Atlético Madrid suffered their fourth league defeat of the season at Villarreal on Monday night, going down 3-0 at the hands of the Yellow Submarine on an all round night to forget.
Goals from Manu Trigueros, Jonathan dos Santos and Roberto Soriano sealed a deserved win for the home side, but they were gifted the win by a series of errors from Diego Simeone’s side.
The warning signs have been there all season. Aside from a decent six-week run in September and October, Atleti have looked far from the side that reached the Champions League final and pushed until the very end in La Liga last season.
Cholo’s men have now played each of the top 5 (a top five that DOESN’T include Atlético), taking just one point which came against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. The rest have been pretty comprehensive defeats.
Once again, tonight the team looked toothless in attack, short on ideas and in all truth – lacking the motivation and intensity required to play for this club.
Villarreal started on the front foot, and, although Atleti struck the post early on via a deflected effort from Koke which may or may not have counted due to an offside in the box, they remained there for most of the match.
They were gifted the opening goal when Tiago played a short ball back to Godín, he was beaten to it by Sansone which allowed Trigueros to nip in, side-step Lucas and score.
Simeone immediately gave the Portuguese midfielder the hook, although it was later confirmed that his substitution was due to an injury and not the mistake as many first thought.
Shortly after it was 2-0. Another comedy of errors saw Oblak drop the ball at the feet of Dos Santos, who slotted into an empty net at the second attempt after his original stab at goal came back off the post.
Worryingly, the Slovenian also had to come off after hurting his shoulder in the process. There’s no word yet on how severe the injury is, but for a ‘keeper in particular it’s unlikely to be good news.
In between the two goals, Griezmann was denied by Asenjo when put through one-on-one, but that was as good as it would get for Atleti in terms of a response.
We had a lot of the ball in the second half, but failed to do anything meaningful with it and never really put Villarreal under any serious threat of a comeback.
Carrasco came on and had little impact, but perhaps most disappointingly there appeared to be a lack of fight in the team – the one thing you can hardly ever accusing a Simeone team of having.
Deep into stoppage time, the host side scored a third when Soriano walked through the defence to slot home in similar fashion to Trigueros in the first half. However, it wasn’t so much that Villarreal were really good, Atleti were just that bad.
It’s fair to say that this may well be the first “crisis” that Cholo has faced since his early days as manager, and with a transfer ban, uncertainty surrounding his future and a feeling of contempt amongst the fan base, it will be interesting to see how he deals with it.
Defensively we look unrecognisable, having conceded 14 goals now in 15 league matches. Last season it took 30 games for us to let in that many. Physically and mentally, there are also clear problems.
Next up is the last La Liga round of the year, with Las Palmas set to visit the Vicente Calderón. If we don’t get a reaction, things may start to turn ugly.
Player ratings: Oblak 4, Juanfran 4, Godín, 4, Savic 5, Lucas 5, Gabi 4, Koke 3, Tiago 4, Correa 4, Griezmann 3, Gameiro 5. Subs: Saúl 4, Moyá 5, Carrasco 4.
Dare we ask your thoughts on the match? What needs changing for Atleti to get back on track?