I’m not happy. I’m not really happy with the result, as I felt we wasted a bunch of chances and relied extra heavily on our Costa Rican Superman. But I’m mostly unhappy with the backlash that inevitably happens every time we don’t get a result we think that we should. As a result, it’s taken me longer to write this. I hate writing posts when I’m upset.
Let me say this now. I will always attempt to criticize where it is deserved and give credit where it is due. But I will ALWAYS support everyone that pulls that shirt over their head. That includes the one man that everyone else seems to think causes every damn problem we have.
I’m tired. I’m so, so tired of Arbeloa being the target of so much rage. Look, I get it. There are better defenders out there. And when I defend Arbeloa, I’m aware of that. But he is a part of our team. We’ll get to his involvement in the goal that was scored against us, but he was not alone. And if not for the absolute heroics of Navas we would have been down a goal much earlier thanks to Sergio. It’s Ramos, not Arbeloa that gives away more penalties.
In pulling gifs and photos, I came across my favorite anti-Arbeloa post yet. It was a photo of Arbeloa, probably around 11-years-old, in an Atleti jersey. First, the majority of football fans actually living in Madrid are Atleti fans not Real fans. Second, I had to laugh at the photo because I get the feeling that some people don’t know a whole lot about Raul. Our beloved Raul began his career at Atleti before coming over to Real. Morata also began his career at Atleti. We wanted to sign a goalkeeper who moved from Atleti only 4 years ago. Arbeloa is a canterano just like Jese is, just like Dani is, and just like Iker is. So I’m tired of seeing/hearing that he doesn’t love this club. None of us know that.
Somehow, this idea of Arbeloa has been created because we always need a villain. People legitimately think that the only person that did anything wrong was Arbeloa. That he purposely broke Iker’s hand. That he was leaking information to the press. I’m not saying he was innocent, or that he shouldn’t have said a little less (or at least been careful about what he was saying) in interviews. I’m saying he wasn’t the only one. There are always two sides and the truth usually lies somewhere in the middle.
And lastly, let’s not forget that he is human. Sometimes humans mess up. We all make excuses for when our forwards and goalkeepers mess up, but we want to hang others. I’m not any better. I have extremely high expectations of defenders because I was a defender and midfielder. But I think sometimes we forget that these are people and not play things that we can discard.
That was kind of a preachy way of just warning you that I’m not going to attempt to slaughter Arbeloa. And if that makes you angry, then I’m sorry that your anger over someone else’s life consumes you that thoroughly.
Atletico Madrid: Jan Oblak; Juanfran, Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Felipe Luis; Gabi, Tiago Mendes, Oliver Torres; Angel Correa, Fernando Torres, Antione Griezmann
Real Madrid: Keylor Navas; Dani Carvajal, Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo; Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Casemiro; Isco, Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo
I was a bit surprised to see that Nando got the start but I was very excited for all of the Sernando action that we could potentially see.
I was also very excited that we had Gareth back on the bench!
Atleti got the game kicked off. It was a completely sold out match (it’s next on my list of matches to attend after having the awesome experience of a Clasico). If we won, we’d make it to the top of the table. We needed to win!
We got our first chance in the 4th minute. Modric found Cris in the box but his header was wide of the post. Correa had a shot for Atleti in the 6th minute but his shot was also wide of the post.
It was even between the two teams. It wasn’t leaning too much either way. So of course, I was nervous as hell. And both goalkeepers were doing extremely well.
Then, in the 9th minute War Kitten got his head on a great cross from Dani. Did anyone else notice how quiet it got at the Calderon?
I love happy Benz! FABOD and I have been extremely into Benz lately. I think he deserves it.
Unfortunately, Atleti nearly responded immediately. Torres, of the Oliver kind, played a pass into Correa then his shot was wide. The reality was that our defense was not looking confident. Atleti’s really wasn’t either, but I like that. I don’t like our defense looking shaky.
In the 15th minute Correa had another shot but was again wide of the post.
In the 17th minute, Cris got the ball wide and made a cross into Isco but there was too much on it. It was also around this time that noticed that Casemiro was quite possibly having the best match I’d ever witnessed from him.
Gabi also picked up a booking in the 17th minute for going in late on Karim.
I felt like Toni maybe wasn’t at his best, but Modric and Casemiro were picking up a lot of that slack. That was good for us in midfield. What they couldn’t pick up the slack for was Sergio and his dumb ass.
In the 21st minute, he made a really dumb tackle on Tiago in the box. I swore he was going to pick up a red card for it but luckily it was only a yellow. It was a penalty however and Griezmann stepped up to take it.
HOLY CANNOLIS! SOCCER GODS BLESS KEYLOR NAVAS!
What a fantastic save! It was a well struck penalty and an even better save!
Dani represents every Madridista in the world, no? Nothing like proving that you were meant to be at Real Madrid! I freaking love you, Keylor.
We kept pressing but Atleti was really good at getting themselves behind the ball. It always seemed like they had more defenders back than we had players forward. And they were, of course, looking for their own push forward.
In the 34th minute, Cris had a really good chance after some nice work by Benz. But his radar was off and the only thing he could do was put it over the bar.
Dani was taken down in the 39th minute and Correa earned a yellow card for it. The tackle injured Dani and he had to be substituted. It was Arbeloa that got the call.
Then after one minute of added time the half ended Atletico Madrid 0-1 Real Madrid.
Before the restart, Carrasco replaced Oliver Torres. When we got the ball rolling (I can’t help using that pun. I just can’t) we were definitely in control.
Of course Atleti knew that our weak point was Arbeloa. He just doesn’t have the speed and they were determined to take advantage of that. The first real chance they had, though, was in the 51st minute. Correa beat Arbeloa and slid the ball into Nando. But Nando’s shot was high.
There was a moment shortly after when I felt a card should have been given for a hard tackle on Cris by Gimenez.
In the 56th minute, Arbeloa pulled Griezmann to the ground after being beat. To be honest, he needed to and it was a smart foul. Had he not pulled him down, Griezmann would have been in on goal. Lucky for us, the freekick was not stellar and nothing came of it.
In the 58th minute, Atleti’s next sub was Vietto for Correa. Then in the 59th minute, Varane received a yellow card for a challenge on Torres. I was torn. I wasn’t really sure that it was deserving of a card.
It seemed a bit then, like the ref was making up for lost time. Juanfran was booked in the 50th minute and Casemiro was booked in the 51st.
Atleti made their last sub at 64th minute with Jackson Martinez replacing Nando. And we got our speedy GareBear in the 66th minute. He replaced Isco, who has been having a bit of a hard time lately. He’s not quite looking himself. I feel for him.
Basically the next 10 minutes were me just waiting for Atleti to score. They looked more likely, they were pressing more, testing our defense more, and their shots were closer to the target than the few that we had.
In the 77th minute, we made our final substitution. Benz was replaced again, this time by Kovacic. I’m not the coach, I know. Benitez is a defensive coach, I know. But I do not understand taking off the guy that’s leading the Spanish scoring chart. I just don’t get it.
In the 79th minute, Vietto picked up a yellow card for going in late on Modric. Then Griezmann picked up a yellow in the 83rd minute for his attempt to break Modric. Why does everyone need to try to break Lucky Luka?!
Then, in the 84th minute, Jackson Martinez beat Arbeloa on the wing. He slid the ball to Griezmann, who touched to Vietto. The ball was in the back of the net and Atleti had made it even at the Calderon.
Arbeloa was beat. Yes. He was beat. But the defending in the middle had fallen apart. And where was Marcelo? Oh… That’s him trotting in on the right from a forward position that he’d failed to come back from. So no, that goal is NOT Arbeloa’s fault. It is the fault of the ENTIRE defense. Just stop.
In the 88th minute, Godin finally picked up a yellow card for a hard tackle on Cris. Godin should just get a yellow card for starting a match. Ugh.
And in the 89th minute, Arbeloa was booked for a late challenge on Carrasco.
There were 3 minutes of added time in which Martinez had a chance but luckily we have Navas there to make up for the lacking defense in the same way that we had Iker to make up for all of the shortcomings of our defense.
The match ended Atletico Madrid 1-1 Real Madrid.
Benitez: “We have taken one point and dropped two”
by Javier Garcia“We dominated the first half and did what we had to do, but they put pressure on after the break”, he declared.
Rafa Benítez gave a press conference at the Vicente Calderón. The Whites manager analysed the first derby of the season: “We have taken one point and dropped two. We dominated the first half and did what we had to do, but after the break they put pressure on and played with added intensity. We had chances on the counterattack that we did not put away and we lacked precision”.
“We have to give Atlético the praise they deserve, they pressured and looked to attack. We have dropped two points due to the way the game went. We had the lead and we committed two errors, the penalty and the goal. Just looking at the last 15 minutes, you would admit that Atlético had the momentum, but if you consider the whole game you see that we had control for large periods”.
Good first half
“In the first half the team played for the win. They put pressure on in the second half. We needed to get the second goal from one of the chances we had. We had more control in the first half. In the second half, they added a lot of intensity to their game”.
“It is important for us to win every game, and not look at what the other opponents are doing. We have to hope that there will be no problems with the national squads and think about the next game”.
“He did well, but I substituted him because we needed to freshen things up on the wing. With Bale’s speed we were able to play between different areas of the pitch and with Cristiano up forward we kept up our attacks. We balanced the team and maintained our attacking punch”.
“He has already played in other games. When there are aerial battles he helps us and he knows what to do with the ball. He is a very valuable player”.
“He sprained his ankle and we will need to monitor his situation”.
Casemiro: “We had a good game and we had it under control”
by Javier Garcia“We controlled the game well for long periods”, said Carvajal.
Casemiro was in the starting line-up at the Vicente Calderón and he highlighted the side’s performance during the game: “We had a good game. In the second half, we were slightly behind them but the game was under control, however then they got the equaliser. It is difficult to play here, it is a ground where the opponents put on pressure”.
“Keylor is a great goalkeeper and we continue to benefit from his stops. He is incredible”.
Substitutions and referee’s performance
“Carvajal is an important player, but everyone who participated did well. The referee did not harm either of the sides”.
Carvajal: “We controlled the game well for long periods”
”We attacked and went ahead. We controlled the game well for long periods, but they put pressure on, and got the equaliser when we lost the ball. It was an open game”.
“The case may be that from the 75th minute onwards we were satisfied with the 0-1, we lacked the fluidity to kill off the game. These are games where fitness comes into play. We dropped two points but we have to keep going. It is difficult to score against Atlético Madrid but we are a great team”.
“I had an awkward foot movement, I was not comfortable and asked to be taken off. I will have tests tomorrow and we will assess the injuries, but I am feeling positive, and getting betting all the time”.On his penalty save, the goalkeeper said: “That’s something I research and work on”.
Keylor Navas expressed his thoughts on the game against Atlético as follows: “We wanted to win and we had a chance to just that. At the end of the day, we weren’t looking for a draw but at least it’s another point on the board; we have to be appreciative about that and continue onwards. We were guilty of some carelessness and mistakes are severely punished in games like these. We tried to play our game and they sat back waiting for us to slip up. It’s tough trying to break down such a tight unit but that’s what we attempted to do”.
“We need to appreciate the fact that we played well, we can’t dwell on the negatives. We’ll need to look over things and correct the mistakes but we’re doing a good job. The team played well, it wasn’t the most attractive game of football but we were up against a very good opponent that defend well and sit deep”.
“What happened during the summer is in the past, I’m living in the present moment now. I wanted to be the first choice keeper and I’m really enjoying things at the moment. Hopefully we can get to the end of the year with the points tally we set out for ourselves so as to be on course to achieve our objective, which is to win La Liga”.
The penalty and his save near the end
“That’s something I research and work on. God is on my side and he helped me make my decision and save the penalty. You always have to be on your toes in order to help the team out; it was a tricky shot but luckily I was able to keep it out”.
I’m not doing any post-match social media because I’m almost a week late on this. I’m still sour over it. But I’m ready to move on.
We play Levante on Saturday and I will be doing the match post from Madrid. If things work in my favor, I’ll be at the match with two non-soccer loving friends. They’ll get to witness my crazy!
¡Hala Madrid y Nada Mas!