Atlético de Madrid

The love that hurts.

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    26 year old in New York; Passionate fan of the beautiful game; lover of Argentina (los Albicelestes); long-suffering, devoted supporter of Atlético Madrid (los Rojiblancos) for the past 13 years.
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Archive for the ‘Raul Garcia’ Category

Thoughts on the 07/08 Season

Posted by atleti on May 19, 2008

It’s been another rollercoaster of a season, hasn’t it? Lots of highs, lots of lows, and I’m glad it’s all over because my nerves are shot…

Let’s have a look at our pre-season objectives:

-Be crowned Liga Champions. (too many dropped points)

-Win the UEFA Cup. (dumped out at the hands of rubbish Bolton)

-Win the Copa del Rey. (dumped out at the hands of rubbish Valencia)

-Qualify for Champions League football.

Well, at least we accomplished one of our goals. It’s already paid off in terms of 08/09 signings: we’ve secured the services of John Heitinga and, although it hasn’t been officially confirmed, Tomáš Ujfaluši looks like he’ll be our next signing.

Speaking of transfers, I choose SIMAO as our best signing of the 07/08 season:

Worst signing of 07/08? I choose the always-injured THIAGO MOTTA.

Yes, I’d rank him as worse than Cléber and Reyes. Had he been fit, we would not have had to use Cléber so frequently. In truth, though, all three of these players were nonsensical signings.

Consistently good players this season: Raúl García & Agüero.

I’d give the industrious award to Forlán. He continually put forth a lot of effort. He can be frustrating at times when he misses absolute sitters, but he creates plenty of goal-scoring opportunities for Kun and other players.

Worst players? I’m torn on this. For me, it’s a threeway tie between Eller, Pablo,  & Pernía. Pablo, I think, takes the cake because of his disastrous own goals. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE SHOW THIS RUBBISH THE EXIT? PLEASE?

Who had a disappointing season? I choose Maxi. Not a bad season, but most definitely not a good one. There were far too many times where I felt that he should’ve been removed from the pitch. He had a horrible tendency of disappearing for long portions of some games.

Surprise mid-season addition to the squad: the promising young Ignacio Camacho. The future is bright.

Anything else to add? Any memorable moments that stick out in your mind? Any forgettable moments you want to dredge up?

[These are the players I’d like to see shown the exit now: Pablo, Pernía, Cléber, Eller, Zé Castro, Reyes, & Mista. They’re all dead weight and have proven to be good for nothing.]

And, no, I’m not happy that Aguirre will stay with the club for another season. He has proven time and time again that he is NOT a tactical genius.

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Posted in Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Ignacio Camacho, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Maxi Rodriguez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 24 Comments »

Jornada 26: Atlético de Madrid v Barcelona

Posted by atleti on February 29, 2008

Under-fire Aguirre: “We aren’t the favourites, but we expect to give a surprise…”

Maxi, our often times non-existent capitan, on the game:
“…we need to worry about ourselves. We need to be calm and not leave ourselves exposed, because in one chance they can break the game…We learned that last season.”

Maxi continues: “We went through a bad time, but we’ll fight back. We’ll raise ourselves up. We’re out of the UEFA Cup and the Copa del Rey, so no cups are left. Our goal is clear now, so let’s fight. There’s no crisis – we just need everyone’s support.”

Here’s a mini-recap of our away game against Barcelona earlier this season. Click here & here.

So, have we learned from those mistakes? Not really. Our defence is still rubbish and we’re struggling to score goals at the moment. If this isn’t a recipe for disaster, I don’t know is. That said, I still hope that we get something out of this game. The players need it, the supporters need it. These are desperate times, my friends. We’ve dropped enough points in the past weeks. Will the abuse end this Sunday? For the love of God please.

STARTING 11: Abbiati, Valera, Pablo, Perea, Antonio López; Camacho, Raúl García, Maxi, Simao, & Forlán.

SUBS: Falcón, Cléber, Luis García, Zé Castro, Jurado, Reyes, Miguel, Mista, Perea.

The only major doubt is Agüero— he’s still recuperating from his midweek injury– Aguirre will determine if he’s fit enough to be included in the starting 11 tomorrow (Saturday).

Who is Ignacio Camacho?

An incredibly talented B/cantera team player. This kid won the U-17 European Championship with Spain (a team which he captained). Camacho is known to idolise Claude Makelele— he shares a similar midfield style to the Frenchman, by the way. Basically, he’s exactly the sort of player we need at the moment: a defensive midfielder. His presence will essentially allow Raul to take on a more attacking role.

STILL INJURED: Leo Franco, Seitaridis, & Motta (for the rest of the season).

Eller & Pernia have been completely left out (tactical decision of Aguirre). If this doesn’t spell the end of these two players, I don’t know what does.

Previous Results for this fixture (Atleti v Barcelona):
06/07 season: 0-6 loss for us– absolute humiliation.
05/06 season: 2-1 win for us.
04/05 season: 1-1 draw.
03/04 season: 0-0 draw.
02/03 season: 3-0 win for us.

Besides last season’s disaster, we have a fairly good record against Barcelona at home. Of course, that’s when we had Torres- who had a knack for terrorising Barcelona.

Barcelona’s previous five games away from Camp Nou (in Liga):
1-2 win against Zaragoza.
1-1 draw against Sevilla.
1-1 draw against Athletic Bilbao.
0-2 win against Mallorca.
0-3 win against Valencia.

Not bad at all. If I remember correctly, a few of their goals and/or victories have been as a result of dubious ref decisions…draw your own conclusions.

They enter the game unbeaten in 8 games.

Barcelona’s selected 18: Valdés, Pinto, Zambrotta, Puyol, Milito, Abidal, Sylvinho, Thuram, Edmílson, Xavi, Deco, Ronaldinho, Gudjohnsen, Iniesta, Messi, Henry, Eto’o & Giovani.

No Bojan, but this is still an incredibly strong squad.

Former Atleti coach Radomir Antić believes that Barça’s visit will revive our current slump: “Perhaps for Atlético, the visit of Barcelona is the best thing. A team in poor form must look for incentives. The motivation that playing Barça will give them can cause the talent that has been dull to arise. The Calderón also will be an added aid that the team needs to succeed.”

Antic has managed both teams (Atleti for longer stints) and hopes for an Atleti win: “I am with Atlético, even though I am not a supporter. I like the style in which football is played rather than the results. I like to see expansive play that takes advantage of the whole field rather than watching a team that defends for ninety minutes to get a result.”

Of course, he says our chances are increased if we have Kun & Forlán— which is a doubt at this point in time.

LET’S JUST GET SOMETHING OUT OF THIS GAME, I SAY.

VAMOS MI POBRE ATLETI!

Anything missing? 

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Fabiano Eller, Ignacio Camacho, Javier Aguirre, Raul Garcia | 43 Comments »

Moving forward…hodgepodge entry

Posted by atleti on February 22, 2008

Firstly, I just want to say it’s snowing A LOT over here.

Just a brief summary of things after yesterday’s disaster: Aguirre & just about every player interviewed by the press have said the same thing– that we will concentrate on securing a Champions spot. If we don’t, we stand the chance of losing our best players over the summer, namely Agüero, and we’ll fail to attract quality talent to replace the current rubbish.

Do we have what it takes? I honestly don’t know.

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

In terms of Aguirre, it appears that the club are set to keep him until the end of the season: “I have this job until 30-June. My contract will continue until then.”

Is this the best decision for the club? Again, I honestly don’t know. I hate Aguirre and await the day that he, Gil, Cerezo, and Pitarch are out of the club.

In terms of players:

Motta is on his way to Colorado to see the highly-rated Doctor Richard Steadman…this means, of course, that he won’t play for the rest of the season. Seriously, why did it take him this long into his injury-riddled career to visit this doctor? This is something he should have done two years ago. What an absolute waste of a player.

SUSPENDED for this Sunday’s away game to Osasuna: Agüero, Pablo & Raúl García.

Recuperated from their respective injuries: Simão, Zé Castro & Valera.

Still injured:  Motta, Seitaridis & Leo Franco.

For anyone unfamiliar with Sergio‘s “¿Hasta cuando?” comment (in the below entry), here’s a video with an origin of it (with English subtitles):

There’s a strong, ever-growing movement of Atleti supporters who want to force Gil & Cerezo out of the club.

 

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Javier Aguirre, Juan Valera, Maniche, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 7 Comments »

Jornada 24: Atlético de Madrid v Athletic Bilbao

Posted by atleti on February 16, 2008

Firstly, this game will be televised (en vivo) in the US– 3.00pm, NY time, GolTV.

Secondly, this is a must-win game against a team that is struggling to avoid the drop this season. [At the moment, they’re #15 with 26 points.]

NB: We’ve played them already (0-2 victory); Refresh your memory on that game here and here.

Previous Results for Atleti v Athletic fixture:
06/07 season: 1-0 win for us.
05/06 season: 1-0 win for us.
04/05 season: 1-1 draw.
03/04 season: 3-0 win for us.
02/03 season: 3-3 draw.

We have a fairly good record against them…May lightening strike me dead if we lose or draw this Sunday.

In terms of Athletic’s recent five results:
*1-0 home win against Levante.
*1-0 away loss against Zaragoza.
*3-3 home draw against Racing (Copa)
*1-1 home draw against Barcelona
*2-0 away loss against Racing (Copa)

Not particularly impressive, with the exception of the Barcelona game.

Anyway, here’s Aguirre’s chosen squad so far:

STARTING 11: Abbiati, Antonio López, Pablo, Eller, Pernía, Maxi, Jurado, Raúl, Luis Garcia, Forlán, & Agüero.

SUBS: Falcón, César, Álvaro Domínguez, Miguel, Mista.

Unbelievably, Aguirre is uncertain about who he’ll pair Raúl up with: Cléber or Jurado. The choice seems painfully obviously: JURADO. In terms of the left wing, he’s also uncertain on Reyes or Luis García. Is this some sort of bad joke? LUIS is far more deserving of a starting 11 spot. Shit, I’d sooner pick my 86 year old grandfather than Reyes.

In any case, Aguirre will make his decision tomorrow.

[UPDATE] He has chosen Jurado & Luis!

INJURY LIST: Leo Franco, Seitaridis, Zé Castro, Valera, Motta, Simão.

SUSPENDED: Perea.

Luis & Raúl are back from their respective suspensions, which is great.

New canterano in the squad: César, 18 year old defender. Will he play at all? Probably not. We’re short of defenders at the moment, though, hence his inclusion alongside Dominguez.

Anyway, here’s hoping a big victory…VAMOS ATLETI!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Jurado, Luis Garcia, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa | 21 Comments »

Pause for Hodgepodge

Posted by atleti on February 5, 2008

For one very <brief> moment, let’s get our minds away from the string of poor results…

The UEFA commitee have confirmed that Raúl García will serve a suspension for our next UEFA game against Bolton Wanderers. I guess this can be viewed as a sort of a mixed blessing, in a way. On one hand, the Spaniard is such an important, almost irreplaceable player for us; on the other hand, he has played many minutes this season, at one point almost non-stop. The suspension would allow Miguel to receive more playing time in this game, which is a good thing.

MOVING ON…There’s an article on AS that talks about how poorly we’ve played since Maniche’s departure to Inter Milan.

In 13 games, Aguirre has tested six different midfield pairings:
R. García-Cléber (5 times)
R. García-Motta (3)
Maxi-Cléber (1)
Motta-Cléber (2)
Jurado-Cléber (1)
R. García-Jurado (1)

We have yet to see a Motta-Miguel midfield.

MOVING ON….Some international duty coming up for a few players (Pablo, Raúl García, Forlán, Perea– I think that’s it).

And, in closing, Fernando at Sentimiento Atletico asked his blog readers today:

“Win the UEFA Cup or secure a Champions spot in Liga? If given the choice, which do you prefer?”

Four reasons for the UEFA Cup: 1) 12 years since our last silverware triumph; 2) Atleti have never won the UEFA Cup; 3)Secure a spot in next season’s competition; and 4)Pride and Happiness for Atleti’s long-suffering supporters.

Thoughts?

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Maniche, Miguel de las Cuevas, Raul Garcia, Thiago Motta | 12 Comments »

Jornada 19: Atlético de Madrid 1 Valencia 0

Posted by atleti on January 13, 2008

Los Colchoneros climb to #3 after another bizarre night at el Vicente Calderón– the final minutes were unbearable! Pure suffering.

Agüero scored the only goal thanks to a shocking error by Valencia goalkeeper Hildebrand.

Abbiati; Perea, Pablo, Eller, Antonio López; Raúl García, Cléber Santana, Maxi (Luis García 91’), Simão; Forlán (Reyes 71’) and Kun Agüero (Valera 93’)

Truth be told, it was another odd game: we went up before half-time as the better side, but allowed Valencia to dominate play in the second half (with Joaquín & Silva causing the most havoc). We played far too much in our own end — up until the dying minutes. Not to mention losing possession in the midfield all too frequently.

SERGIO at La Grada Blog makes a few points that I most definitely agree with: with the exception of Raúl & Agüero, the overall play & attitude of the team leaves much to be desired. That’s not to say that the team (as a whole) doesn’t play well. We’ve all seen them play great football with quick touches and fantastic combinations. It’s just disconcerting that they don’t MAINTAIN that same level of play for the ENTIRE 90 minutes…particularly when they score first.

Switching gears a bit…the sooner Cléber returns to the bench (or, leaves altogether), the better. He is NOT starting 11 quality. Hell, he’s not Liga quality. It’s an absolute shame that a class player such as Raúl has him for a midfield partner. Speaking of which, Raúl has been playing practically non-stop for us. Incredible talent, but I’d hate to see him burn out before the end of the season– or worse, suffer an injury. It’s driving me insane that Jurado is re-injured and Maniche had to act like a dick and get himself banished from the club. Our options are so slim at this point.

Defence looked good, for the most part. Antonio, I think, has proven that he deserves a regular starting 11 spot instead of Pernía. It’s good to see him receiving more minutes of play and proving that it was a tactical error to keep him benched during the early part of the season.

The thing that pissed me off was the substitution of Forlán for Reyes. What the hell? Did anyone else notice Forlán’s reaction? I was watching the game at a bar, so I couldn’t hear what the commentators had to say about it, but he looked rather peeved. Pernía had to settle him down a bit at the bench, it seemed. When I came home, I didn’t notice any online headlines about the outburst. Anyway, I completely understand and sympathise with Forlán, if that was the case. It seemed like an idiotic, risky tactical move by Aguirre, removing the Uruguayo when we’re only 1 up for rubbish Reyes. WHY DOES HE CONTINUE TO USE REYES INSTEAD OF LUIS OR MIGUEL? I will never understand this at all. He got the substitutions all wrong, again, but thankfully it didn’t cost us. A better manager wouldn’t make the sort of decisions that Aguirre makes on a weekly basis.

Aggravations aside (it’s been a day of mixed emotions, as usual), I’m very happy we collected 3 points today. 3 points AND we’re in #3 Champions spot. I’m loving it…suffering, but loving it.

If we play this way against Re*l, we won’t stand a chance.

Here’s our next 6 fixtures:
16-Jan: away to Valladolid (COPA)
20- Jan: at home, MADRID DERBI (LIGA)
27-Jan: away to Mallorca (LIGA)
3-Feb: home to Murcia (LIGA)
10-Feb: away to Racing (LIGA)
13-Feb: away to Bolton (UEFA)

Anything missing?

(Check out all comments on the game in the previous entry, if you haven’t already- lots of good thoughts on it.)

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Cleber Santana, Diego Forlan, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero | 26 Comments »

Jornada 18: Deportivo de La Coruña 0 Atlético de Madrid 3

Posted by atleti on January 6, 2008

After 18 long years, Los Colchoneros finally collect 3 points at Estadio Riazor– against a very poor, clueless Deportivo.

BRIEFLY: Our overall game was average, but the goals were of the highest quality.

Abbiati; Perea, Pablo, Eller, Antonio López; Raúl García, Jurado (73′ Luis García), Maxi, Simão (75′ Reyes); Kun Agüero (67′ Cléber) and Forlán.

GOALS
39′ Forlán (great pass from the left flank by Antonio)
52′ Agüero (counter-attack goal; cool, world-class finishing by Kun)
64′ Jurado (powerful header!)

A Few Thoughts
*Great game for Antonio, in both defence & when moving forward. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be given more playing time. Pernía is passed it.

*Surprisingly good game for Perea, who continues as right-back with Seitaridis unavailable. Very efficient and focused.

*Raúl García– always a consistently good player. He cleared a ball from the line before Kun scored our 2nd goal. That was certainly the turning point of the game.

*Jurado was average, I thought. Apart from his fantastic goal, his performance was adequate at best. Jurado & Cleber aren’t our answer to the central midfield, but they’ll have to do until Motta is fully recovered.

*Good, untroubled game for Abbiati despite one minor slip.

SUBSTITIONS, EH?
Why does Aguirre insist on replacing Simão with Reyes all of the time? Simão was playing well, for the most part. There was no need to take him out at all. Maxi, on the other hand, was practically non-existent for most of the game. It would’ve have been much better to remove ineffective Maxi & replace him with Luis García. Luis is deserving of much more playing time than Reyes, as far as I’m concerned.

*Cléber could have replaced Raúl instead, I thought.

*Fernando at SENTIMIENTO ATLETICO thinks that Miguel should have been included in the squad list & had a few minutes of playing time instead of Reyes. This is another good substitution option that Aguirre didn’t consider.

*The decision to sub out Kun was OK. Like I said in the previous entry, the TV commentator suggested that Kun seemed annoyed at the substitution. Not sure about that.

Anyway, there wasn’t much to the game. Depor were just awful and didn’t look like they would ever get anything out of this clash.

So, we’re back into a Champions spot, I’m happy…and that’s what matters.

Next up: at home to Valencia!

Have you guys seen them play lately? Just awful. They drew against Levante (0-0) today…the Valencia crisis continues. Now’s the time to add further salt to their wounds.

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Christian Abbiati, Diego Forlan, Jose Antonio Reyes, Jurado, Luis Garcia, Luis Perea, Maxi Rodriguez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa | 10 Comments »

Jornada 14: Real Betis 0 Atlético de Madrid 2

Posted by atleti on December 2, 2007

Two goal-scorers, Raul & Forlán. Crucial win lifts Los Colchoneros to Champions.

Thoroughly deserved victory. It was a game that we dominated from start to finish, although the 2nd half was brutal. And by ‘brutal’ I mean downright ugly. In other words, we invited unnecessary pressure on ourselves. Nevertheless, we remained focused enough to secure the victory. Raul’s goal was icing on the cake.

STARTING 11: Leo Franco (Abbiati, 86´); Antonio López; Pablo; Eller; Pernía; Raúl García; Maniche; Maxi Rodríguez; Reyes (Simao, 62’); Agüero (Motta, 69’); Forlán

GOALS
33′ Forlán
92′ Raúl García

Real Betis are a limited, woeful team with very little quality & practically no creativity. There were only three maybe four occasions where I felt they had an opportunity to equalise. Those occasions aside, Betis did not look like they were going to get anything out of the game.

REVIEWS OF PLAYERS

Leo Franco had an incredibly good game, making a double save against Betis’ only real attack in the entire game. It’s unfortunate that he was subbed out with an injury. More on that if it is severe.

Pernía played surprisingly well as left-back, I thought. He made a few unnecessary mistakes, but overall, it was a decent display by the Argentine.

Pablo had a solid performance, although I thought that his yellow card could have easily been a red card had it been a harsher ref. Either way, this means he will serve a suspension for our next game, home to Getafe.

Eller. I’d never thought I’d say this, but the Brasilian actually had a good  game. It was far from sparkling, but it was efficient and not as sloppy as his previous performances.

Antonio López played as right-back and struggled in the 1st half– the Spaniard truly had a difficult time controlling play at that end- in fact, many of Betis’ runs came from the right. He redeemed himself in the 2nd half with an improved, composed performance. Far from perfect, but efficient, for the most part.

Maniche & Raúl García controlled that central midfield area. Class performances by both midfielders, particularly Raúl, our most consistent player. It was great to see him add another goal to his tally. Easily my favourite new signing.

Reyes. Hm. Leivinha wrote a little critique of him in the below entry. I found that the ex-Sevilla midfielder was very industrious in the first half & was unfortunate to be targetted by many of the Betis players. The Spanish commentator on GolTV rightly pointed out that there seems to be a rift between Reyes & Forlan as Reyes tends to waste great attacking opportunities by shooting at goal from long distances.  I can’t blame the Uruguayo if he is indeed frustrated with Reyes being wasteful.

I found that Reyes disappeared in the 2nd half & was deservedly subbed out. I agree with Leivinha in that he has a foul attitude when he is replaced. He had this sarcastic smirk on his face.

I would have preferred Simao to start than Reyes. Not only does he have great technical ability & vision, but the Portuguese midfielder is a ‘team player’.

Maxi had a fairly good game, although he disappeared for moments at a time. At the end of the day, his presence on the pitch adds a certain amount of balance into our game.

Forlán. As far as I’m concerned, he did his job– scored the opening goal with absolute class. Did anyone feel that he disappeared for long spells of the game? I honestly don’t mind, as long as he reappears for goal-scoring opportunities. Good game for the Uruguasho.

Kun- I cringed a bit when Aguirre subbed him out for Motta;  it seemed risky & far too defensive a change at that point. Remember what happened when we played against Murcia? Aguirre subbed out Kun for a defensive player when we were winning 0-1…it, unfortunately, ended as a draw.

I suppose the decision to sub him out wasn’t entirely bad: I continue to remind myself that Kun has been playing practically non-stop since the summer. He’s a professional, but still a young guy and that amount of playing does take its toll out on a player.

Motta was, again, quite impressive. It’s wonderful to have him back & fully fit. With Pablo out with suspension next week, he will surely receive more playing time.

Aguirre didn’t want to comment on Motta’s performance against Aberdeen, but he has broken the silence in his post-game interview tonight: he has praised Motta for adding much needed ‘security’ to the side.

Simao. He didn’t have much time to make his mark in the game, but whenever he is on the pitch, he always tries his best & is always a threat to the opposition.

All in all, I’m thrilled with the win and the fact that we are back in Champions contention. It is also great that the Barcelona derby ended as a draw; that Villarreal lost to Valladolid; and that woeful Valencia lost to Athletic Bilbao!

Next three games:
5-December: away to FC Copenhagen (UEFA)
9-December: home to Getafe (Liga)
12-December: away to Granada (Copa del Rey)

AUPA ATLETI

 

Posted in Antonio Lopez, Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Javier Aguirre, Jose Antonio Reyes, Leo Franco, Maniche, Mariano Pernia, Maxi Rodriguez, Pablo Ibanez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta | 11 Comments »

UEFA: Atlético de Madrid 2 Aberdeen FC 0

Posted by atleti on November 30, 2007

Forlán celebrates after scoring from the spot.

STARTING 11: Abbiati, Antonio López, Eller, Pablo, Pernía, Motta, Cleber, Maxi (Maniche 71), Luis García, Agüero (Simão 46), Forlán (Mista 70).

Subs Not Used: Falcón, Raúl García, Zé Castro, Reyes.

GOALS
45+1′ Forlán (pen)
61′ Simão

CLICK HERE TO SEE A SHORT VIDEO OF THE TWO GOALS.

Atlético comfortably won Aberdeen FC in Vicente Calderón stadium this evening, climbing up the group table:

Group B
Panathinaikos 6
Atlético 4
København 3
Lokomotiv Moskva 2
Aberdeen 1

NB: By winning our final two group games (away to Copenhagen & home to Panathinaikos), we will secure top spot. 

Aguirre after the game:
“It was important to pick up the three points, and to not concede any goals. They were our objectives, and we achieved them…The team knew how to control the match…We knew how to play the match when ahead.”

I was only able to watch the first half on livefooty before I had to go to work. Once there, I followed the live text (no Internet radio, unfortunately).

For those of you who don’t know Spanish, I’ve translated & paraphrased a few excerpts from the blogs of two Atleti supporters who went to the game:

Fernando at SENTIMIENTO ATLETICO wrote this at the end of his entry:
“It should be noted that Motta played a [major role in this game]; Cleber & Eller performed terribly as usual; Antonio performed well as right-back; & Simao [played excellently & with lots of desire in the second half.”

Sergio at LA GRADA has written that the game almost felt like a ‘training session’ against a ‘very poor’ Aberdeen side. Sergio also pointed out the immense ‘presence of Motta’ in midfield & noted that without Raul or Maniche, our attacking game tends to be rather predictable. “There was so little ‘flow’ in this game [on our part] that the two goals came from set-pieces.”

El Mundo’s Fernando Llamas had this to say at FT:
“The difference between the two teams is infinite […] Atleti failed to overwhelm its opponent, who only knew how to do a couple moves, one of them being kicking long balls to striker Lee Miller.

If you missed the comments in the previous entry, check them out: day1star provided his (always-welcomed) summarisation of the game. In fact, thanks to all visitors of the blog– it’s great to have regulars pop in to offer their insight & thoughts on results and other happenings.

Back to the game: I’m thrilled that we won again. The fact that we kept a clean sheet (despite the defensive blunders of Eller) is great as well. I’d also like to go on record and say that of all of our current players, Simao is the one who should take the free-kicks, if he is on the pitch. It annoys me when I hear that Reyes steps up to take one (thankfully he didn’t play this evening)– as far as I’m concerned, Simao is our free-kick specialist.

It’s also worth pointing out that Maniche only played 20 minutes & Raul remained benched– two key players for our league games. They will be more than ready to return to the starting 11 this Sunday against Real Betis.

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Fabiano Eller, Jose Antonio Reyes, Maniche, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Thiago Motta, UEFA | 5 Comments »

Jornada 13: Atlético de Madrid v Real Valladolid

Posted by atleti on November 24, 2007

Finally! Club action is back on schedule!

{UPDATE} STARTING 11: Leo Franco, Valera, Pablo, Zé Castro, Pernía, Raúl García, Maniche, Reyes, Simao, Maxi; Kun Agüero.

SUBS: Falcón; Antonio López; Cléber; Forlán; Luis García; Eller; Jurado; Perea

A Few Notes
*As expected, Forlán will be on the bench & won’t play unless absolutely necessary. I think this is a good idea, in terms of preventing another injury setback.

*Valera’s first game in the starting 11- best of luck to him.

*Perea, Jurado, & Raul all appeared fit for the game.

*Where Motta you ask? Aguirre says he wants him fresh for our UEFA game against Aberdeen– he plans on using him in the starting 11

Here are a couple excerpts from Forlán‘s recent press talk:

“Sunday’s match is going to be difficult and since we’re playing at home we need to win the three points. In the end, it’s always important to be up there to have possibilities during the final sprint and to have something to play for.”

“The team is fine physically. The three points against Valladolid are very important, which means that we have to leave the last game against Almeria behind us. All of the matches are difficult, which is the good thing about the Spanish League, where you don’t know what’s going to happen.”

I agree 100%: this is a game we MUST win. Notice how I say that a lot? Well, if we expect to secure a Champions League spot this season, THESE are the games we need to win.

MOVING ON…both Maxi and Kun arrived from South America injury-free…always a good thing! Raúl García will be back into action, too: if you recall, he served a suspension in Round 12 and has used much of his time to recover from a fractured nose injury.

Personally, I’d like to see Luis Garcia in the starting 11– he did not serve international duty and has been injury-free.

My only concern is the defence– but I think we will keep it tight in the back. Perea & Seitaridis are out injured, so we might see Valera & Ze Castro in their place.

I’ve seen Valladolid play in previous rounds– they’re a good footballing side, but have had a topsy-turvy start to the season. Before the international break, they were on a good run & I don’t doubt that they will give us a ‘run for our money’. At the end of the day, however, we are strong at home & have a more potent attack.

Bottom-line: Let’s beat Valladolid!

Posted in Atletico Madrid, Diego Forlan, Juan Valera, Luis Garcia, Maxi Rodriguez, Raul Garcia, Sergio Aguero, Simao Sabrosa, Ze Castro | 17 Comments »