La Liga: Barcelona 5 – 0 Atlético

Atlético back to earth after humiliating defeat in Catalonia

Messi and Villa celebrate a goal (AS)

Messi and Villa celebrate a goal (AS)

Atlético travelled to the Camp Nou on Saturday night, only to receive a thumping by the hands of a magical Barcelona.

Tiago hit the crossbar for Atleti early on, but the match was soon decided by the Blaugrana who toyed with their opponents for the rest of the night.

Gregorio Manzano made some surprising changes to his starting line-up. Despite conceding just one goal in our previous eight matches, he decided to drastically change our defensive line.

He introduced Antonio López and Diego Godín, who came in for Álvaro Domínguez and Filipe. Atlético was also without right back Sílvio.

It remains doubtful whether any defence would have been able to stop Barcelona, but the performance by our back four on call tonight was shameful to say the least.

In the ninth minute Luis Perea completely missed a ball played over the top by Xavi, and David Villa immediately made the most of Barça’s first chance. He cut inside, faked a shot and slotted the ball past Thibaut Courtois.

Some minutes later Antonio López was caught by surprise when another diagonal ball was played in behind our defence, but Pedro shot wide.

Soon after, Barcelona did double their lead. Pedro played a one-two through Atlético’s defence and the ball ended up at Messi’s feet. Courtois did well to stop the Argentine’s effort, but the ball bounced off Miranda and comically ended up in the back of our net.

In the 26th minute the entire team switched off when Messi was allowed to skip past three players unchallenged. The World Player of the Year then beat Courtois at the near post to make it 3-0 to the home side.

Just before the break Fabregas almost scored a magnificent lob from 40 yards out, but the ball bounced off the crossbar.

At the start of the second half Manzano tried to repair the damage by making a double substitution, but Barcelona continued to dominate while Atleti struggled to reach striker Falcao.

Thibaut Courtois managed to prevent a fourth goal, by keeping out opportunities for Messi and Villa. Atleti were at the mercy of Barcelona, but the Catalans turned down the tempo in the second half and picked their moments.

After being brought down with a rash challenge by Perea, Messi curled a free kick just wide of the post. It was a prelude to his masterpiece in the 78th minute. After skipping past several Atlético midfielders, Messi dribbled inside the box and left Courtois without a chance by slotting the ball in the far corner with a low shot.

Despite all the offensive players that were brought on, Atleti never troubled Victor Valdés. The only time the goalkeeper was called upon was when he rushed out to prevent Adrián from reaching to a splicing pass. The ball fell before Gabi, but his shot went just wide off the post. At the other end Xavi’s volley was off target.

In the added time Lionel Messi completed his hat-trick. He set up a short combination with David Villa and scored his eighth goal of the season through the legs of Courtois.

The goalkeeper became the seventh Atlético ‘keeper to be beaten by Lionel Messi, who scored the 17th goal of his career against us.

Atlético will have to regroup, because on Thursday the squad travels to Rennes for our second match in Group I of the Europa League.

Line-up: Courtois; Perea, Miranda, Godín, López; Tiago (“79 Adrián), Mario (“46 Arda), Gabi; Reyes (“46 Salvio), Falcao and Diego.

Goals: 1-0 Villa (“13); 2-0 Miranda (o.g.)(“16); 3-0 Messi (“26); 4-0 Messi (“78); 5-0 Messi (“91)

  • k14

    Playing Godin. might make me lose faith in Manzano
    Every single goal was godin fault for breaking the offside, except the 1 goal where he totally fucked up in another way, he just came from injury and out of sync with the others.

    Should have played Alvaro and Filipe, we needed faster players for this game, and more important, they would have worked out the offside line better.

    also, Assuncao would have been a better choice for this game instead if mario

  • 7th

    I knew we would lose, but not like this,

    why the hell Manzano didnt play felipe luis and Arda turan from the start?

    i said to myslef, this maybe they will enter second half, to add fresh legs.

    well, at lease sub them in even when we r losing,

    we could lose, but we could have scored and created chances. its shameful.

    anyway, whats the secret of messi always scoring against us?

    offical manzano is a big flop in big games.

  • AtletienPhila

    I doubted the starting line-up when I saw it, and I was right.

    It is important to rotate throughout the season, especially with three competitions. Against the best teams, though, you have to put your best players–i.e., most match fit–on the pitch.

    It was a mistake to play Godin. It was not fair to expect him to perform at the highest level his first game back.

    I don’t like Tiago and Gabi. Turan and Koke are better options, in my view.

    Barca will score goals, but I was more impressed with its defense. Atleti struggled to create anything, especially in the first half.

    Turan’s speed and creativity were needed from the beginning.

    Frankly, I also question playing Diego if he was not 100%.

  • atletisrael

    Courtios could have played better, second goal was clearly off side (not that it mattered) and godin was a mistake.
    Exapt from the first goal i think perea was our best player and looked like he is all the defense that we have. Shame on us…
    Manzano is still ok in my book and the changes at HT were actually good, but only becaouse they changed lineups mistakes (like what the hell was reyes role in this game? I’m not sure that even he knew).
    Too bad for the score caouse i think we didn’t play that bad. Only this annoying moskito that no one but perea could stop today (what a great foul on the las 10 minuets)

  • Davide

    Manzano looked so promising for awhile. Now he has also started making team selections in the true spirit of Quique. We probably would have lost anyway. Send Lopez back to cantera, it’s his level of football the last 2 years. And why does he still think that he can hit Del Piero freekicks? Worthless sense of self image…

    I absolutely hate playing with the “3 defensive stooges” line up in centre of the pitch. None of them can carry a ball out from the midfield to offensive positions like Diego.

    Every single game has looked better when we have adjusted later in the match by taking out of those three (Gabi, Tiago or Mario).

    Gabi was playing out wide most of the game (specially first half because of all the three players where running into eachother in the exact same pivote position.

    Manzano needs to have his wage deducted for such a nonsense team sheet.

    Godín…. back after long injury and severly lacking match fitness gets played against the fastest players in the league at Camp Nou. Brilliant planing!

  • Ringo

    I wouldn’t rate the team on this game.
    Manzano made a mistake with the defensive line and perhaps the midfield.
    It was clear Courtois and (especially) Miranda initially had troubles handling the pressure, rushing into things too much.
    Playing Lopez was just really stupid, why didn’t he play him, and perhaps Godin, against Sporting, if you want to get at least respect out of Camp Nou, start with your very own Dominator and Filipe.
    The midfield had troubles connecting because of pressure at first and perhaps because of loss of spirit after three conceded goals.
    Since Atletico passes nowadays, it’s even more important for the most offensive players, that at least a few players of the midfield and defense play well, today that wasn’t really the case.
    I hope Manzano will finally see that Reyes isn’t our best RW anymore. In a collection of eleven indiviuals, his play stands out, in a team, he also stands out, but very negatively.

    Lessons can be learned from this game.
    The team has to grow further, to be confident in the big games and Manzano needs put more dare in his line-ups.
    Diego instead of Mario or Tiago seems like a good start. Also, why leave out Koke? He clearly needs to adapt to Manzano’s way, but he’s a great CM to have on the bench, if someone falls out injured. Plus, Juanfran is getting more useless every day.

    So, no bad feelings need to start growing as of yet, there’s still a great future for this team and Manzano still deserves a chance.

  • Xisco

    “Courtois could have played better?”, as far as im concerned he had nothing to do in the 5 goals, in fact he was our best man. we just played really ugly, we were a cartoon today. it looked like knew already Barca was gonna win. we were not even trying. All the Atleti players looked like statues except Courtois. And Manzano… why the hell he rotated players makes no sense is not like we are playing CL next week just E. League no need to rotate player anyways i wonder which place will we finish.

  • akr

    it is a shame to see atleti like this !!! diego anf godin back from injury to play 90min against barça and messi!??? wtf manzano!!! antonio lopez have to play just copa del rey against 2 and division!!!!!!

  • starvs

    Benching Dominguez to play Godin in his first match of the year? That is so obviously terrible I honestly don’t understand how it could be done. Same with A.Lo /Filipe really.

  • Mais

    I am so confused by Manzanos choices today..almost seems as if he didn’t want a win
    Piggyback that with guardiolas n mourinhos weird patronizing comments about not expecting their teams to land the top two spots this year n I’m left with a weird feeling in my gut
    Today just didn’t seem right

  • atletisrael

    The only explanation I can think of is that manzano didn’t want his best team, the one rhat got 10-0 on the last week, to lose.
    If so frankly i think he’s wrong. U should ler ur best feel that there is something they could to do better.

  • Javi

    Bad choice of players and bad strategy with the players we had: we just waited to see what barsa would do while they would pressure us at every step, that took us out of our game and disrupted whatever game plan Manzano may have had and they put the nails in the coffin with three goals in 25 minutes
    I felt bad for Courtois, poor kid had nothing to do with those goals, he looked totally destroyed. I hope this game does not leave a long term negative effect on him
    Barsa was unstoppable. We have a lot of work ahead

  • Wate

    Bla bla bla bla Manzano. Blabla bla bla coaching error. Bla bla blaa bla defence. Blaabadi blaablaah.

  • Urban

    ok just forget about this one and lets focus on france trip and sevilla.

  • Javi

    What’s up Wate? What’s your tAke on things

  • Davide


    He is probably a Barcelonasupporter. The have a hoard of these kinda mentally challenged five year olds that have no idea why they support Barcelona, except of course because that they friends told them to or that they wanted to be a part of a social group of people that only support teams when they win something.

    I have learnt over the years to avoid getting into any kind of conversation with these people as they are likely to give you brain tumor rather than enlighten you.

  • Wate

    I was just adding to the conversation. The game was horrible, there’s no use to further analyse such a miserable performance. Seems like everybody’s a critic and they have the experience and knowledge to know better than Manzano. I’m really curious to know how many of us have any experience in coaching football, let alone playing the sport in a competitive level.

    And no, Davide, I’m not a Barsa fan. I respect the team, of course, and think it’s one of the best ever but I still hate the guts of every fucking idiot who dives and acts and whines like baby girl. Yes, I’m looking at Iniesta, Alves and most of all Busquets, the waste of space.

    I’ve been an Rojiblanco for only a few years, since 2005, but I care for this club a lot. I respect and love the colors, more than the players.

  • Javi

    Ok I see
    I have a lot of RM friends, they turn like the leaves
    Yesterday I was watching their game with a couple of them and while Rayo was winning all they talked about was how bad mourihno is even though they had just proclaimed him as the best coach in the world
    Wate I understand were you are coming from, I’m not a pro I did try out for atleti and RM youth teams and didn’t make them. But like the rest of us that love the team and the sport I really enjoy checking out what people say on this site and I throw my two cents in also
    By the way at age two I have pics of me and my father on the field at the old metropolitano stadium with Grifa and Jones…I ve been a dan since day one…it’s in the nlood

  • Wate

    Sorry about that, my comment was general, not aimed at you, bro.

    Of course it’s ok for us to gather and discuss the game and whatnot. It’s just the general bitchin’ and whinin’ I don’t get. It’s just like you said. People have the tendency to praise the team and coach when we are winning, even if it’s against the lesser teams, and then when we lose to Barca (which btw. is not surprising at any level) they are ripping their hair out and sprinkling ashes in their head in despair. All I hope for us is to have a sense of reason and rationality and to put things in the right perspective, even though sports, and football in particular, is a game best felt with your heart and emotion.

  • Matthijs

    We can’t compete with Barca and probably Real, we have to focus on spot 3! What did Manzano do wtih his tactics, it was shit! I hope he will stick to the 4-3-3 system. I have faith in Manzano, but he must win it back for a little bit.

    The match in Camp Nou was shit, but I still wear my shirt with proud! And also the supporters at Camp Nou were shit, no songs, no ambience! The Vicente Calderon is a real stadium with true fans!!

  • atletisrael

    Somthing even tells me to wait for barca to come to the vicente. Probably over time the team will get stronger and more syncronized. The atmosphere will be crazy in madrid

  • Lubo

    the same something is telling me exactly the same..

  • 92

    So Javi you went for tryouts with Madrid and Atleti?, that’s most interesting, it sounds awesome!, I’m sorry you didn’t make it man, I really do, but at least you tried, so I hope if you don’t mind, could you tell me what was it like?, what did the scouts say to you that they didn’t sign you?, it’s really cool knowing someone that went to tryouts for the two best teams from Madrid.

    I know that I left a bad impression by using your name, but I would really aprecciate if you share your tryouts experiences with Madrid and Atleti if that doesn’t bug you.

  • Javi

    @92 sure, it wanst that special in retrospect. Of course we were (my brother and I) very excited and we felt special to be able to try out but really you are playing with hundreds of kids on side by side fields and little by little they keep shuffling you around to different formations. You sort of get the drift as to were things are going based on the squads they tell you to play because they drop kids after each change until they have it down to about 25-35 and those are the ones that get to come back another day. We lasted a few rounds but there were some pretty good kids there
    There were a lit of coaches and scouts there but they didnt really talk to us much…a bit anticlimactic

  • 92

    I’m really sorry you didn’t make it man, but I can tell you and your brother really enjoy it and you did your best and that’s the important, I asked you to share your impressions because I also went for some tryouts, but in the US, and they were poor organized, I arrived like at 10am and I waited till 1pm and the scouts, they just gave me like 40 minutes, while other guys had like 90m and some even played two 90 minutes matches, at the time I did my mini tryout, the scouts were tired, so they decided to give me and other guys 40 minutes, and they were kind of antipatic also, they just asked me to return the vest I wore, and that was it, I didn’t make it but, I can’t complain as I tried my best, anyways, thanks for sharing your experience, I really appreciate it.

  • Javi

    Cool 92 too bad you didn’t make it
    Sounds like the US try outs are as impersonal as the Spanish ones. But there are so many people trying that you can’t expect much in the way of personal attention

  • 92

    you’re right, when there are like hundreds of guys trying to be seen, it’s impossible that the scouts only look at you, unless you have a relative or a aquaintance that knows a scout, it’s really hard to get a more personal attention chance where the scouts gather all their attention on only you.

  • k14


    Most of us seem to agree on a specific “mistake” manzano did, and you don’t need to be a professional to notice things.

    So to be honest, your the only one who seems to be “bitching” 🙂

  • Wate

    Yes I am and I shouldn’t. I know. Just wanted to get it off my chest because I’ve been looking at reactions like this for many years on different forums and IRL.

    IMO, these opinions on “mistakes” are usually made in hindsight and understandably without the information, professionalism and knowledge that’s available to the actual coach.

    It’s all good to express ones opinions about the game or any other aspect of Atletico. We still have to remember that we don’t know a fraction of the things and variables that the coach has think about. I think it’s a bit odd to make comments about tactical decisions and performance of the players when the whole plan is obscured from us and I haven’t seen anyone ever properly analyse Atletico’s performance as a team from a professional tactical viewpoint á la

    So this is why I added my comment to the discussion. Those were my true feelings. I don’t know much about anything in football and I know I don’t. That’s why I don’t want to offer any opinion on the actions of coaches or players other than superficial observations.

  • javi
  • GS Fan 1905

    I certainly did not expect this result!!

    Atleti are a quality team, in terms of what humans are capable of.

    Then there is the starting eleven from outer space called Barcelona and Messi is their leader and NO they do not come in peace.

    I don’t know what to say you guys. My condolences. 🙁

    By the way. Barca fans are the worst fans on the planet!! You’d think they were in a movie theatre watching a movie!!! WTF??????

  • fancyfartpants

    cant believe the strategy, if you play defensively, barca will dominate and score,, if you play attackin, barca will dominate and score, if you play normal barca will dominate and score, the only thing to do is attack, stay on the side of barca field, take risks, they will score how ever, but this way atletico would had more chanceee.. i mean even if they lose with this tactic then it would be at least 4-2 or somethin, thats not bad, then you showed somethin… but this 5-0 was ridiculous, what were you thinkin manager!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Xisco

    @farcypants, get over it dude it’s over.
    i don’t get why people keep on saying: Bad startegy, bla blah blah, Manzano is the wors manager its like 2 days since the team lost. whats the point of blaming the manager the match was lost boom is done.
    get over it people seriously.

  • pressing

    so its gonna be the same winth real madrid this year!!!!!
    bad against barça and we will be the same against real!!

  • palc

    Did not like Godin’s performance and attitude. Ship him to Chelsea or Liverpool please.

  • beffheart

    Hol Friends athletic,
    is a pleasure to greet you from Madrid and see you doing good job on this website, it is quite competent and entertaining.
    I encourage and live the atleticooooooo.