While everyone else in the football news world was drooling over the 8-0 Barcelona win today, Atletico Madrid quietly went about their league business, winning the same three points with a 1-0 victory over Athletic Club.
This is the Atleti ethos: no need to show off with a shower of goals, but a win was every bit as essential.
No one more than our number 9, Fernando Torres, seems to understand that. He netted his fifth goal in five matches, assisted by Antoine Griezmann—and it was a beautiful, powerful vintage El Nino goal, which has been the trend.
The next few weeks are crucial for Simeone’s side. They have to keep up the wins. Frankly, I’d like to see more than a goal here and there from Griezmann without the extra goal help from Koke or Yannick Carrasco. The match should have seen Atleti two up against the Basques but then again, Los Colchoneros have never been any different. They don’t net huge amounts of goals, but they get the job done all the same.
Torres can keep on as he is doing, which is just fine. At this rate, it is hoped he will have earned his place in Atleti going forward.
Atletico Madrid play superb defense, but they also consistently show that eight goals are not needed to prove anything to anyone.
Most clean sheets in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season:
Atletico Madrid (21)
Bayern Munich (19)
Manchester Utd (17)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 21, 2016
The one cause for concern in this match was an early hamstring injury to Diego Godin, who limped off the pitch just over ten minutes in. Hamstrings and their long healing time could mean a huge blow to Atleti in their tough upcoming Champions fixtures. They host Bayern next Wednesday, and then travel to Munich the week after, playing five matches (three league, two Champions) in just two weeks. This is the time we need a healthy squad.
Atleti’s English Twitter account reported a muscle injury. Godin sat on the bench for the remainder of the game, so perhaps it is not too serious.
— Atleti English (@atletienglish) April 20, 2016
Bayern will have sat up and taken notice, because Godin is an integral part of the red and white back four, creating one of the most powerful defenses in Europe—a defense that shut out Barcelona in last week’s Champions clash. As well, Jose Gimenez is out, also recovering from a hamstring injury.
In other news, it looks as though Tiago is recovering nicely from his broken leg.
Four games are left. The title race is hot, but I would suggest anyone who isn’t eyeing Atletico Madrid as a major contender needs to seriously reconsider.
I’ll see you next from the Camp Nou at the weekend.