Ups…and downs. They are a part of life and, more importantly, they are a part of being an Atlético fan. Los Rojiblancos were riding a tidal wave of momentum heading into their encounter at the Ciutat de València on Sunday, but they were abruptly stymied by an early mishap, some outrageous goalkeeping by Keylor Navas and a suspiciously motivated home side, eventually falling by a score of 2-0.
‘Ya caerá el Atleti’ (Now Atleti will fall) is a phrase that has been used repeatedly this season, as surely it was only a matter of time. In this two-team league of ours, nobody thought unfancied Atlético would make it to May as league leaders. Sooner or later they would slip and hand the momentum back to Real Madrid and Barcelona, before slowly fading away… Or maybe not.
Score, and hang on for dear life! This has apparently been Atlético’s game plan in their last three home games, all of which they have won by the same 1-0 margin. After getting off to a great start against Villarreal on Saturday, opening up the scoring within the first 15 minutes of action, los Rojiblancos spent most of their time warding off the Yellow Submarine.
So much for a crisis. It took all of four minutes on Saturday for Atlético to puncture a pair of mortal wounds into Valladolid at the Vicente Calderón. Los Rojiblancos then sat back and watched as their opponents bled out for most of the evening before delivering the final death blow–thereby snapping an ugly streak of three goalless losses.
In one of the most enchanting nights at the Vicente Calderón in recent memory, Atlético soared to the top of the league table for the first time in 18 years by handily defeating Real Sociedad 4-0. Los Colchoneros honoured the glory days of their past by paying tribute to a fallen idol who fully embodied the spirit of the club’s halcyon days.
Atlético will kick off the second half of the season tomorrow and hope to continue their unbeaten streak in a tough game against Sevilla. The last few weeks have been busy for Cholo’s men with mid-week Copa clashes against Valencia and the joint league leaders Barcelona. The players’ physical abilities will be tested tomorrow at
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 fooled around with Valencia in the opening half of Sunday’s encounter, waiting until after the break to land all the heavy blows in another knockout performance at the Vicente Calderón that ended in a 3-0 rout. Valencia came into the match having scored in their previous 26 league games, but Atleti completely snuffed out their attack on the night.
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.
Relax. It was bound to happen. At least, that’s likely what many members of the Rojiblanco faithful kept telling themselves when their beloved Atlético’s bid for a perfect season in La Liga (and a chance to take sole possession of first place) was spoiled by Espanyol on Saturday. Just because it was inevitable didn’t mean it hurt any less for some of us though.