La Liga: Real Sociedad 2 – 0 Atlético

Carlos Vela and Willian José score from the spot to give hosts the win at Anoeta

Rojiblancos very much second best against La Real

Rojiblancos very much second best against La Real

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.

Player ratings

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?

  • Ratchet

    This is all people. We’ll be fine.

  • starvs

    Really think we could have used Gaitan instead of Saul. Saul is great, but but with all three of Koke, Saul, and Gabi still struggling to break down teams. Can’t imagine playing with those three AND Tiago or Augusto…

    Real shame Gaitan got hurt just when he was maybe going to start getting incorporated more.

  • nandes

    Our set pieces are shocking. I saw someone tweeting that we were the only team in La Liga who haven’t scored from a set piece yet, but I don’t know if that’s true or not

    Anyway, the thing this team needs most right now is rest

  • atleti lover

    I don’t have a problem in the loss itself BUT my problem is with our recent defence form!
    We are accepting a lot of goals Sevilla Malaga Rostov Sociedad. And our major strength in last years which is Gabi- Koke- Saul/Tiago with their magic of playing defense and EFFICIENT in attack is not working recently.
    Our next game against Real is the most important in the whole season it is either a turning point into a winning streak or we will hardly fight for European seat!

  • AndersAT

    I am not as black or white as you are. I think we will definitely be in the top 4 at the end of this long season.
    But we do have some major issues. We still have problems creating chances, and we seem to loose focus in the defensive part of the game right now, which is devastating for me to see. Besides we are really loosing our edge on counters and set pieces. It seems like we have fewer strings to play on these last few games.

    It seems like you can’t focus on trying to improve one part of the game without loosing some in other parts…

  • Atletico fans of Belgium??

    This is the most poorest performance i’ve seen from Atleti.
    I can’t start to point fingers but our chance creating is very very bad…
    What about droping one of our three defensive midfilders and playing Gaitan on the flank ?

    What about resting our two fullbacks Juanfran & Felipe in some games ?
    Whenever those two have a bad game, the whole team flops.
    And i think oppositions are begining to notice that, so they cut Felipe & Juanfran off and thats it we loose, since we can not attack fr

  • Chewie

    I guess it’s like with all skills – until something becomes an habit you have to make a conscious effort to do it correctly, which means that your old skills inevitably become worse. It seems to me that we’re getting away from the tried old style of play with deadly set pieces and rock solid defense and counters to something new, and this change of identity doesn’t come cheaply.

    The most worrying thing is that we don’t really know what this new style will look like and if Simeone has what it takes to make it work as well as his initial strategy. Just have to wait and see.

  • nandes

    I don’t think the problem today was lining up too many defensive midfielders, in fact I think we were pretty much overplayed in that area of the field

  • Atletico fans of Belgium??

    Yes we were outplayed, we werejust dominated by a team that couldn’t win a game in europe top flight league(CL). How is that possible? We are cnceeding alot of goals, no discipline.
    Our succes in the recent years has been discipline in collective defending.
    Now we are not doing it anymore.

  • Rowly

    I don’t know how the midfield lined up yesterday but I think it works best when we have Koke on the right and keep Saul in the middle. A midfield of Koke-Gabi-Saul-Carrasco(or Gaitan) should have a good balance and I think that’s where we’ve been getting it wrong recently.

  • Kris

    To be honest, Koke provides nothing playing out wide. He’s best utilized as a CM and same with Saul. They both come inside and we have no width on one of the flanks.

  • AndersAT

    Well i guess you are right, but I don’t like it. I never wanted a change like this, I just wanted a tweek. Why change something good completely. I just wanted a bit more creativity from the midfield and a change of the 4 CM midfield. I got that, and i enjoy that. But the defensive attitude and forcing the opponent to make mistakes by pressing hard should still be the way to go. I still think we need to play with control, especially the away games where we should play with more patience.

    The set pieces situation still hurts like hell. In 13/14 the opposition did everything they could not to give away any set pieces, which gave some dangerous situations. I guess Savic is no Miranda and Saul is no RG8 but we should still be able to be a threat in these situations. I guess we don’t train this at all anymore which is too bad.

    But I guess it will become better, but it have to change soon before we drop to much behind. I think it will be an interesting season with both Barca and Real Madrid showing signs of weakness and Villarreal and Sevilla both looking good as well. I’m am still mostly hoping for the CL this year. Third time must be the charm, and I still think we are a better “cup team” than a “league team”.

  • Rowly

    I agree it sacrifices Koke to an extent but I also think it provides the balance in midfield which works best as a unit, Koke as a right midfielder and Carrasco as a left winger if that makes sense.

  • Koke

    I respect your opinion but I disagree. Koke belongs in the center. He most definitely not a winger and he isn’t even a wide midfielder the way Iniesta, Silva, Arda, etc can be. His only true position is deep lying playmaker. Maybe he wasn’t his best in the last couple games but I think that’s more due to poor form or tiredness (he needs some rest!) Earlier this season he was a complete beast in his position every single game.

    Koke should partner either Gabi or Saul depending on how good our opponent is. I guess Saul-Gabi-Koke can also happen sometimes but that doesn’t offer too much creativity (just look at how often Saul has been subbed out recently when we can’t score.) I really think we should give Thomas some chances as the third midfielder until Gaitan returns. I really hope Simeone doesn’t revert back to his old style because of the last result.

    Carrasco should be starting every game right now as far as I’m concerned unless he sees an extreme dip in form. He’s really stepped it up and has become one of our most dangerous attacking players, if not our best lately. GGC should be our trident and should always be playing together, with Correa and Torres as subs.


    i still believe that we should signed diego costa or something because if you notice we have problems in dead balls (Griezmann Gameiro Correa Gaitán) this guys are short also we lost our aggressiveness for some reason and why on the hell we are bringing a happy short smily players instead of badasses
    -sorry for my english

  • AndersAT

    Yeah me to. But you can’t always get what you want, and apparently we tried hard. I still think Gameiro is working out just fine. But it is correct we need som really good headers for the set pieces. The opponents best header will be on Godin, and it is a shame we don’t have a couple of almost equally strong headers to shoot after also. I actually think Gimenez has the advantage over Savic in the offensive headers. I am not sure where Lucas is in this though.

  • Hannu

    Gimenez surely is better in offensive headers than Savic!