The stalemate continued between La Liga’s two giants when the first half of the campaign came to a close for the sides on Saturday. Atlético and Barcelona played to a second straight 0-0 draw, with the third version of the great battle of styles this season taking place at the Vicente Calderón.
Atlético capped off the best year in club history with yet another triumph at the unconquerable Vicente Calderón, though this 3-2 win came after a vigorously-contested battle against Levante. If ever there was a match to exemplify the era of ‘Cholo’, Sunday night’s was not it. Well, at least, not the beginning of it.
Mark the 19th of February and the 11th of March in your calendar. That’s when Atlético Madrid take on AC Milan in the next round of the UEFA Champions League.
Atlético were able to best Elche 2-0 after a fiercely contested first half in which the scrappy hosts matched Simeone’s men in guts and intensity at the Estadio Martínez Valero. Second half goals by the Colchoneros’ dynamic duo of Koke and Diego Costa were enough to put out Fran Escribá’s charges’ fire.
Atlético pounded Getafe into submission on Saturday with a performance that bordered on downright cruelty. The 7-0 annihilation was the worst loss in los Azulones‘ history. The scoreboard also happened to mirror Atleti’s record at ‘Cholo Castle’ this season, with Simeone’s men picking up their seventh home win on the trot.
It was always going to be a tall order to come out of the Madrigal with the three points on Sunday. Without several key starters and visiting one of the league’s top clubs, Atlético were lucky to even come away with anything at all against a very strong Villarreal side. Given the circumstances and the opponent, a 1-1 draw is by no means a huge disappointment.
There was no let up in Atlético’s 5-0 thrashing of Real Betis at the Vicente Calderón on Sunday night. Literally from start to finish, the struggling Verdiblancos found themselves picking the ball out of their own net. The Rojiblanco faithful were treated to a delightful spectacle that began with the fastest goal in club history scored by Óliver Torres–the player that sparked the most pre-game buzz given his inclusion in the starting line-up in replacement of the ailing Arda Turan.
Léo Baptistão had to be carried off the pitch at Atleti’s training facilities on a stretcher this Wednesday, as he badly injured his ankle during the training session while attempting to dribble youth talent goalkeeper Bono. Because of how badly the player seemed to be hurt, x-ray scans were taken immediately to rule out a more serious injury. The final diagnosis: a second degree ankle sprain.
Despite their clear superiority for most of the afternoon, Atlético struggled to dispose of Celta Vigo at the Vicente Calderón on Sunday.
Ultimately, a Diego Costa brace was enough to extend the club’s record league start to eight straight wins.
The red and white outlaws held the Estadio Nuevo José Zorrilla hostage Saturday night, making their way out of town with a 2-0 victory. The win also makes it a perfect 15 out of a possible 15 points in Primera action so far this campaign. Nothing can stop Cholo’s gang, despite their worst first half of football thus far this season.