La Liga Sportblog

User offline. Last seen 4 years 3 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 31/07/2017
Posts: 411
Points: 0

Quique Setién says he has told Atlético Madrid’s manager Diego Simeone exactly what he thinks of him but Simeone hasn’t told him back. He can guess, though: it doesn’t take a genius. “He might not like what I do, but he has the decency not to say so,” admits the chess-playing, beach football international, former manager of Equatorial Guinea (for one night only) and defender of an aesthetic footballing faith who briefly made Las Palmas the best thing in the league and is now at Real Betis, if maybe not for much longer. “He might go: ‘Bloody hell, this bring-the-ball-out thing, I shit on its mother!’ He’s good enough not to say that, but I’m sure he thinks it.”

So is everyone else, and more than before. Because if Simeone never told Setién, on Sunday afternoon he showed him. Really, really showed him. It was easy to imagine him barely suppressing a smirk, winking his way back to the dressing room at the Benito Villamarín and breaking into a giggle as soon as he got through the door, points won and point made. At the same time as he arrived, midfielder Koke stood pitchside. Talking to the telly, Koke’s opening line couldn’t have been clearer: “Betis were spectacular,” he said. “They played very well, they play very nice football.” Antonio Adán, Betis’s goalkeeper, agreed: “The football we played was incredible,” he insisted, “our opponents were truly dominated.” The problem was, a ‘but’ hung in the air and it was a big one. Dominated? Perhaps, but still not defeated.

Betis had more shots, more chances, and more of the ball. Much, much more; 74%, in fact. Atlético, who had never had less possession, completed just over 150 passes, Betis over 600. “Atletico were a mere spectator,” said AS. But Atlético were also the victor, Saúl Níguez scoring the only goal. “Betis bring the football, Atlético take the result,” AS added. “Setién’s team plays well, Simeone’s wins,” agreed Marca. And far from feel offended, Atlético felt a tingle of pride.
They’d done it again and the way they did it posed the question: could they do it again? As for Betis, much as Setién said the performance “strengthened” them, much as he insisted he’ll “never change”, and much as they’re still six points and seven places above the relegation zone, they’ve been knocked out of the cup, this was their sixth consecutive game without a win, and he’s under pressure, his philosophy now held against him. Simeone’s philosophy meanwhile, questioned at times, now reinforces him.
That all seemed to crystallise on Sunday. Betis versus Atlético, Setién versus Simeone, was always set up to be a clash of styles. Few clubs, few managers, are as clear in how they play; few are as far apart, either. Which was why ultimately perhaps there was something predictable about the way it played out. At the end of the match, the Betis defender Aissa Mandi insisted: “It sounds strange to say this but this might have been our best game this season.” He was wrong: maybe not about it being their best performance – although they won at the Bernabéu, beat Levante Authentic Walter Payton Jersey 4-0 and drew 4-4 at Real Sociedad – but about it sounding strange. It actually sounded pretty standard … only more so. This match was almost like a caricature and, like any caricature, it was exaggerated but there was also something in it.
“Betis were as pretty as they are ineffective,” El País insisted. “Atletico were a rock,” Zouhair Feddal said, and although they are more than that, not just the defensive team they’re sometimes accused of being, he was right. Simeone admitted Betis were “far superior”, but he was only talking about the opening 20 minutes and he was probably also right to limit it to that. To begin with, Atlético struggled a little and again they needed a sharp save Jaquiski Tartt Jersey from Jan Oblak, but by the end they had won again and as the game went on they were rarely exposed.
Simeone has faced Setién four times now and beaten him in each of them, never conceding. This time was, as Marca put it, “particularly bitter medicine” for Setién to take and AS was saying much the same: “You don’t like Simeone? Here, take two spoons of Simeone,” it wrote. You could imagine ‘El Cholo’ feeling especially satisfied, vindication served through victory. Atlético started with four central midfielders and finished with six defenders; they also finished with a win. “Setién couldn’t have knocked down that wall with a nuclear bomb,” ran one report.
None of which would matter that much if it wasn’t for the fact that this felt like something of a threshold. It was as if, much as this has been coming Anthony Zettel Jersey for weeks, there was suddenly some sort of recognition, an awareness of where Atlético are and who they are. Maybe it’s the exaggeratedly Atlético way it Womens Tracy Mcgrady Jersey happened, their identity enhanced, or the fact victory meant they’re still the only unbeaten team in La Liga apart from Barcelona. More likely, it’s because this was the 19th league game in a row that they had avoided defeat – a new club record. The last team to defeat them were Villarreal, in April, and the last team to beat them away were also Villarreal, four months before. In other words, Atlético have not been beaten on the road in an entire season’s worth of trips. Baseball Jerseys For Sale Nike NFL Jerseys Supply NFL Jerseys Paypal Wholesale Jerseys NFL Cheap Jerseys NHL Hockey Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Usa


  • Visitor Count: 72,674