La Liga: Atlético 5 – 1 Betis

Griezmann at the double as five-star rojiblancos demolish Betis

Juanfran celebrates a rare goal with Mono Burgos

Juanfran celebrates a rare goal with Mono Burgos

Atlético Madrid warmed up for Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona in style this afternoon, hitting five past Real Betis to record their biggest league win of the season.

Antoine Griezmann scored twice, with Fernando Torres, Juanfran and Thomas Partey also on target in a resounding 5-1 win.

We may have our biggest match of the season to come in three days time, but the red and whites stayed true to their mantra, partido a partido, with a thrilling attacking display in front of a capacity crowd.

Simeone had a selection problem ahead of the game after our well-documented defensive crisis, and opted to give 21 year-old defender Nacho Monsalve a debut alongside Lucas Hernández at centre-back.

Fernando Torres also got the nod up front ahead of Luciano Vietto, who pulled out of the squad at the last minute with a bout of gastroenteritis.

It took a while for the game to spring in to life, but Torres it was who opened the scoring on 37 minutes with a trademark finish.

After running onto Koke’s inch-perfect through ball, our number nine took the ball into his stride and lobbed Adán in delightful fashion to register his sixth league goal of the season.

Our only chance up until then had fallen to Koke, who headed against the crossbar early on after Adán made a good save to deny Griezmann.

However, the Betis ‘keeper gifted the Frenchman a goal just before half-time, misjudging his cross into the box and letting it squirm through his hands and into the bottom corner.

It was the former Real Sociedad man’s 50th goal in red and white since joining two summers ago, and probably the most inadvertent that he will ever score.

Adán on the other hand was having quite the afternoon, but he did make up for his mistake with a number of fine saves, denying Torres and Griezmann twice in quick succession before half-time.

The home side picked up just where they left off in the second half, and Griezmann should have had his soon after the re-start after combining with Fernando Torres once more.

El Niño sent his strike-partner clean through on goal with a perfect pass, but Adán made himself big once more to deny Atleti a third goal.

We wouldn’t be waiting long though, with the introduction of Ángel Correa on the hour-mark an inspired one as he replaced the excellent Torres up front.

Correa claimed an assist just minutes after coming on, bamboozling his marker before picking a great pass for an unlikely scorer, Juanfran, to make it 3-0.

The right-back was of course our penalty hero against PSV last month, but hadn’t scored properly since May 2013 away at Celta Vigo. Still, he showed no signs of rustiness and finished in style after a great first touch.

Betis pulled one back ten minutes from the end, the evergreen Rubén Castro taking advantage of a rare mistake from Jan Oblak to smash the ball home and restore some faint hope for the travelling fans.

An awkward bounce fooled the Slovenian ‘keeper as he came to take a cross, but he was given the support of the Calderón who proceeded to chant his name as Atleti went to kick-off again.

Two minutes later our three goal advantage was restored, and once again it was Correa at the heart of it. The youngster ran into the box, cut inside and unselfishly squared the ball to Griezmann, who finished despite Adán’s best efforts.

It was his 26th of the season – nineteen of which have come in La Liga – although the goal was all about the Argentine, who not for the first time opted to pass when he could have easily scored himself.

Grizi turned provider for our fifth goal in injury time, springing to offside trap and laying the ball across for Thomas Partey at the back post, who had the simple task of side-footing into an empty net.

The Ghanaian was featuring for the first time in two months, and gave us a reminder of his talents with an excellent cameo and a goal, his third since returning on loan from Almería.

Cholo said before the match that if his team do their job, any result in the Clásico later on will be a good one. They did so, rampantly, and now sit six points behind Barcelona, and four ahead of Madrid.

Attention can now turn to Tuesday, when it will be our turn to visit the Camp Nou and take on Barça and MSN in the Champions League.

Spirits will be high after such a positive performance today, and with Godín and Carrasco set to return, Atleti will be quietly confident of upsetting the odds in Catalonia.

Atlético Madrid Real Betis
Atlético Madrid 51 Real Betis
Torres 37'Castro 79'
Griezmann 42' 
Juanfran 65' 
Griezmann 81' 
Thomas 90' 
Competition Liga BBVA
Location Vicente Calderón
Date 02 April 2016
Kick Off 16:00 CET

Team Lineups

Atlético Madrid
Augusto (79')
Saúl (69')
Torres (63')
Substitutes used
Correa (63')
Thomas (69')
Kranevitter (78')
Real Betis
Cejudo (71')
Fabián (46')
Musonda (59')
Rubén Castro
Substitutes used
Kadir (46')
Xavi Torres (59')
Damião (71')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • Kris

    Wow. Torres seemed really comfortable up front with Griezmann. I liked the pairing. 6 goals in the league with other major contributions is not so bad for Nino.
    Griezmann is such an athlete man. The jumps he makes with his stature, constant running throughout the pitch, wrestles off bigger defenders, great runs, very good athlete all around. He was a little wasteful today though, I think he still has a lot of room for improvement. Tactical footballer, only going to get better.
    Happy for Juanfran for the goal from a sweet, sweet, assist by Correa. Very good anticipation play.
    Juanfran and Filipe were gods in today’s match. Beautiful performance from both running up and down the channels on both sides.
    Augusto is the best central midfielder we have to bring the ball forward and keep possession of the ball, besides Oliver of course who is a CAM and doesn’t play.
    If Oliver doesn’t have a future in Atleti, let him leave in the summer and give the number 10 jersey to Thomas. He is a good passer of the ball and is able to hold the ball well. His physicality and style of play also suits Simeone’s style. But please let Oliver depart for good if he can’t play at Atleti.
    Oh, the two boys in the back did a good job today. Nacho Monsalve had a good debut.
    Ahh Oblak, come on, man. But there’s no way I can say anything to you today after how solid you’ve been the entire season.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Godin, Gimenez, Savic, Carrasco, Tiago, Oliver & Vietto, 7 players, important players couldn’t make the list today due to injury,
    but yet we thrashed Betis 5-1, and it could have been 7 or more .
    That’s what I keep talking about, the competitiveness level in La Liga is a joke, and finishing with 90 points or more without winning the title won’t be a great achievement, just like it wasn’t for Madrid or Barca when they did it few years ago .

    In fact, if we lost the title by 3 or 4 points, I think Simeone should be blamed for dropping many easy points because of his decision to defend with 10 players after getting the 1-0 lead, and because of his failure to figure out an attacking system after filling the pitch with many central midfielders which made it very difficult for us to even get that 1-0 like what happened against Villarreal & Sevilla .
    Don’t get me wrong, Simeone has made a good season already, a very good one actually considering that he lost Arda & Raul and had to work with several new players most of them are too young, but the only thing that will make it a great season is to win La Liga or the champions league, and not winning the remaining 7 games and ending La Liga with 91 points in second place .

    That’s called perspective .. I know that I use that word too much, but because it’s very important .

    For about two years I’ve been asking Simeone to give more chances to some of the subs when we play in the Calderon against the likes of Las Palmas, Granada, Getafe, Elche & Cordoba .
    We played against Eibar with Lucas & Saul at the back, and today with Lucas & Monsalve, and we won both games without any problem, even the two goals we conceded weren’t the responsibility of Lucas or Monsalve, but of Saul & Oblak .
    Nothing went wrong with Lucas and Nacho against those very weak teams, so why would it go wrong with Siqueira ?! or with Gimenez who came from 2014 World Cup where he played 3 games to sit on the bench until Miranda got injured ?!
    Simeone needs to be a little less cautious and to have a little less respect for half of La Liga teams .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Saul didn’t offer much in the attack in my opinion, because he just can’t, he doesn’t have the vision of Koke or Oliver or the skills of Carrasco, he is a CM or a box-to-box midfielder, and I don’t think he will ever be a winger, a deep-lying playmaker or a CAM .
    Simeone confirmed after the game that Torres will start at Camp Nou, and Grizi will too of course, and in the midfield I guess it will be Augusto alongside Gabi & Koke, which leaves one spot, and I don’t want it to go for Saul, I want Carrasco or Oliver (he won’t even make the list) or Correa .
    In my opinion : having that one extra attacking player (yes, I don’t consider Saul an attacking player, despite his goals) is our only chance to get a result from Camp Nou .

    Correa has contributed in 10 goals (scored 6 and assisted 4) in 1156 minutes, a goal or an assist every 115 min, the most effective player in the team behind Grizi who has a goal or an assist every 109 minute .
    When will Angelito get more minutes ?! and don’t tell me that he is young, because he is getting more minutes with Argentina than with Atleti, and they have Messi, Aguero, Di Maria & Higuain .

    Grizi seems to have a problem in one-on-one situations, we suffered too much against PSV and we could have been knocked out by losing the shoot-out all because of that one-on-one he missed in the 1st leg .

    Can you believe that Lucas has now played more minutes than Thomas !
    It’s mainly because we have too many midfielders, while we have two strikers and one left back !

    Speaking of Lucas, I will not freak out if he started at Camp Nou, and he probably will, the kid was solid and very confident in the few games he played this season and the last one .

    I can not think of a better 3rd choice striker for Atleti for next season than Fernando Torres .

  • Kris

    I agree with you, Saul will never be a CAM or a RM or anything else we want him to be, although, he certainly can be a filler player in all those positions. He’s like Raul Garcia in that he can score goals. All types of goals. But he can’t give his 100%skill-wise in positions that are not called center mid. He’s a box-to-box midfielder in every aspect of his game. He tackles, he runs throughout, he’s covering everywhere, good stamina and strength, good header of the ball, wise & tactical decision-making, great mental strength, and makes very good runs in to the opposition’s box.

    I feel like he’s being wasted as a right or left midfielder when he clearly thrives as a center mid, or for the sake of this discussion, a box-to-box midfielder.(I say midfielder because, the only time Simeone plays with a winger is when Carrasco is playing, which means we really only have one winger in our team. Would you believe it! A counter-attacking team with only ONE winger!) His situation is similar to Koke, who is definitely a natural deep-lying playmaker but because of situations, we’ve had to utilize him elsewhere and we all know how shy Simeone is when it comes to making changes in the team.

    And to be honest with you, at this point, I really like Augusto as the deep-lying playmaker. We’ve not really had a deep-lying playmaker in this Simeone era, while you may argue that Gabi and Tiago can both be considered that, especially because of how fond you seem to be of Gabi’s decisive long balls. I think Gabi and Tiago are both just center midfielders who defend really well and have great anticipation play. Augusto on the other hand, offers something different. He can hold the ball on our side of the midfield, and is also able to bring the ball forward really well. Gabi and Tiago are not able to do both of those things.

    Speaking of Thomas, I believe he can be the creative spark we need. He’s obviously an attacking midfielder(despite what his Wikipedia page says, and what he may also believ 😉 ) with the way he passes the ball, and links up with other players. I know Simeone can’t afford to give anyone other than Griezmann a free role, but only if, he can sometimes also give Thomas the ability to roam around the field anywhere he wants, we might see great difference in our attack. (Or Simeone can use him as a “winger” as well) Obviously, I would love for it to be Oliver Torres who gets that role, but Simeone doesn’t seem to “trust” him, and he doesn’t quite have the physical attributes that Cholo seems to want in his players. Partey can be an influential player for the remaining of the season and the next season. When does his deal with us expire? We should be looking in to extending it, if it’s anything under 2020.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Yeah, I forget to mention that we also have only one winger .
    So we have 8 midfielders, one left back, one winger and one traditional striker, Torres .

    Saul does know how to score goals, and I also used to compare him to Raul Garcia, but now I think I was wrong .
    I don’t believe that Saul can score 17 goals in a single season like Raul did, Raul played many games as a second striker, he was asked to score goals, and he did, almost regularly, while Saul goals are “occasionally”, mostly headers from corners & free-kicks, Raul scored many of this type of goals, but he also scored a lot from open-play .
    I think Raul would have made a good striker if somebody discovered his scoring ability much earlier .
    Maybe it’s more accurate to compare Saul to Tiago, or to Simeone himself who scored many goals, including 30 with Atleti .

    I love Gabi, I think he is underrated, but I really don’t mind if he was the one to be benched to make a room for an extra attacking player . I won’t have a problem with a midfield of Augusto-Saul-Koke .
    But Gabi is our Captain, Augusto has been doing great, Saul sometimes score goals and Koke is the 4th top assistant in the club’s history (even though most of his assists are from set pieces) so all must play, a fucked up logic, but that’s Simeone’s logic .

  • Mitch

    “I can not think of a better 3rd choice striker for Atleti for next season than Fernando Torres.”

    You made my day, thank you Ahmad Hossainy!

  • Hannu

    After his injury Torres has really shown that he deserves contract and if Atleti dont give him its a kind of disgrace.

    Correa is a treasure and should get more minutes.

    Thomas really use his minutes well as well. 🙂

  • AndersAT

    I actually think this team needs very little. I think we have a very balanced team considering our style of play (which i do not think should change, including out coach). I think we should bring back Borja and give him the chance, keep Torres and dont bye any new attackers. But this is kind of a gamble since Borja hasn’t proven himself on the highest level yet.

    But i think we have a problem with too many talented attackers so perhaps Vietto or Correa should be loaned out a season. I also think we should loan out Oliver again, although i think he will never find a place in this team unless Saul and Koke gets pulled in to the CM permanently, because in my opinion Saul, Carrasco and Koke are all better offensive midfielders than Oliver right now.

    We need a new reserve left back though.

    BUT with the transfer ban hanging over our heads perhaps we will bring in a proven goalscorer, which would also be intersting, but then we should farm out Vietto or Correa.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    It won’t be a “kind of disgrace”, it will be a very big disgrace .

    1- We are not asking to keep Torres as our first or even second choice striker, and Torres himself knows that .
    2- By numbers, Torres is THE BEST substitute in La Liga this season in terms of goals and assist .
    3- Torres wins us points, vital points, he did it against Getafe, Villarreal & Levante last season, and against Getafe, & Valencia so far this season .
    4- Torres will cost us nothing, and his salary will not be so high, he is earning 4 million right now, and he could even agree on less, if he wanted more money he would have already signed for an MLS or a Chinese team .
    To put those 4 million in perspective : Saul is asking for 5, while Jackson was earning around 6 .
    5- Torres is a big image for this club, he is the biggest commercial image for us in my opinion, and his performance is almost irrelevant, that’s how it is these days, Sharapova is not even half the tennis player as Serena, but -until the doping scandal- she was not just the highest paid tennis player, but the highest paid female athlete from commercial deals .

    By all means, Torres should stay, and if he didn’t then I will be ashamed of this club

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I’m not sure if Borja will or should comeback next season, is he ready, or does he need another loan spell with a big team, one who plays in a European competition ?!
    We definitely will sign a new striker next season, Costa, Icardi, Cavani or somebody else, but a big name is coming for sure (but not for sure that he will fix our goal problems, because they were never only about the strikers)

    If Borja was loaned again we could keep both Vietto & Torres, but if Borja came back, and with a new striker, one of Torres and Vietto must leave, and of course I choose Torres to stay .
    But what to do with Vietto ?! well, I’m not sure if we should sell him or loan him, but one thing I’m very sure of :
    We should at least get our 25 million back, if there is a club willing to pay that amount then maybe we should sell him, but if not then let’s loan him to a big club, probably outside Spain, and I’m sure he will do very good and his value will increase, then we could sell him, or maybe get him back, depending on if Simeone changed his style or not, or if he still with us or not .

  • Usavicente Calderon

    You gotta love it when JuanFran scores. All this talk about who we should keep or loan out this summer. Well, lets see what happens with FIFA. We may be needing to keep everyone we can. If we get the transfer ban, we will lose El Nino, so the question is, who will leave no matter what?

    Looking forward to seeing what Borja will do next year.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I totally agree with you that the additions to the team should be minimal .
    We have been changing many players every season, and that hurts us .
    As I said in my comment before the game : we only need 3 players :
    A left back, an attacking midfielder and a striker .
    This is of course if nobody left, and I don’t think anybody will leave, unless if Jorge Mendes persuade Saul with the big money in EPL, and I won’t be very upset if that happened, in fact, if that would mean that Oliver will stay and have more chances then I actually could be happy about it . In my opinion : we have many Sauls in our squad, but we only have one Oliver .

    We need those 3 players to compete for titles, but if our objective is still to finish 3rd and reach UCL 1/4 finals then I honestly believe we don’t need any new players, give Torres a new contract, bring Borja back, bring Manquillo back who can rotate with both Juanfran & Filipe after playing many times on the left side with OM this season .
    And let’s save some money, because we will need it after the new developments with the new stadium, the court ruling on the Calderon-Mahou land case and the 160 million Carlos Silm loaned us to complete the stadium .

    However, I strongly disagree with you about loaning Oliver and Correa .
    A loan deal is to give a youngster more minutes and more experience, Oliver already got that with Villarreal & Porto, and a third or even fourth or fifth loan spells will not change anything, we all know where the problem is, Simeone sees that he doesn’t fit his system, so either he should try to make him fit, and a talented and skillful player like Oliver can change his style and fit in any system, and his physicality isn’t a problem in my opinion, or he should sell him and put him out of his misery, but we should put an anti-Barca clause in his contract, if that is legal, because I’m sure the will go after him .

    While Correa is already a star, he plays regularly with Argentina, and he should play regularly with us, I just can not believe that an Atleti fan is asking to loan Correa ! .. look what have you done Simeone .

    I could loan Vietto though, but not to give him more minutes and more experience, he was the top scorer of Villarreal last season and he doesn’t need to prove himself, I would loan him if we didn’t get an offer for at least the 25 million we paid (in case we signed a new striker, brought Borja back and kept Torres) so maybe we will recover our money or even make a profit after a successful loan spell .