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5 things we learned at the weekend

La Liga Sep 29, 2014
2 days ago

Awards snub of Atletico Madrid reflects power, not performance

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone praised his team for beating Getafe amid a flurry of league and Champions League fixtures.

The Spanish football league (LFP) held their premier event, the annual awards gala Monday evening in Madrid. Think The Oscars but far more drawn out and with infinitely more drama queens.

The ceremony is essentially designed to reward the top performers from the previous season's domestic league campaigns in the top two divisions in Spain. Quite why it is held five months after the season has ended is anybody's guess. It is a nice idea, though, and good that those who performed well can be recognised.


2 days ago

More fodder for Diego Simeone and his 'circle the wagons' style at Atletico

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone praised his team for beating Getafe amid a flurry of league and Champions League fixtures.

If you were in the Spanish capital Monday night, you were right: That was the sound of packhorses whinnying in effort and of wooden spoked wheels grinding and trundling.

The sound of Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone circling wagons.

It's an ancient trick, one perfected in football by Sir Alex Ferguson -- sham psychology but, boy, can it work. The concept is that regardless of whether the world is or is not against you and your team, you inculcate a feeling among your players that where...

4 days ago

Player Ratings: Mandzukic finding his footing as Atletico top Getafe

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone insists that the defending champions' performances are improving as the season continues.

On a weekend when the La Liga title race was blown right back open, the reigning champions Atletico Madrid did not miss out, securing a 1-0 win away to Getafe on Sunday night thanks to a Mario Mandzukic strike.

Atleti now sit just two points off top spot, and with the visit of Cordoba -- the only side yet to win in Spain's top flight this season -- confidence will be high among Diego Simeone's troops that they are firmly back in the title tilt.

This was the eighth time Simeone has faced Getafe...

5 days ago

Unsung hero Diego Godin warrants a mention as a Ballon d'Or contender

Cristiano Ronaldo's club stats this year could make him a lock for the Ballon d'Or, but does Portugal's poor performance at the World Cup hurt his chances? FC's Sid Lowe and Steve Nicol debate.

In the wake of Atletico Madrid's thumping 5-0 win over Malmo on Wednesday, there were a few tongue-in-cheek comments by fans about a certain Uruguayan. No, not that one; Atletico Madrid's own Diego Godin.

"Diego Godin for Ballon d'Or," were the cries from the Vicente Calderon faithful. Strange when you consider their side had just put five past the Swedish champions and that local lad Koke scored one and set up three to pick up the man of the match award.

Yet Godin's was the name on their lips, and...

Oct 22, 2014

Diego Godin again infallible as Atletico Madrid blitz Malmo in the Champs Lge

Diego Godin scored for Atletico from a set peice again. Is the Uruguayan a Ballon D'Or contender?

Atletico Madrid produced a sensational second half as they dismantled Swedish side Malmo 5-0 on Wednesday evening at the Vicente Calderon.

Having created the better chances for no reward in the opening 45, a sense of frustration was starting to seep in as the second half kicked off. Up stepped Koke -- the academy graduate not only opened the scoring but he laid on three more as the La Liga winners gave their Allsvenskan counterparts a harsh Champions League lesson.

Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid
Malmo FFMalmo FF
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Goals from Mario Mandzukic, Antoine...

Oct 20, 2014

Atletico's interchangeable parts expected to handle Malmo

Diego Simeone was delighted with Atletico Madrid's attacking use of the flanks in their 2-0 win over Espanyol on Sunday.

What do Zenit, Porto, Austria Wien, AC Milan, Barcelona, Chelsea and Juventus all have in common? The answer: They have gone to Vicente Calderon Stadium on a Champions League night and come away without a win. The best result was Chelsea's 0-0 draw, and even that was not enough to see them through over the two legs.

Atletico Madrid do not lose often in front of their home fans. The most recent time -- save for last season's Copa del Rey second leg to Real Madrid, which was mostly an afterthought...