La Liga: Villarreal 1 – 1 Atlético

An own-goal draw against fourth-place Villarreal seems a deserved result for an exhausted Atleti

Villa unable to add to his tally at El Madrigal  (

Villa unable to add to his tally at El Madrigal

We witnessed a strange match at El Madrigal on Sunday evening. Strange for those familiar with Atleti’s playing style, that is. The Rojiblancos’ usual intensity and dominance were subdued by the combination of starter absences, dull performances from our top players, and a very solid Villarreal, who are probably the strongest side we have faced so far this season in a league match.

A point on the road at the always difficult El Madrigal, in any case, should not be deemed a poor reward. The club in fourth place on the Liga table proved tonight why they are a serious contender for a Champions League spot, and that the praise they have received since their return to the top flight is merited.

The match started well for the visiting outfit, with the Colchoneros quickly receiving an unexpected gift. Juanfran, who was very active all night, got past his defender and crossed a ball towards Koke, who tried to head it in goal. Mario Gaspar was an instant quicker, however, yet managed the same outcome in an unsuccessful attempt to deflect the cross.

Far from from feeling the dent in the Submarine hull, Cani commanded the yellow outfit in an electric first half with two periods of intense activity in Thibaut’s domain. Cani himself, and Bruno Soriano, would soon challenge our keeper, though nothing came of the attempts.

Towards the end of the first half, and with a poor Atleti only able to produce one shot from Villa, Villarreal pushed for the equaliser with back to back shots from Cani, Pina, and Mario, keeping Thibaut busy.

Atleti’s midfield was unable to prevent Villarreal from being more dominant all night long, and the home side produced a constant flow of plays close to Atleti’s box. Fortunately, the hosts were not effective in transforming offensive presence into shots on target, and that’s what very likely saved the day for Atlético. The usual added-value of the fullbacks was hardly felt tonight, as Juanfran was kept busy defending, and Insúa still lacking Filipe’s offensive power.

The second half saw Atleti go from bad to worse, particularly in midfield, where Raúl García’s recent offensive edge was nowhere to be seen. Tiago felt the blow of having to play the full match, and all four midfielders were conditioned by relatively early (and awkward) bookings that added caution to their game on a night when caution should have given way to strength and determination.

Cholo made one of the few, rare, mistakes that we can recall this season by delaying substitutions too much. He did not give playing time to two of the three midfielders he had on the bench, with only Arda Turan coming in for Raúl García. Without his usual icebreaker, Cebolla Rodríguez, Simeone made no further moves. He doesn’t seem to feel that Óliver is prepared for nights like tonight, and Guilavogui has yet to win his confidence. Another sign that Diego is sorely needed? 

When many of us thought we would get away with a not-very-deserved victory, Villarreal pounded down on our worn-out defence once more. With ten minutes to go, Alderweireld was flaky in cutting Perbet’s advance, and Miranda didn’t prevent the rival from crossing towards Uche. Juanfran tried to kick the ball to the corner, but netted it instead.

The resuIt is probably fair, if truth be told. And it is an excellent sign of ambition and growth to feel upset over reaping a fantastic point on the road against the fourth-placed team in La Liga. Simeone’s ambition is now ours, and we know our team will never give up the fight, no matter who we play or where. Though the results may not be what we hope for every time, the team will surely give it their best. And that alone is a huge improvement.

Villarreal Atlético
Villarreal 11 Atlético
Mario Gaspar (o.g.) 2'Juanfran (o.g.) 79'
Competition Liga BBVA
Location El Madrigal
Date 10 November 2013
Kick Off 19:00 CET

Team Lineups

Sergio Asenjo
Mario Gaspar
Gabriel Paulista
Bruno Soriano
Pina (60')
Hernán Pérez (61')
Jonathan Pereira (74')
Substitutes used
Trigueros Muñoz (60')
Javier Aquino (61')
Perbet (74')
Raúl García (62')
Diego Costa (83')
Substitutes used
Arda (62')
Adrián (83')

Match Stats

On Target
Yellow Cards
Red Cards
  • AaX

    WELL WRITTEN although still felt some loses in points but the AMBITION, FIGHT and DETERMINATION of Atleti along with the Fans were well pointed out. RECOVER and Get BETTER !

  • starvs

    Another game were Toby plays, another game were we drop points. He has not been totally convincing unfortunately.

  • Dircil

    Even madrid couldn’t win against this team at El Madrigal

  • ali_

    come on, its not toby’s fault. it’s entirely the teams fault, we had 1 (!!!) shot on target. we didnt deserve to win.

  • palc

    I do not think it is because of Toby playing we are dropping points. It just shows us how vital it is to have both Godin and Miranda at the back. Although you could blame Toby for Villarreal’s equaliser, he did make some good plays throughout the match. I though Insua was awful, leaving too much space on his side and subsequently leaving Toby with too much to do. And the attack that led to their goal did come from our left side.

  • Zakaria

    The Game was horrible, Midfield lacked creativity, and yes El Cholo was very late with the substitutes. RG8 is really bad in passing, Villa and Costa were ghosts, as for the back Toby clearly was leaving so much space and Insua also .. best player of the Game was Juan Fran to be honest. I still believe the Oliver can give so much, he has the talent to open up space and create chances. It is obvious that whenever this lad plays, his passes are not ATM material, cause he is better … I think players can not comprehend his passes and vision cause we do not have 1 creative midfielder, so basically that is new to them. If Oli has more play time, he will make a difference … again that’s up to Simeone and in Cholo we trust.

    Dropped points, that’s so normal in football, but not in Spanish League as Barca do not drop points and Real are on a goal scoring frenzy. Well with the difference in income and capital between us and real … I believe what we are doing is miraculous, so why not dream … we can still win this

  • pantic#10

    my thoughts:
    RG8: we all know that he has a low passing % (even i that i’m a RG8 supporter), but it wasn’t a bad match for him.
    I also praise Tiago, another good performance both on defense and midfield.
    Insua: in the preview i was positive about his start…but he didn’t convince me, too mush space on his side (as PALC said).
    Toby suffered a bit but it’s not easy replace Godin, our start team plays together since almost 3 years and they all know perfectly each other.
    Diego Costa and Villa were caged.
    Juanfran continues his great season, another solid performance.
    Probably with Oliver we could have been more unpredictable…

    Weird result, because all the goals were own-goals!
    The good is that we did points…only 1 but we moved the ranking.

  • Chewie

    RG8 is not a playmaker, he’s not even okay with passing, but he offers us a lot as a second-wave striker, especially against weaker teams.

    Shameful game, yet keep in mind that we played CL just a couple days ago and had no one to sub the tired or ineffective players. Considering this and the way Villareal played, we have to be happy with a draw.

  • Adnan Khan

    I think its crucial for us to buy diego ribas or a another creative midfielder if we want to keep the second place. Its gonna be hectical after december. We will be focusing on the champions league and then we have the cup also. And with this squad we will loose points like we did with villareal and espanyol games because like alot of u guys are saying “we need to rotate the players”. We wont be able to use the same squad every game because then we will play like we played with espanyol and villareal, and if we rotate with the qurrent squad then we will yet again play like we played against villareal and espanyol. No creativity. P.s real will be breathing on our neck to get the 2nd place

  • piserakos

    first of all i have to tell you that i’m going to write a lot of things about today’s game. Some of them were mentioned at other comment.
    First of all a draw at madrigal isn’t bad, second a draw after that poor performance is a good result. So I will not talk about the result i will talk about simeone’s mistakes at this match, believe me he did a lot.
    1) I will not blame him for this cause he didn’t had alternatives. Garcia is a player who can help when we play against weaker teams and espatially at Calderon. Or a player who can hen at a 4-4-1-1 formation. So for me bad choise.
    2) If someone follows my comments the he should have notice what i will say now. Simeone is bad at couching. He always been, i remember 0 games he did great subs. Well maybe he did a few times but only a few. It was obvius the 2 strikers and espatially with this costa who had one of his worst games at the last year were useless cause the game was on our territory. It was also obvius that he had ‘lost’ the midfield. So what about change Costa for Arda(even Arda was bad now i would use Oliver)? What about change the formation at 4-5-1? We would win the mid and we will counter-attaking better. Tiago for me had a bad game and our opponents had targeted cause he had a yellow card. Hey wake up!!! Joshua?? Why you bought him if you don’t use him. As someone already said he has strengh and he could help win the battles. I’ve seen Bilbao-Levante before some days, Valverde did 2 subs and they both scored and gave the win at Bilbao.
    4) What about keep the ball a little? What about press a little?? I’ve read what he said about the game and for one more time he didn’t mentioned that. We did it a lot of times espatially at away games. Score and the sit all back and play with fire. Why not try to press a little and counter attack? That’s what we do better from everyone am I right? We lost many away games (last year) cause we all sit back and we waited the god to give us something. No again! Please change it!! We are not alcorcon we are Atletico!
    5) I would not blame them but Insua had a poor game and also the goal was toby’s (and maybe tiago’s fault as i said he was really cautius in order not to get a red).
    Anyway I think that we don’t want the championship and our goal is only the 3rd position so I don’t think we need to buy players. If not? Well 1 creative mid is needed. Diego or someone

  • piserakos

    damn forgot 2 thing.
    1) Adrian for Costa was correct but to late, at 81 minute? I was expecting this sub from 20-30 minute and I was waiting for the half time
    2) We looked also a little tired. So why we didn’t rotated, at least a little, against austria? Is any one here thinking that if we had 2-3 more subs against austria we would win? Adrian got injured at that game and he was ,one more, huge absense at the game against villareal
    To conclute I belive Simeone is a little afraid to change things and we payed that many times, espatially last year and also when we win espetially against weaker teams (ok I can understand it against barca and real) some games(fortunatelly not all) we do the same like yestarday. All back!!! We payed always this shit. Mallorca, Barca…..
    One good new! Messi out for almost 2 months!!

  • kris

    It’s not good that Messi is out injured for 2 months, but we can gain something out of this and maybe go top of the league? I see that great coaches like Simeone and Klopp are scared of rotations. Klopp barely rotates his players, just like Simeone who only gives chances when he is playing weaker teams. But, yehh, yesterday, I believe we shouldn’t have just sat back. Our goal is to win every single match we play like lions, not like pussies. Villarreal’s defense couldn’t have handled Costa’s physicality,pace, and strength(ok, maybe Bruno), if we had attacked. instead, we just decided to sit back because we had an early lead. With a great defense like our’s, we shouldn’t be sitting back, but attacking also when you have the time, because the back five can handle the defensive job. oh,well, whatever. an ok result, bad performance.

  • Paulo

    I feel bad for saying this but Simeone truly seems afraid of something… In any other team Oliver Torres would be playing more regularly but no, “the kid’s not ready”. What the fuck? That’s some overcautious scared-ass bullshit if anybody asks me.
    If your midfield is tired, giving bad passes and out of ideas, you have to shuffle and when you have a little secret weapon like Oliver… I just don’t understand what Cholo is thinking keeping his best friend RG8 there “just in case there’s a corner kick” when the guy just leaves a huge hole in the midfield and we are playing like we had one player less than our opponents. It’s a pure shame and dishonor.
    Juanfran was the most creative player for atleti. I think Tiago played a pretty good game. At least he passed confidently and played with calm. Gabi lost the ball many times, but he did fight for ’em, unlike RG. Insua sucked in defence and when he tried to attack he just made a mess, but how can anyone even think that somebody could replace Filipe Luis?
    Costa looked tired and Villa didn’t get too much support so I wouldn’t blame them, but I think Adrian was needed earlier. In these type of games the subs should come earlier and creativity is needed badly. Why cry for Diego Ribas to come when we have this young magician’s apprentice called Oliver available.
    Give him a chance to change the game and he will make wonders.

  • piserakos

    kris… “the god coaches don’t rotate a lot(Simeone, Klopp)” you are right but Dormund had a small roster. Against Wolfsburg their 3 changes were Dust(a young kid), Hoffman(a young kid) and Sokratis(my co-country defender who is not a top lever player but a good sub) so maybe this will explain some things.
    paolo… as I said Simeone look scared to risk and change things many times and that is bad

  • pantic#10

    more or less we have all the same point of view.
    I did notice too the attitude of late subs by Cholo (especially last year).
    and we all want more creative attack play. Diego on January (but i don’t think he’ll lower his wage) or Oliver now or whatever else player (possibly) bought on the next transfer session, should give us more creativity and unpredictability.

    We have already assists-men like Arda and mainly Koke but we need an extra help; an help that subs like RG8, Cebolla, Adrian can’t give us at the moment.
    Another little step and we can win La Liga, already this year.

    Anyway after the break we’ll have a fresh Leo Baptistao! who has a great talent to develop.

  • Paulo

    Piserakos: Yeah and it’s weird, ’cause I don’t know what Cholo would be even risking if somebody is pretty much out of their game and he gives another player a chance. What is the purpose of the bench/subs if a coach is not using them, when his team is playing badly or are out of ideas, lacking a spark to fan the team in flames?

  • kris

    Piserakos, that is true,, but had he been rotating those players since a long time, they would have adapted in to better players. Ask any Dortmund fans, they will tell you this that Klopp’s biggest weakness is rotation just like it seems it is of Simeone’s. Hoffman is a great winger, Sokratis another great defender, Gunter. But, yehh, we have a better bench than Dortmund do, that’s why we should be rotating more than them, especially against the weaker teams so that the players are not tired when when we play the bigger of the teams like Villarreal. In that game against Vienna, it should have been at least about four to half of the team rotated, but nope, we couldn’t do that because we to wear out the players. Yesterday, there should have been two early substitutes with Oliver and Guilavogui coming in at half time for Garcia and Tiago (Tiago played great, but Villarreal players were hunting him for the second yellow and if you had noticed Arda wasn’t fit enough yet) respectively. And then, if those two substitutions hadn’t changed the game Adrian should have been substituted at about the 65th minute. I think this is the part where Cholo lacks as a manager, he has to start rotating and bring out the best of every single player even if they are not initial starters. I know Simeone will work on this and ace this rotation part too, because I believe in him, we all do, after how much joy he has brought in to the club. In Simeone we trust. Aupa Atleti!

  • piserakos

    kris I hope so he will work this but since today i’ve mentioned it many times (and not me). We are just funs so Simeone and his staff would have noticed that and try to change it(i don’t expect miracles) but i have seen this change so that’s why i wrote this big comment to express my disslike… Any way let’s see at the next games… Now we have (well my country has) play-off games for the mundial this will give us a break to work. Another bad new Costa injured and he will miss the Spain’s national games

  • Chewie

    Hmm. I believe Simeone knows just fine who can and who cannot play well at the moment. With Arda still recovering, Adrian yet to get in form, Godin, Filipe and Cebolla out, with 30-year old midfielders who’d just had a game in Austria 3 days ago, with injured Baptistao and not-so-young and fresh Villa, with Costa who’s a beast but still a man of flesh and blood, and a couple of youngsters who’d played some dozen minutes in total, what did you really expect from Simeone? Every style of play and technical scheme has its fortes and limitations. Current Atletico plays a physically demanding, high concentration team football. When things go well and there’s plenty of time to recover, opponents have little chance to even score. But when things get messy, when the coach’s plans crumble, then those limitations become apparent. Let’s not start this old song of teaching our brilliant beloved manager how to play. He’ll figure something out. And – to be honest, Oliver is still a dark horse, so I wouldn’t burden the kid, who’s only 19 with all these expectations.

    While active in three competitions, we will probably not win the league, and second place is not much different from the third. The main thing is to keep growing, and in some time we’ll see some positive changes – maybe Toby and Guilavogui will gain Cholo’s trust or Baptistao will start shining or we’ll sign a creative midfielder, who knows.

  • kris

    Agree with Chewie and our players have learned to play in this physical manner, and a lot of them are doing well. But then you see, in a tactic that demands so much physicality you can’t play every single player for all the three games in a week, that’ll hurt them, not all footballers have the same physique to play so many games in a week. We have to rotate players so that there’s lot less injuries and everybody is happy. Oliver doesn’t need to start and play full 90 minutes in all games but he can play some minutes since he gives us that passing game, that at this moment seems like only Tiago can do. We need him to play just a little for games because he is that secret weapon in our team that we are missing.

  • marcelo

    “We lacked creativity in this game”. This sums it up. Think we will sign Diego or another #10 (Firmino?) . Simeone said we need a player with Diego’s characteristics.