Atlético Madrid fell to a disappointing 2-0 loss to Real Sociedad on Saturday, penalties from Carlos Vela and Willian José resigning the rojiblancos to their second defeat of the season.
It was an afternoon to forget for Diego Simeone’s men, who were distinctly second best and can have no complaints both the result and the two penalty decisions.
Cholo sent out his strongest XI for the match, but they struggled to provide the type of performance he would’ve been looking for and were on the back foot from the off, La Real dominating possession in the early stages.
However, the first real opening fell to Kevin Gameiro, and had the Frenchman scored we could’ve seen a much different game.
After picking up Yannick Carrasco’s pass, he ran through on goal but could only hit the post with a lofted attempt when 1-on-1 with Geronimo Rulli.
At the other end, Carlos Vela was proving a sting in Atlético’s tail and came close with a long range effort, but Jan Oblak did well to dive to his left and tip the shot over the bar.
Vela it was who gave the home side the lead shortly after half-time, after Yuri was upended by Gabi inside the box. The Mexican kept his cool and sent Jan Oblak the wrong way in confident fashion.
Atleti offered little in terms of response, struggling to create chances or even make inroads into the final third against a side who dominated in all aspects for the match.
Willian José made the result safe in the closing stages, stepping up to convert another penalty after Carlos Vela was fouled clumsily by Ángel Correa.
He went straight down the middle, compounding Atleti’s misery and raising conerns ahead of the Madrid derby in two weeks. Our defending and discipline in recent weeks have been uncharacteristically poor.
La Real have been on a good run of form in recent weeks, and are now just a couple of points behind the red and whites. They kept their shape throughout and were good value for the win.
There was still time for Yannick Carrasco to have an effort cleared off the line before the final whistle after Rulli made a good save to deny Griezmann, but it was all in vein and wouldn’t have changed the final out come.
Fans can blame tiredness – Atleti were the only Spanish team involved in Europe to play on Saturday rather than Sunday this weekend – but in truth, we just weren’t good enough today.
Perhaps Simeone needs to start rotating more often, as our starters are running out of steam and the stand-in players often don’t have the match readiness when asked to stand in.
What’s clear is that the team needs to improve quickly, or they could find themselves playing catch up for the rest of the season.
Jan Oblak – 6
Made an excellent save to deny Vela and was assured in the first half. Perhaps sold himself a little easily on the first penalty, but we can’t attach too much blame to him.
Juanfran – 5
Didn’t really provide anything in an attacking respect. After Vrsaljko’s impressive midweek showing, more performances such as this could give Simeone a decision to make.
Diego Godín – 5
Hasn’t been at his best in recent weeks and today was no different. Looked more like the rash, impulsive Godín of the pre-Cholo era than the colussus we’ve gotten used to watching over the years.
Stefan Savic – 6
Our best defender in the first half, but had a tough time of it in the second. Like Godín, he’s dropped a level over the last month or so.
Filipe Luís – 5
Another underwhelming performance after his excellent start to the season. Left a load of space for Vela to attack before the second penalty, and like Juanfran was almost absent in attack.
Gabi – 5
Gave away a penalty with a late challenge, the first he’s conceded in 371 appearances. Thought he played okay in the first half, but at 33, it’s important that he gets rest and at the moment that’s not happening.
Koke – 5
Didn’t really affect the game at all today. Set pieces poor again. We needed someone to step up after the first goal and help us get back in the match, but he couldn’t make the difference.
Saúl Ñíguez – 5
Like in midweek against Rostov, he was almost invisible. Could benefit from some time on the bench given his recent fitness problems and lack of form.
Yannick Carrasco – 5
Tried to make things happen and provided three of our four second half attempts, but missed a good chance to square to Gameiro at 0-0 and didn’t provide the constant threat we needed.
Antoine Griezmann – 5
Worked hard as usual, but was in and out of the match and wasn’t able to fashion any scoring opportunities. Did call Rulli into action with a good shot in injury time, but it was too little too late.
Kevin Gameiro – 6
Perhaps should’ve opened the scoring in the first half, but was a little unlucky. Can’t understand why he came off, given that he was causing some problems with his pace and actually looked a threat.
Ángel Correa – 5
Has had a bit of a shocker over the last few weeks after a good start to the season. With the penalty, we’ll excuse him on the basis that he was at least trying to get back, but he was wasteful in possession and didn’t make the desired impact.
Fernando Torres – 5
Didn’t really do anything of note in his 22 minutes on the pitch. Just doesn’t provide a goal threat, despite all his hard work.
Thomas Partey – 5
Made good use of the ball and showed the odd sign of quality. Would love to see him play more – he has the ability and is more deserving of a spot than Saúl, for example, at the moment.
Do you agree with our ratings? What did you make of the performance?