Monday morning hangover

Atlético talking points following the weekend clash at Málaga

Atletico defender alvaro dominguez celebrates his first goal with kun aguero against malaga

Domínguez celebrates his goal (Colchonero.com)

Atlético inched closer to the targeted Champions League spots with a strong showing en route to a 3-0 away victory over Málaga. While we at AtléticoFans are thrilled with the weekend’s result, there are still some points that we would like to mull over before diving into the new week.

Forlan rested
No Atleti supporter is surprised anymore by Quique’s line-up shuffling. The Rosaleda stadium likely breathed a collective sigh of relief when Málaga fans realised that World Cup MVP Diego Forlán wasn’t starting against their side. But the fact is, us Colchoneros know that no one on the squad is safe from spending a match or two parked on the bench, courtesy of the whims of our manager.

Before pesky rumours of another altercation surfaced, Quique explained after the game that Forlán was simply rested the same way Reyes had been against Bayer Leverkusen on Thursday. Cachavacha should be expected to start against Espanyol on Wednesday.

Kun is human after all
Agüero had one of his worst games of the season yesterday and looked like he was missing his long-time strike partner Forlán.

The few times Kun managed to approach the opponents’ 18-yard box, he seemed uncharacteristically hurried and lost; strange, given that he has been cooler than ice cold this past month while in the penalty area.

We always talk about Forlán being ineffective without Kun, but yesterday it became clear that sometimes Kun is just as needy of the partnership as his blonde associate is.

Godin missing in action
Diego Godín’s spot in the starting XI was a given after the first couple of weeks of the season, but ever since his return from his appendectomy he hasn’t convinced his coach that he is back up to par. The Uruguayan hasn’t seen a minute of action in three consecutive matches.

With Domínguez earning Quique’s respect again and Perea routinely turning in solid performances and making some crucial defensive stops, Godín’s short term future looks murky. It will be interesting to see what Quique will do once the 24-year-old reaches peak form again.

Simao, out with a bang
Just like José Manuel Jurado was, Simao is a player that many of us tended to take for granted up until now…the point that he is set to depart. The Portuguese winger helped plow the snow-covered field of the BayArena running wild in a solid showing against Leverkusen, and was instrumental in our victory over Málaga by taking all three freekicks that led to our goals. He added two more assists to his Atleti career total in his final domestic league game with Los Colchoneros.

The scenario here is all-too eerily familiar, bringing to mind Jurado’s abrupt exit to Schalke. Atleti, on a high note following two straight league wins, is on the verge of dumping a starting, veteran player; in this case, a captain, smack-dab in the middle of the season.

Many of us are starting to feel apprehensive again, bracing for the consequences of another bonehead move that will come back to haunt us in the near future.

4-3-3 the future?
A big question going into our Copa del Rey clash on Wednesday is whether or not Quique will stick with the conservative 4-3-3 “triple-pivot” formation he has gone with the last two games, or if he will go back to the standard 4-4-2 double-headed dragon set up.

Espanyol dissected us with their lightning quick counters in their recent visit to the Calderón, so a conservative approach may be justified. But, it’s hard to imagine that Quique will play it so safely on home turf.

Antonio Lopez stayed back in Madrid
Our scruffy captain was kept out of the match selection, leaving us with only one natural left-back in the squad that traveled to Málaga. Does this mean Filipe Luís has finally cemented his place in the line-up?

Was there anything you were left dwelling on after the match?


  • Derek Maaijen

    Although it included three centre midfielders I wouldn’t say our formation in recent matches was a 4-3-3. It was our standard formation, with Raúl García stuck on the right wing, which, especially against Málaga, gave us a lot of stability with and without possession. I do hope it continues, although we have to wonder where it leaves Reyes.

    Great analysis Martin!

  • Flo

    Great arcticle Martin. I don’t think there is any more to say. You summed it up well.

  • Ringo Schut

    Reyes on Simao’s spot?

  • Gert

    completely off topic: does anyone know if it’s possible to purchase tickets for a match like eg Atletico – Real in March?

    thanks
    Gert

  • Derek Maaijen

    Normally you can purchase through the website of Servicaixa, Gert. But I’m afraid you won’t be able to for the match against Real Madrid.
    You could see if any sports travel agency offers a trip to Madrid, but the easiest way is to approach a peña. Are you a member of a peña? Then send them an email and ask if they can arrange the ticket(s) for you.

  • Gert

    Derek

    I’m not a member of a peña no. I don’t think there even is one in Belgium so …

    I’ll try to contact the German or Dutch .

    Thanks for the info

  • Kaminero

    Good points by the writer! On the one hand, we’re back in the race for the UCL spots with two comfortable wins and our January schedule could look much worse (Racing, Hercules, Mallorca, Gijon). On the other, however, our team roster and formation are a huge question mark right now. We are living through interesting times…