’t want to se him leave either..
    I think Diego Costa has the potential to be a good player, and its just that he can’t cope with the pressure now, if he does, I think he’ll be a decent striker..

    It’s kinda funny how last season, we have problems on the defense, a lot of stupid mistakes happened, but now, our striking ability is somewhat lacking..

    And I think when salvio comes back from benfica, he could be another option for simao and reyes who doesn’t seem to have a backup for now..

  • Mohammed

    @ Ian: It’s because the team is more defensive now. So, we don’t have that extra player in attack. Not to mention the “almost” useless Raul Garcia IMO.

    I have to say, Godin has been impressive. He had made a few mistakes like the one against Barca (unlucky though) but overall, he’s been a rock. Let’s hope he continues with this kind of performance.