La Liga: Villarreal 1 – 0 Atlético

Rojiblancos well beaten as Baptistão hits winner against parent club

Rojiblancos found wanting in the Madrigal

Rojiblancos found wanting in the Madrigal

Atlético Madrid were left red-faced against Villarreal on Saturday night, as loanee Léo Baptistão scored the only goal of the game to earn a deserved three points in El Madrigal.

Diego Simeone’s men never quite got going on the east coast, and were left ruing a boardroom decision rather than missed chances or bad luck against the Yellow Submarine.

After making six changes to the team for Tuesday home win against Getafe, Cholo made another six tonight and opted for Jackson Martínez ahead of Fernando Torres in attack.

However, it was a decision that backfired as the Colombian underwhelmed, getting the hook at half-time for the second week running after again looking like a stranger alongside his new teammates.

Up at the other end, there was another Atleti striker with a point to prove and he did so in style, capitalising on some uncharacteristic defending from the usually dependable pairing of Giménez and Godín.

Back in Spain after an unsuccessful spell in the Premier League, Roberto Soldado opened up space for Léo Baptistão before sliding him in to finish the first sight of goal of the match.

It was a confident finish from the Brazilian, who showed the type of composure we never really saw from him in a red and white shirt. He now has more goals against Atleti than he does for them.

Usually after going a goal down we see an instant response from Simeone’s men, but they just couldn’t get a foothold in the first half and went into the break distinctly second best.

Their only real chance came in stoppage time following a mistake, Griezmann pouncing on Víctor Ruiz’s error of judgement but failing to beat compatriot Alphonse Areola with his effort.

It was the home side who came closest to getting the second goal though, as the lively Samu Castillejo headed narrowly wide of Oblak’s left-hand post after good play on the right from Jonathan dos Santos.

During the interval, Jackson and Gabi were sacrificed for Fernando Torres and Luciano Vietto – not particularly well received at his former club – although they didn’t have the impact that the half-time changes in Ipurúa last week did.

Atleti were better in the second half and limited Villarreal to very little in the final third, but still, Marcelino’s team looked to have the game under control and were never really under any serious threat.

Ángel Correa did make a difference when he came on and had the best two opportunities, and alongside Griezmann looked like the only player likely to unlock the yellow backline.

The two were involed in the visitor’s best play of the match, and after a couple of one-touch passes the ball fell for Correa nicely in the area, but once more Areola was alert and parried away for a corner.

As it were, the game fizzled out in fairly comfortable fashion for the home side, who soaked up the pressure without needing to exert themselves too much or search for the killer goal.

They move top of the table for the time being, and Atleti make the trip home for two crucial games with a lot to think about. Out played and out thought, this wasn’t the performance of a team out to show their title credentials.

On Sunday we have another huge game in the Calderón against Real Madrid, at a stage where we can’t afford to drop any more points or lose ground on direct rivals.

However, Cholo will continue to think game-by-game, and before the derby we play host to Benfica in the Champions League. Let’s just hope Raúl Jiménez wasn’t watching Baptistão tonight…

Villarreal Atlético Madrid
Villarreal 10 Atlético Madrid
Baptistão 14' 
Competition La Liga
Location El Madrigal
Date 26 September 2015
Kick Off 20:30 CEST

Team Lineups

Víctor Ruiz
Trigueros (75')
Dos Santos (68')
Baptistão (46')
Substitutes used
Nahuel (46')
Denis Suárez (68')
Pina (75')
Atlético Madrid
Gabi (46')
Óliver (66')
Jackson (46')
Substitutes used
Torres (46')
Vietto (46')
Correa (66')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • SherbetDip

    What a dirty player Soldado is.

  • Urban

    I think not returing the ball after the faul on Samu was a disgrace, even if he was adding a lot of acting to the situation.

    What warries me most is the lack of attitude – something I have not seen for a while in our team. I think some of our players walked by this game and this is unaccetpable. A very bad game, but each season you have to have some of those.

    But losing an away game against villarreal is not the end of the world. Surely its better than a draw at home with Malaga or losing Messi for 2 months…

  • SherbetDip

    … but isn’t Suarez as good as Messi – according to British hacks (he certainly seems to be the subject of all their wet dreams – interest in Barcelona has never been so high in the UK since he joined)

  • aileen

    Not a good game indeed:the first quarter was decisive: we `ve lost a goal and instead of pressing and attacking were thinking how to avoid loosing another one.Can`t understand Cholo`s overestimation of Martinez.Any comparisons to Griezmann are not in the right place, because the second one was trying, moving, running,looking for colleagues and a good pass and here we can only observe one shot per the whole half of the match.

  • Koke

    Well the loss is tough to take, but kudos to Villareal. Filipe Luis has obviously not been at his pre-Chelsea best since joining us and this is precisely why I wasn’t convinced that we should buy him back. I mean it’s only September and he has plenty of time to prove me wrong but I just didn’t like what I saw from him. Is Juanfran injured? I have no clue why Simeone thought it was a good idea to do rotations when playing away at Villareal, of all places. I understand we have both Benifica and Madrid coming up but if he was gonna rest Juanfran, do it against Eibar or Getafe for crying out loud. Gamez was poor.

    I think our best formation includes Griezmann, Oliver, and Correa AT THE SAME TIME. These are the three players in our squad who have the creativity to make chances out of nothing. I don’t really have a side in the Torres vs. Jackson debate – Torres has been great so far but I think IF Jackson finds his form soon he will be the superior striker. You can tell he’s getting very anxious to score in the way he’s playing, hopefully his confidence doesn’t suffer.

    A loss is never good, but on the bright side it’s not the end of the world. Barcelona without Messi is going to be a weakened team. Yes, Neymar and Suarez are incredible players, but the real problem is that without Messi they lack creativity. I can see them dropping more points when more players get tired/injured and they have to turn to the likes of Munir, Sandro, and Roberto. Real Madrid have gotten a bit lucky in a couple games already to end up with 3 points and if we beat them next weekend (MUST WIN game) then that will set the tone for the rest of the season. Plus, Barca and Madrid still have to play each other so that’s one or both of our direct rivals dropping more points. Onwards.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I said before the game that I wasn’t comfortable with replacing Juanfran with Gamez in such a difficult game, and I gave an example with Valencia’s game last season .. I mean how stupid Simeone could be to repeat this awful mistake ?! and what happened to his “partido a partido” ?! .. we all demanded more rotation, but rotation is only good when you win, and I saw a very slim chance to win this game without Juanfran, half of our chances comes from his side .

    I was about to say the same thing of starting with Grizi, Oliver & Correa together, and of course to do that when Koke is available you have to play with only one of Gabi-Tiago, and if you want to start with Saul then also in the place of one of them .

    I take Torres’s side, I would always start with him until Jackson proves his worth, the guy doesn’t even defend well, he doesn’t make high pressing the way Costa and Mandzukic used to do .
    And I take Siqueira’s side too, like you, I was against bringing Filipe back, I think Siqueira is much better, even with the mistakes he does sometimes .

    I don’t see us as a title contender, so I really don’t care if Barca dropped points or not (but I wish Madrid do though) I care more about Villarreal, Celta & Valencia -who are now just 3 pts behind us and could tie with us next week when we play RM and they play Athletic- .

    Simeone gave me some hope, but then took it away from me when he decided that the first game to rest Juanfran should be at El Madridgal after he decided last season that the first game to rest him is the one at Mestalla .

  • AaX

    The best Atletico line up thus far (to me) : Oblak – Juanfran, Gimenez, Godin, Filipe – Oliver, Tiago, Koke, A. Correa – Griezman, J. Martinez.

    Reason Why ?
    1) Core backline of 4 added by familiarly solid def. mid duo of either Tiago – Koke or Gabi – Saul combinations. Maintaining the Backbone and Defensive Solidity, The System of the Team.

    2) Oliver and Correa creative midfield ball playing linkups (Evidently since the second pre-season matches). Both provide penetrating in box passes, exchange moves and combine well.

    3) Oliver’s combination with Jackson while were in Porto last season. Jackson has offensive plays understanding with Oliver established.

    4) Koke’s natural influence in centre mid. Having his pressings, tacklings and long passings from the centre and occasional dangerous crossings will add further security and stability to support the attacking player’s manouvers. Being trained as for Spain in that position and the natural successor for capt. Gabi and Xavi for Spain. A Great UpComing International SuperStar.

    5) A. Correa’s new found combination runs and plays with Griezmann added to what Griezzy had earlier with Koke.

    6) The team can switch instantly when needed from 4-4-2 to 4-5-1 with both A. Correa and Griezmann dropping back as right and left midfielders respectively to provide the more defensive needed cover and stability.

    7) CONVERSELY Most Importantly this Season, The Team can switch on a dime when Needed to Turn On the Offensive Firepower from either 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 to 4-3-3 with A. Correa and Griezmann coming on with either J. Martinez or later Torres on the flanks to form the Attacking Trio supported by playmaker Oliver and occasionally Koke in midfield while Tiago will hold the def. mid infront of the 2 Centre Backs as the wide right and left wing backs go for a raid.

    Well Now, That’s my Best Assessment and Analysis currently for the Team.

    Those are the Consistently Best Performing Players so far and is Hopefully Best for Simeone to start recognizing and Employing Them Somewhere NOW Sooner than Later for the Ultimate Gain of the Team.

    GOD Speed. FORZA Atleti !!

  • I totally agree with that line.

  • Jesús Gámez should never be on the field unless it is a weak team or a necessary evil because of injuries. Or you bring him in when you are up a goal or two, to rest the player on the field. Jackson…only thing to say is: Disappointment.

  • Jackson: you get the ball and you pass back. WHAT!!! We paid $30 million to get you that ball and get past the last man and score. He was completely lost on the field.
    Jesús Gámez: Never should be on the field unless we are desperate or ahead by a 2 goals.
    Griezmann: He can’t do it all. Every game he is all over the field. It is not his fault, but he needs to be in “his” position. the mid field should be feeding him the ball, not him feeding it to Torres etc. Bad luck on his shot that would have tied the game up.
    Team: Lackluster at best. We played well for a team in 9th place. Which is where we are headed with that display. Aletico needs to pick it up.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    That right back who many people don’t want him on the pitch unless if we are playing Granada or Getafe at the Calderon has played many games last season on the left back and Simeone preferred him over Ansaldi who made it to Argentinian national team and Siqueira who had offers from Juve & Inter !

    And when we say some harsh words about Simeone some people say : “you are not an Atleti fan” , while others said : “without Simeone we will be fighting to avoid relegation” .. pure bullshit .

    What Simeone did of winning La Liga & reaching UCL final was the best coaching job in this millennium, but with the squad he has right now, many other coaches can finish 3rd very easily, and some may even fight for the title, not to avoid relegation .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I think Manquillo should comeback home next season and have his real chance . I even don’t understand why this didn’t happen this season ?!!