La Liga: Eibar 0 – 2 Atlético

Atlético back up to fourth with 2-0 win in difficult conditions against Eibar

Players celebrate Saúl's (fortunate) opening goal

Players celebrate Saúl's (fortunate) opening goal

It wasn’t pretty, but Atlético Madrid battled their way to an important 2-0 win away at Eibar on Saturday afternoon thanks to second half goals from Saúl Ñíguez and Antoine Griezmann.

After a forgettable first half, the red and whites dug deep after the break to take all three points, but were a little fortunate to take the lead as replays showed a clear offside on goalscorer Saúl.

All the talk pre-match was about Simeone’s team selection, with the Argentine opting to play Josema Giménez alongside Gabi in midfield, and giving starts to Sime Vrsaljko and Fernando Torres.

The Atleti boss knew he was in for a battle at Ipurúa, and that was exactly what he got in a first half that involved a lot of mistakes, heavy touches, long balls and very little actual football.

On a frosty pitch with temperatures as low as 3°C, it was Eibar who started the stronger, making life uncomfortable for the visitors and causing trouble with their direct wing play.

Very few chances were actually created in the first period, but there were some moments of controversy, particularly when the home side were not given a goal after Vrsaljko handled inside the box.

It was unintentional, but Eibar players and fans were incensed as the referee opted to wave play on. The Croatian was already on a yellow, although Adrián González had also been let off the hook after handling whilst on a yellow shortly before.

Just before half-time, Sergi Enrich had a great chance to open the scoring when the ball fell into his path inside the box, but his touch just deserted him at the vital moment.

Changes were needed for the away side, and Simeone chose to throw on Juanfran in place of Vrsaljko for the second half. The Croatian wasn’t having a great time of it, but one of Cholo‘s trusted warriors helped make a difference.

Atleti broke the deadlock against the run of play on 54 minutes, and from a short corner, Saúl Ñíguez got in front of his marker to nod Filipe Luís’ cross into the far corner.

It was a goal that came out of nowhere given the course of the match, and although they weren’t complaining, the rojiblancos will admit they got a little lucky as replays showed a clear offside.

Eibar responded immediately and stepped up their intensity level, forcing Atleti back towards their own penalty box as they pressed for an equaliser.

They had a number of good chances to get back on level terms, most notably when Pedro León somehow smashed the ball wide when free inside the box, but each time the visitors managed to scramble the ball away.

It was the Atleti of old, under the kosh but refusing to lie down, and putting their bodies on the line to preserve their lead. Fifteen minutes from the end, their resilience was rewarded.

With his team defending in numbers, Cholo brought on Kevin Gameiro for the closing stages with a view to hitting on the counter attack, and his decision came up trumps as the Frenchman combined with compatriot Antoine Griezmann for the second goal.

The two of them were causing problems with their speed, and after finding some space, Gameiro ran onto his strike parner’s pass ahead of the goalkeeper and squared for Griezmann to bundle home.

It was Grizi’s first league goal in 10 matches and 846 minutes of play, but one that came at a crucial time and was enough to help his team to an invaluable 2-0 win.

Eibar continued to push, and almost scored when Godín smashed a clearance off of Giménez on the line that could’ve resulted in an own goal, but were unable to break the Atleti door down.

The win takes us back up to fourth for the time being, and with Real Sociedad hosting Sevilla and Barcelona travelling to Villarreal later on this weekend, means we’ll make up ground at least two of the teams around us.

Next up is the second leg of our Copa del Rey clash with Las Palmas on Tuesday night, before a league clash with Real Betis next Saturday evening.

Player ratings: Moyá 6, Vrsaljko 5, Godín 7, Savic 7, Filipe 7, Gabi 8 (MOTM), Giménez 7, Koke 6, Saúl 7, Griezmann 7, Torres 6. Subs: Juanfran 6, Gameiro 7.

  • Vagabond Messi

    Great result.

  • Georgi Marinov

    Tragedy once again ! Center back in the miedfield, two defensive midfilders on the wingers, Gaitan and Correa on the bench !?!?!? Cholo, next time put Lucas instead of Griezman, and bring back Theo to play as striker….

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    We really needed this win, and we really need a winning streak, not to keep our hopes in the title, we have to forget about it (only for now), but to retake “our” 3rd place, 4th place isn’t as a good, it does not guarantee you a spot in UCL group stage, while finishing out of the top 4 will be disastrous, it could destroy all what Simeone built in the last 5 years.

    Those are our next fixtures before we host Barca :
    Betis (H), Athletic (A), Alaves (A), Leganes (H), Celta (H), Gijon (A)
    We must win all those games, even the one at San Mames, we’ve already used all our quota of losing tough games.
    In few minutes La Real will play Sevilla, a game that any outcome of it will benefit us (personally I prefer a win for La Real even if it means that we stay out of the top 4 for one more week, what do you think), and there will be a lot of those kind of games (our rivals playing each others) in the coming 6 or 7 weeks as I mentioned before, we just need to do our homework.

    After that we must figure out a way to beat Sevilla, Villarreal & La Real who will come to the Calderon and park the bus, and they know how to do that, and we struggle to score against much lesser teams.
    Sevilla and Villarreal succeeded to get 0-0 draws from the Calderon last season, and if we managed to score just one goal against each of them we would have won the title.

    Then if we won all those games, we might still have a chance to fight for the title, as I said many times : it’s not over yet, not until Real Madrid visit Sanchez Pizjuan, Balaidos, Mestalla & El Madrigal in the next 8 weeks.
    Once again, people need to stop looking only at the table and ignore the schedule.

    For a fan of team where “partido a partido” is a religion, this comment is an absolute blasphemy, I know, but I can’t help it.

  • Ahmad Musa

    All that matters is the 3 point. Gimenez impressed in DM. Hope Griezmann keep on the scoring form in 2017. 2 in 2 already. Gameiro far better than Torres.

  • Vagabond Messi

    But he’s not tall and tough .

  • iamfaried

    Apart from thinking about the schedule, this is all just cholo philosophy. Thinking about 3rd place and not thinking about the title.

    Atleti will settle down soon. Hopefully YFC returns from injury along with oblak.

    It’s time we revert back to our 442. Juanfran Godin Josema Felipe – Koke Gabi Saul YFC – Gameiro Grizzi. With either Correa or Gaitan coming on when an offensive approach is required. Torres plays better as a last 30min or so sub.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    You know, every time you write YFC it takes me a while to figure out that you mean Carrasco, at first I think it’s a club!!
    Could you please write Carrasco, it’s not that hard or long, don’t be lazy 😉
    Even if you misspelled it, that’s fine, you misspelled Filipe but we all knew who you meant.

  • Zinni DUDU

    Athletico; Antonio Griezmann, Diego Simone HAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Yeah, that’s how many British people pronounce those names as I said, and Arsenal fans want to take those two from us but didn’t bother to learn their names, but that can not be compared to pronouncing Wenger -after 20 years at their club- with a W instead of a V.

    The British are also the ones who invented those silly names abbreviations, DDG, LVG, can’t you write De Gea and van Gaal?!
    And don’t you dare to blame the 140 characters of twitter, they are more than enough, you are just lazy.

  • Usavicente Calderon

    Gaitan and Correa didn’t see the field today. But we won, so what do I know. F.Torres should be on the bench most of the time though. Put Correa out be for Torres. Torres should be a super sub all the time.

  • AnonX

    Good and Not so Good !
    I am resign to the fact that this is the best attacking version of Simeone. He doesn’t know how to create an Attacking but defensively though team, what else is expected of a def mid mind set but I am not complaining because I am accepting this limitation as long that it gives the desired result. Which is a ‘Cup’.
    I am not happy for this kind of disregard on our creative players that were brought into the Club by the promise that they are needed. I believe the Club should either honour their promises to them or transfer them to other clubs where their talents will be more needed and appreciated.
    International players training and sitting on the bench is such a tragic waste of time, form and talent that will definately and unnecessarily jeopardize their game and bright career.

    Do Not get players you don’t need and want to use and Do Not keep tinkering the system and formation of the team. It will only bring loss and negative results in the end.

    Stick to One and bring the result and Don’t compromise other’s career.

    Aupa ATLETI !!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    That’s why I changed my mind about signing Mohamed Salah after I saw what Simeone did to other players like him.
    Many Egyptians thought -and some still think- that Atleti will be a great step forward for him, but they’re obviously not Atleti fans and don’t know Simeone.

    I’m an Egyptian Atleti fan who does not want Salah to join us, that sums up a lot.

  • AnonX

    Well one day hopefully soon, we’ll get that true version of Atleti. But for now not under Simeone it seems which I’m hoping to be proven wrong.
    [email protected] Gabi !

  • Ahmad Musa

    Yes but plays better. Haven’t you noticed he assisted Griezmann last 2 goals.

  • Paweł Kosiński

    And what exactly does Torres’s height and toughness give us? Certainly not goals nor assists, which is surprisingly what strikers ought to do.

  • Kris

    He was being sarcastic to other commenters on here who call Gameiro and Griezmann gnomes and smurfs.

  • Vagabond Messi

    If you ask my geniune opinion about Torres? he had no business playing 120minutes of cl final, it was scandalous to see A new coach like Zizou taking off Benzema for Lucas Vazquez while Simeone kept on Torres who did nothing except losing ball on goal scoring opportunities. Gameiro gives a lot more than this version of Torres. Name alone just don’t cut it.

  • Vagabond Messi

    Salah destroyed Madrid , to me he doesn’t lose ball once he’s on run , only his bad finishing let team down, if he could finish his chances i’d take him in a heart beat. .

  • To be honest, I’m happy about the three points, of course. But I expect more out of this team for a full 90 minutes. The first-half was abysmal.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    My views on this game are the same as the few before. Yes the 3 points are important but I’m worried about our performances, if Eibar had better finishers I’m pretty sure we would be talking about a different result. Its the line up choices our coach makes that gets me so irrate.

    The two goals we scored had nothing to do with changes made to the side, the first goal was offside but not given (thankfully) and the second goal came from our strikers linking up well. The defensive changes didn’t help with our goals nor did they really help with the defence from what I saw.

    Not being negative, I’m being realistic, if we play like this against a better side we’ll be beaten and that should be obvious but hey just like everyone else I can only watch and discuss the matches and also be hopeful things keep going well. But a victory should never hide the truth tho

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Salah does need to improve a little bit on finishing, and he did improve this season, he also can improve on dribbling too, but his finishing last season was not bad, he scored 14 goals in Serie A last season, compared to 4 for Carrasco in La Liga, and I was crucified for criticizing Carrasco for that.

    Salah is only 1 year older than Carrasco, last season was also his first at Roma like Carrasco at Atleti, if some people wanted to use adaptation as an excuse as they love to (players need to adapt to all teams and coaches, this is not a special thing for Atleti and Simeone), and Salah only came to Europe in 2012 and he had to learn and to adapt to too many things, Carrasco was born and raised in Europe.

    Salah is better than all of our current attacking players except Grizi, he is good enough right now to join us, but I really don’t want him to.

    Salah is a great example about the failure of Simeone’s policy with signing new players, especially attacking ones.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    And what do you think is the reason for that abysmal first half ?!

  • Vagabond Messi

    I don’t watch Salah as much as you do Ahmad , but from what i’ve watched him , he looked like a fine player who can do wonders for counter attacking side , everyone praised Carrasco for his display in cl final , but he does over doing on the run and don’t pass it , Carrasco had two opportunity to pass in cl final but he kept running untill he was rugby tackled by Ramos . salah on the other hand is super fast and intelligent with his runs , he passes whenever he see other player free. Imho, Salah can do wonders if his partner is as clinical as Griezmann. Sad thing is this Atleti is not even a proper counter attacking side , i feel shocked when people laud this team as one of best counter attacking side , just watch Villareal playing super fluid counter attacking football with half good players.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    No, we are not a counter attacking side anymore.
    Not with 4 non creative CMs, not with 6 of our 7 defenders on the pitch at the same time, not with fast, skillful and goalscorers like Gaitan, Correa & Carrasco are on the bench.

    And if we are not a counter attacking side, I really don’t know what we are.

  • SherbetDip

    What’s the CL final (where many key players under performed) got to do with this game? Take your hatred of Torres elsewhere.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Taking about “strikers linking up”, Gameiro has 4 assists in La Liga so far this season and another one in Copa del Rey, ALL OF THEM were for Griezmann. While of the 5 assists Gameiro got for his 7 goals, 2 were from Griezmann.
    It’s clearly a great partnership, and it has been working well for France as well.

    Gameiro has 7 goals and 5 assists this season in just 1400 minutes of play, could have been better, but it’s still not bad, he cost 32 million plus bonuses, the numbers of our only other number 9, Torres, isn’t so good, yet Gameiro is still not our first choice striker!!!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    When it comes to Torres, I proclaim myself the voice of reason.
    Torres deserved to start the CL final after his great form in the last few months of the season, and because he was our only number 9 after what happened with Jackson and Vietto.
    And I think he did all right in that final, he won a penalty, can’t ask for more, he did more than what Cristiano did that night.

    But, I don’t think he should have played all the 120 minutes, and I think everybody knows who should have come on for him, Correa. Many people -including journalists and pundits- believe that we would have scored and won the title if that happened.

    The opposite happened in 201/15 quarter final 2nd leg when the very slow Mandzukic stayed on the pitch for the whole 90 minutes, and Torres, with the psychological advantage he had at that time over Real Madrid and with his speed -while we were defending with 10 then 9 players and looking for one counter to finish off the game- didn’t play a single minute.

    I don’t think Vagabond hate Torres as you claim, Sherbet. Nor does anybody -or at least most- of who criticize him here.
    And I don’t like it when it looks like that some people are Torres fans or Simeone fans more than they are Atletico fans.

    Torres is a substitute, a super one, like he has been in many occasions since his return, but he can’t carry a team like Atleti as a main striker a whole season, for several logical and understandable reasons, and he himself accept that.
    Many people wanted Torres gone by the end of last season when he was struggling to get that 100th goal -Billy was one of them by the way- but not me, I believed in him, and he didn’t disappoint me (I AM NOT NEGATIVE).
    Many people also want him gone by the end of this season, but still not me, he must be with us when we move to the Metropolitano, he earned that, and he still have some football and some goals in him.
    And his off pitch value, especially marketing is undeniable, maybe Gameiro is our best striker this season, maybe Carrasco is our best player, Grizi is the one who finished 3rd in Ballon d’Or, but Torres is still a bigger image for the club more than any of them.

    Torres is not finished, but he shouldn’t be our first choice striker either.

    I want Torres to be our Totti, I want him to stay for many more years as a sub instead of going to MLS or China or an Arab league, if he wants that.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    After winning La Liga and reaching UCL final in 2014, Simeone has changed a lot, he became very conservative, some people may even use the term “coward”, and he didn’t need to be like that, he had a good enough squad to play good football and give players fair chances and still achieve his objectives, 3rd place in La Liga and UCL quarter finals, which where he finished with that ugly football, that frustration, that hanging by a thread and winning very easy games by 1-0 at the last minute or by shootouts.

    I only watched 2016 final once, I didn’t watch any news or analysis and I didn’t read a lot about it after. Until today I can’t, when I see anything about that game on TV I quickly change the channel, it hurts a lot, not just that we lost the title, but also we handed it over to Real Madrid -who didn’t even deserve to reach the semifinal- after knocking out Barca and Bayern who may have beaten Madrid in the final.
    So, I actually have forgotten that Zidane brought in Lucas for Benzema, even a rookie like him had more balls than Simeone, who talks a lot about cojones.

    Of course Simeone gets all the credit for knocking out two giants like Barca & Bayern, and I don’t think there are many coaches who can do that with a team like Atleti, but he also takes all the blame for losing against an average side like Real Madrid of last season, but many people want us to remember the first and completely forget about the second, and also forget about Gijon, Levante, Rayo, Getafe, Alaves, Leganes, Las Palmas, and the list is too long.
    Sorry, that will not happen.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    It seems that we are not minority after all !!
    If people want Koke in the center that means they want Tiago & Augusto on the bench.
    The majority don’t wan’t the 4CMs.

    Now I want to know about their opinion of the 3 CMs, I would love it and appreciate it if you started another poll about who should be the other two midfeilders with Gabi-Koke:

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    It seems that we are not minority after all !!
    If people want Koke in the center that means they want Tiago & Augusto on the bench.
    The majority don’t wan’t the 4CMs.

    Now I want to know about their opinion of the 3 CMs, I would love it and appreciate it if you started another poll about who should be the other two midfeilders with Gabi-Koke:

  • Atwan Grizmahn

    4-2-1-3 Next La Liga starting XI

  • Hannu

    Maybe for the same reasons as you dont want Salah to join us our current attacking players struggle as well as Carrasco last season?

  • Hannu


  • Vagabond Messi

    I never said he didn’t deserve the start, i said he didn’t deserve 120 minutes in final , no offense but RM were on their last leg begging to be punished and anyone could see need of fresh leg after 60minute. Noone here hates Torres or Simeone , football is about tactics, strategy and reacting to situation during match with right substitution. When a new coach like Zizou can take off player of Benzema calibre for fresh leg, why can’t Simeone do same? We see his same usual CMs week in week out nomatter what the situation or opposition , that shouldn’t be the case, my point is if some player is not doing fine , another on bench deserve chance.

  • Karlp

    Villarreal is very underrated for their attacking and beautiful play. They sit very deep like us, but have a very fluid counter attack. Most of their player also very underrated, especially Trigueros.

    I actually rated them higher than Sevilla, who I think don’t play beautiful football but keep getting good results (kinda like last year Atleti).

    Still, I believe things will get better again for us, both for the results and the performance itself.

  • ssyoung

    Torres is a traditional striker who needs good service and crosses to score goals.He is completely different to diego costa,forlan or aguero.I think he is similar to falcao,who was the best in the world with good service but looked like a 2nd division player outside the penalty box when the team underperformed.

    Age has nothing to do with this.With our pathetic system,even the best no. 9’s in the world like ibrahimovic ,aduriz ,falcao,lewandowski,higuain,etc. are bound to struggle.For example,if you take out pogba and mata out of the equation and replace them with defenders,zlatan will not score for months.If simeone would have taken out Diego and arda ,falcao would have suffered a similar fate.

    Gameiro is a very good player but he is no forlan who could score goals out of nowhere from the midfield with either foot nor he is a falcao who could destroy defences with his amazing turns and bullet headers.Besides his poor aerial ability,Gameiro looks ineffective in closed spaces.

    If simeone is willing to play gaitan and carrasco as wingers and vrsaljko as RB ,then I see no reason why torres should fail as a starter.Even with limited service ,he was brilliant in the second half of the last season.If not for simeone ,I think he could have kept that form coming into the new season.Then we wouldnt even need to sign gameiro as we could have always kept Borja as a backup if Torres failed.If he succeded,he could be our Totti and start for us for another 2 years while borja could have grown as a sub to finally replace him.But we sold our own player Borja whose career,sadly, is going downhill day by day at swansea .

  • Vagabond Messi

    I can watch 14 final , but i can’t watch last year’s cl final , reason is in 14 final they kept attacking left right and it was only a matter of time , while in last year’s final it was them sitting back and doing nothing while we kept playing for a draw after Equaliser. I knew we had to kill this in ET, but in ET we were defensive , i saw relief on face of Zidane after ET , he knew job was done , people don’t give Zidane much credit but he reads game well and come with full preparation , Oblak have had problem saving penalty to his left side ( that was apparent after shoot out against PSV) RM’s all penalty was pre planned and placed to the left. I and many who watched Oblak shoot out performance before knew Atleti needed a miracle to win the shoot out , Ironically his coach didn’t know that and he went defensive in extra -time.

  • Gol

    The only way to beat Real Madrid is to control the midfield. How would a 3-1-5-1 formation work against them?

  • Vagabond Messi

    I’ve heard so much about this only way my friend , first it was Pep Barca and now this Madrid , this Madrid is not as strong as many here thinks , last year they lucked out cl trophy with Europa league draw , I’d still take Barca and Bayern as favourite against them over two legs.

  • Gol

    Atleti needs to get 3-0 and 4-0 wins. Bonus if it’s with hattricks.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    You know I absolutely agree about the system, but I have to disagree about Torres being always a traditional striker who depends on services to score.
    At his prime, Torres used to create many chances for himself and for his teammates, he used to make great runs and dribbles, he used to score from great shots from inside and outside the box, he did that in his first spell at Atleti and especially with Liverpool.
    At his prime, Torres was better than Costa & Aguero, those two never finished 3rd in Ballon d’Or, never will, Torres did in 2008.

    I can say the same about Falcao, of course he needed services most of the time, that’s the normal thing about strikers, but in many other times he didn’t, he scored after a great run form our own half or after a number of dribbles, or a genius chip from outside the area like the ones in Mallorca and San Sebastian, sometimes the only service he needed was a throw-in like in one of his “manita” against Depor, and sometimes he gave services to his teammates, like the assist for Costa in Copa del Rey final after dribbling Albiol not once or twice, but three times.

    I actually see a lot of similarities between Falcao and Forlan, and I really really wished to see them together, but I prefer Forlan, and I think very few Atleti fans share that opinion with me.

    But again, I agree, even the old version of Torres and of Falcao would have struggled under this new system of Simeone that definitely has nothing to do with the system Falcao played under when he was here.
    Of course those two at their primes would have scored more goals than Mandzukic or Gameiro, but I don’t think Falcao would have scored 35 goals a season.
    And it’s not just speculations, we have seen that with our own eyes with other players, like Vietto, who prospered under good systems in Villarreal and Sevilla before and after playing under Simeone’s poor system.

    Those two teams could kick us out of UCL spots this season, with limited resources, we have much bigger resources than them that some of their key players are actually on loan from us!!

    Both of those two teams have new coaches and several new players after losing several key players like they do every season, while Atleti have the same coach for 5 years, they didn’t lose any key players last summer, something that didn’t happen for a very long time, in fact, the ONLY player who left in the summer -beside the loanees- is Gamez. While the ONLY new player who is playing regularly this season -and not even that regularly, 1400 minutes out of 2340 possible, less than 60%- is Gameiro.
    But yet, Sevilla and Villarreal do not look under transformation at all, while Cholistas want to force us to believe that we are.

    This is fucking amazing.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I said before that when sometimes I say “fuck Simeone” it’s because I get frustrated and because it’s football and this kind of language is used a lot, and that Simeone himself uses it with his own players.
    Well, I just watched him few minutes ago on El Día Después screaming “la concha de tu madre” at Godin.