Atletico Madrid keep the candle burning in La Liga title race

Alvaro Morata

In San Sebastien on Sunday evening, Atletico Madrid turned in a typically solid performance to take all three points at the home of Real Sociedad.

A first-half double from the head of Alvaro Morata gave Diego Simeone’s side a 2-0 win and brought them back to within seven points of league leaders Barcelona.

Barca had beaten Atletico’s city rivals, Real Madrid, 1-0 at the Bernabeu less than 24 hours previously.

It was at Sociedad’s Anoeta Stadium that the biggest La Liga fantasy football points would be handed out over the weekend, however.

Atletico Madrid go back to basics to get results

Diego Costa

Atletico Madrid look to have recovered from their slow start to the season, with Diego Simeone’s side unbeaten in their last five games in La Liga and Champions League action.

Los Rojiblancos won just one of their opening four La Liga games, with underwhelming performances and just three goals scored.

Their start was particularly frustrating for fans after their impressive showing in the European Super Cup Final, where they beat bitter rivals Real Madrid in Tallinn.

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Atletico Madrid’s new-found depth provides plenty of possibilities in their draw at Mestalla


When LaLiga officially announced the fixtures for this upcoming season in late July, many eyes naturally made their way to the opening weekend. While most of the attention is normally reserved for who Real Madrid and Barcelona will play, this time around it was another match-up that had Spanish football fans collectively licking their lips.

Coming off an incredible campaign — in which they finished fourth — under first-year manager Marcelino, hope and optimism had swelled to new heights at Valencia. Key players such as Geoffrey Kondogbia were retained, while the club brought in a slew of promising signings led by Daniel Wass and Mitshi Batshuayi. Dealing with such a squad as an opening fixture would be challenging enough, but couple that with having to play them at Mestalla and on short rest is another proposition entirely.

Indeed, this was precisely the task laying at the boots of Atletico Madrid. Coming off a thrilling, albeit exhausting, 120 minute affair with Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday, spectators weren’t quite sure of what to expect from Diego Simeone’s men. Back on the touchline after his suspension midweek, El Cholo deployed his tried and tested 4-4-2 formation.  Contrary to the norm, the Argentine decided to bypass the inclusion of a defensive midfielder by resting Rodri, instead going with a more offensive-minded side; which included Saul and Koke in central midfield and Angel Correa wide with Thomas Lemar.

The gamble initially paid-off, as the visitors dominated the proceedings and were able to strike first in the 27th minute. A sensational ball to Correa from Antoine Griezmann fooled the entire Valencia back-line, leaving the Argentine a simple finish to put past Neto. Without the defensive presence behind them, Koke and Saul at times left too much space in behind. This was noticeable when a rare misjudgment of the ball by Diego Godin allowed Rodrigo to equalize in the 60th minute. Going forward, this shouldn’t be of massive concern as it was the Uruguayans first error that directly lead to an opposition goal since 2012 against Barcelona.

One of Atleti’s most promising signings, Gelson Martins, came on for his Colchonero debut and immediately made an impact. In the 18 minutes he was on the field, he completed a total of three dribbles from six attempted. That was more than Valencia had as an entire team, having registered just two. Vitolo and Thomas Partey would also join the Portuguese as substitutions, hardly signifying a massive drop-off from the players they inevitably replaced.

While Atletico ultimately weren’t able to leave Mestalla with all three points, scratching out a draw was nothing to frown about. If anything, this match only further displayed the tremendous amount of depth and positional flexibility that Simeone now possesses. While clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona possess world class starting elevens in their own right, it is the quality of their depth that is often the difference in capturing trophies.

With aspirations of once again becoming Spanish champions, it was imperative that Atletico improve in this area compared to years past. Although the season is still very young, we have already seen glimpses of that dream becoming a reality. A more attacking approach is something that will take time to implement in Atletico’s collective psyche, but the early indications have been promising.

If you enjoy Spanish football, then invite your friends and challenge them at Fantasy Liga now!

Atletico Madrid aiming for glorious season finale

Club Atletico de Madrid v RC Deportivo La Coruna - La Liga

Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid face a decisive week in their season, as they chase European glory and domestic ‘almost glory’.

Atletico take on Marseille in Wednesday night’s Europa League final, before a final day clash with Eibar in La Liga.

Simeone’s side will be fully focused ahead of their European clash with the French side, but he will have to balance his squad across the two games.

Los Colchoneros are firm favourites to win against Marseille, and collect the trophy they won twice between 2010 and 2012.

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La Roja benefit from excellent Atletico Madrid


Spain’s preparations for the world Cup this summer begin with double header of friendlies, against Germany and Argentina this week.

Head coach Julen Lopetegui is still mulling over his selection for his finals 23-man squad, however the excellent performances of Atletico Madrid in La Liga this season have made his job easier.

Atletico are the only side to have been in with a chance of keeping pace with runaway leaders Barcelona this season, currently sitting in second, and placed for their best La Liga finish since 2013-14.

Three Atletico players have been called up this time; Koke, Saul Niguez and Diego Costa.

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