Blog by: Srihari
Atlético Madrid condemned Madrid to their first league defeat at the Bernabéu in 34 games thanks to a Diego Costa goal. Gareth Bale’s home debut was spoilt by Atlético’s win. Let us look at the five major talking points from the game.
Have Atlético finally gotten rid of their mental block?
When Atlético Madrid finally defeated Real Madrid at the Bernabéu last year in the Copa del Rey final last year, it was the first time, they had done so in 25 attempts. During the past decade or so, there were numerous occasions when it looked like Atlético were on a good run of form, but they would come into the derby and freeze completely.
It looked as if every time both of them played, irrespective of the formbook, Atlético would present Real Madrid with three points. There was some sort of mental block, which prevented them from going that one step further and beating their cross-city rivals. And it looks like last year’s victory, changed all of that. It gave them belief and a renewed sense of hope. It was what Atlético had been waiting for and coming into this game on a run of amazing form, they managed to continue that with a well-deserved victory.
Diego Costa is proving to be the perfect replacement for Falcao
Few would have believed that the Spanish would have been crying out loud for a Brazilian player to gain Spanish citizenship with as much anticipation. But, such has been the form of Diego Costa that, when he finally gained his Spanish citizenship recently, it was met with so much fanfare all around the country. The 24-year-old Brazilian striker, who hadn’t scored more than 10 league goals before this campaign, already has eight in just seven games.
The Brazilian is currently the most lethal striker in Spain, ahead of even the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. And whilst Messi has taken 34 shots for his eight goals and Ronaldo has taken 60 shots for his six, Diego Costa has only taken 21 shots, showing that not only is he deadly, but is effective as well. And whilst his physical demeanor and petulance hasn’t brought him too many fans, as long as he is banging in the goals, his manager wouldn’t mind it, one bit.
Ancelotti still finding his feet at Real
In a league, where even draws are almost as demoralizing as defeats, Ancelotti first loss as Madrid manager means that they are already five points adrift of Barcelona and Atlético, who lead the league with seven wins out of seven. Already this season, Real looked vulnerable at the back, and although they have the likes of Isco, Ronaldo and Bale up front, they still look like a side trying to find the right balance between defense and attack.
Whilst Ancelotti was primarily brought in for his European pedigree, being so far adrift just a few weeks into the season wouldn’t do his chances of staying any favors. Ancelotti must quickly identify his best formation and fit in the galaxy of attackers into one cohesive unit. Whilst that may certainly take time, defeat in the derby means that, time is certainly not on Ancelotti’s side.
Can Atlético finally break the top two stranglehold?
The 1-0 defeat of Real Madrid means that Atlético Madrid have gotten off to their best ever start in the 77 year history of La Liga. Los Rojiblancos have started the season on fire and after winning their opening four games whilst conceding five goals, they have managed to their next three without conceding a single goal. In Koke and Diego Costa, they have the men who are leading the assist and goal scoring charts, with 6 assists and 8 goals respectively.
And whilst they don’t have the ball all the time, their lightning quick counter attacks and their ability to clinically finish off any chances they create, means that they are a threat to any side in the league. With Gabi and Tiago holding fort in the center of midfield, they have certainly established a platform for all their attacks and with Koke and Turan on the wings with Costa and Villa up front, they are a match for any side.
The blossoming Isco and Ronaldo partnership
Whilst it didn’t work out against Los Rojiblancos on Saturday, Isco and Cristiano Ronaldo are certainly showing all the signs of becoming a deadly duo. The pair, between them have scored 10 out of the 14 goals scored by Real in the league this year. Whilst the finishing was pretty poor in the game against Atlético, there were times, when it looked as if the pair of them, could score as many goals as their hearts desired.
Their growing partnership perhaps explains why Los Blancos let Özil go to Arsenal, when he was their most creative player in the previous four seasons. With Ronaldo providing the finishing touch, the pair between them are capable of both creating opportunities with force and finesse. Their understanding is reminiscent of players who have played together all their lives and Ancelotti will be hoping that this partnership clicks and helps Real Madrid claim at least a single trophy this year.