La Liga: Atlético 1 – 0 Espanyol

Another strong defensive performance as Atlético claim the points

Griezmann scores his third goal in a week for Atlético

Griezmann scores his third goal in a week for Atlético

A single goal was enough to give Atlético Madrid victory over Espanyol on Saturday evening, in a match that typifies Atlético’s season so far.

Frustrating to watch up front with many missed opportunities, it was against the defensive performance that will steal the headlines as Atleti get their fifth clean sheet in their last five games.

It was a surprising starting eleven that took to the field for Atlético.

With no Jackson Martínez through injury, it looked certain that Fernando Torres would continue to fill the hole up front. However Diego Simeone opted for summer-signing Luciano Vietto up top alongside Antoine Griezmann.

Carrasco also dropped to the bench following the match on Wednesday, with Óliver stepping in as a replacement. Gabi missed out through suspension, so Saúl got a rare start.

It will come to you as no surprise however, that the only goal of the game came from that man Antoine Griezmann – fresh from a brace against Galatasaray in midweek.

José Giménez passed forward in the third minute and found Óliver Torres, who skipped past one Espanyol defender and threaded a pass into the box to the Frenchman.

Griezmann got the deftest of touches on the ball with his left-foot, helping the ball on its way through into the back of the net.

It wasn’t all fun and games for Atleti in the first half. Bad news for Atlético was Tiago being forced off of the pitch midway through the first half after what looked like a pretty innocuous tackle on Asensio.

The Portugese, who has played in virtually every game for Atlético this season, was stretchered off in some distress. Fortunately it looks as if it’s not a knee injury, but instead a fracture to his shin bone.

The 34-year-old was taken straight to the hospital to have some tests done to confirm.

Griezmann could have had his second at the beginning of the second half, after a botched clearance by the Espanyol defence. The opposition goalkeeper was equal to it, and Vietto skied the rebound high over the crossbar.

It was to be Vietto’s last contribution, after the forward was replaced by Thomas just before the hour mark. Still hasn’t set the world alight for Atleti, but will be happy with another hour of match practice.

Thomas enjoyed a good first couple of moments, picking out a good lofted ball to Antoine Griezmann, but the Frenchman was flagged for offside.

Óliver Torres had a fantastic opportunity to make it two for Atleti, smashing one at goal from outside the area. Espanyol’s Pau was equal to it and tipped it over the crossbar for a corner.

Fernando Torres replaced Óliver as the game died down, and almost came up with his 100th goal for Atlético after cutting in past a defender and curling a whistling shot over Pau’s crossbar.

Koke hit the outside of the post with a caressed finish after Carrasco danced to the touchline and cut the ball back. Atleti continued to push for the second whilst Espanyol made some offensive changes of their own.

The last real chance of the match came to Thomas, who took a fabolous first touch before letting rip from outside of the area. It took a fantastic save from Pau to deny the youngster from his first senior Atlético goal on his debut.

The referee blew his whistle to mark the end of the match, and it’s another win for Atlético. It’s also the fifth clean sheet in a row, a stat which we’re all used to this season with Jan Oblak between the goalposts.

Onwards to Reus in the Copa del Rey in midweek.

Atlético Madrid Espanyol
Atlético Madrid 10 Espanyol
Griezmann 3' 
Competition Liga BBVA
Location Estadio Vicente Calderón
Date 28 November 2015
Kick Off 18:15 CET
  • Ringo

    The play is looking better than in the earlier parts of the season.
    The final bout is still a bit off, but I’m positive about the future at the moment.

    When Tiago came off you could see the midfield had to adjust but after about ten minutes
    the cantera trio were as solid as if Tiago and Gabi were not missing.
    His statistics surprised me (67-70ish percent), since Óliver seemed greatly in control of the midfield.
    I hope to see more of him in center midfield, he was great. Koke was great too, somehow his free kicks
    aren’t that consistent anymore, but I guess he’ll have his touch back soon, too.
    Griezmann had a good game, too. He already started scoring again, but today his general play was better, too.

    I know his finishing was bad, but I was pretty content with Vietto’s game today,
    his touch is a little off, which I think explains his misses, but his positioning and mentality
    are clearly improving. His touch will return to him soon enough.
    The team in general needs to work on finishing off attacks, though. We’re having a lot of shots, but except for
    in a few instances, they did not decide when to shoot very well.
    Sometimes they took a shot too soon and even more times too late.
    Griezmann (and Oli and Thomas apparently :D) are pretty good at it already, in my opinion.

    It didn’t cost us, but it’s something they could work on. Especially Carrasco could have been more effective today.
    Having said that, Carrasco (the whole triangle of Yannick, Koke and Filipe, actually) were a great thing to watch today.
    Are left side is starting to look like one of the most threatening in Europe.
    More games for Oli on RCM could turn Juanfran-Oli-Grizi/Correa into another great one.
    Hope Correa gets his chances soon, too, btw.
    Grizi, Vietto and Torres for striker position, with Grizi rotating with Correa on the right side.

    Saúl was great in the second half, but Gabi would be a good CDM too, of course 😀 He tends to move forward more oftenly, though, perhaps our captain should rotate with Koke, Oli, Carrasco and Correa while Tiago is injured (hope it’s not that bad of an injury).

    Then there’s Thomas, who started his game pretty nervously, but was getting more solid every minute, I don’t see why that shouldn’t continue with the next set of minutes for him.

    Filipe was crazy solid. Hope he doesn’t have a concussion or something, he seemed pretty all right, though.
    I’m sorry Ahmed, but Filipe is getting back to being arguably our best player again, and in my opinion that means he’s better than Siqueira 😉

    Godín had one mistake, but the defense in general was pretty solid once again, outside of one or two moments in the entire game.

    I’m enjoying watching this team again, the little steps of progress are leaving their marks more and more.
    I am a happy man.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I don’t remember who were the people who wished for a mild injury for Gabi or Tiago, they were joking of course, but please, do not do that again !
    ” Careful what you wish for ” never sounded so true and so scary to me like now !

    Why do you have to apologize Ringo ?! .. it makes me happy to see Filipe getting his old form back, but our best player ?!, I don’t think so, not even in the top 3, who -to me- are Grizi, Tiago & Godin, and after them comes Oblak .
    But yet, he should not play all the time, nobody should, except Oblak, the GK, and Grizi, who scored almost 40 % of our goals .
    I believe if Godin had some rest he will stop making those mistakes, which are now starting to become a regular thing in every game, although in only one occasion it resulted in a goal in our nets, against Valencia .
    The irregulars always did great, or at least solid, Siqueira, Savic Gamez, even Thomas in his debut tonight, and do you remember Lucas against Real Madrid last season ?! .. Simeone just need to be more brave and not wait for suspensions and injuries to rotate, not denying that he is rotating this season, he is, very frequently and very well, but the two who needed rotation the most didn’t get it, and nothing went wrong tonight when we played most of the game without neither of them, Gabi & Tiago !

    I will say it again : Koke is a central midfielder, I think he is the best one in the team to replace Tiago after his injury .
    Tiago is playing so well at 34 because he is playing with his brain more than his muscles (although his fitness is great), like Pirlo, that’s what central midfielders are mostly about, and after Tiago came off, the team had no brain .
    Koke was far from Gabi & Tiago tonight in the center, although he is more talented than both of them, because you can’t become a great CM while you aren’t playing in that position !

    I’m happy for that assist from Oliver, too late to get his first assist of the season, but it came, and he should make more and score more goals if he want to become a starter again, goals and assists made Raul Garcia a starter, so surly they will make the much more talented Oliver a starter too .

    Something made me very sad tonight, not Tiago’s injury, he is a strong man and will comeback very soon, and not the poor effectiveness in front of the goal, it will improve, but watching Simeone begging the fans for support .
    I really can’t tell if the Calderon was silent (most of the Arab commentators are always loud and you can’t hear anything other than their annoying voices) but it seemed so .
    You can’t get lazy now, you can’t become less supportive of Simeone, rather than whistling him like in Gijon’s game .
    We may criticism him here, or in other websites and social media, but as I said last week : this is not the Caledron .
    In the Caledron, El Cholo must have 100% support, and our stadium must be intimidating as it used to be, sometimes I feel it’s not that anymore, especially when I watch a game in Sanchez Pizjuan, for example .
    Shake the Calderon up again .

    We lost couple of key players tonight, the team looked lost at some moments, many players weren’t used to play with each others, our finishing was awful, but yet, we totally dominated the game, did anyone see Oblak tonight ?! .. and Espanyol are 11th .
    ” La Liga is strong, difficult and competitive ” , ” It is the best league in the world ” .. yeah, right !!!

  • Chewie

    The Calderon was certainly not silent, I thought the support was good. What makes me and probably other fans sad is that when you see Atletico scoring in the beginning of the game, you realise that you’re doomed to watch the team fooling around, playing in economy mode and just winning on pure class and discipline. As far as I see it, they don’t really want to score as much as they want to win. So, if you’re an Atletico fan at this moment in time, you have to learn to enjoy the control with which the team plays, and enjoy the results. But you have to be a little crazy to enjoy the football. I started combining other tasks with watching the fooball lately, and so far I’ve not missed anything. If we leave out the Astana game, you get two exciting months, starting with the Villarreal game in September: 0-1, 1-2, 1-1, 0-2, 2-1, 1-1, 0-0, 1-0, 0-1, 2-0, 1-0.

    But hey, I’m not complaining about the resuts. It’s just a viewers perspective. I’m sure we will play with greater passion against serious opponents.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    At the last few minutes Simeone made his usual gesture to the fans to chant and support the team, he repeated it couple of times, and in the last one you could see the disappointment in his body language, on his face, in his hands gesture, putting them together and shaking them, and I’m not a lip reading expert, but he obviously said : “por favor”
    I don’t know what was that about, but I hope it’s nothing .

    About the economy play, it did happen in many games, like the one against Depor, and it cost us 2 points, which could have also happened against Valencia after an economically 2nd half, but to be fair, in the last 2 games against Betis and this one we actually created many chances and we should have scored 3 goals at least in each of them, I think they did want to score more last night, if not for the team then at least to help Torres to get his 100th, but I really wish it was an economy play and lack of hunger for goals, because this very poor effectiveness and all those missed easy chances are actually more worrying !

  • Kris

    Yes, we were creating very good chances and defense was rarely ever troubled, hence a solid team performance but we could have been much better up front. We have to bury those chances. Yesterday, we should have scored at least one more game, so we didn’t have late panic. We were trying to score, but we just couldn’t score. Definitely need improvement in the finishing aspect of our game.