Atletico de Madrid, 2014-2015: When Cholo resurrects Torres's career

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bosox4283

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Since the Atletico thread was closed prematurely, I'm stubbornly creating next year's thread with this year in the title. After Atletico wins or loses against Real Madrid in the Champions League final, I'll gladly update the thread title to reflect next year's campaign.
 
For now, Atletico celebrated its title this past weekend. Cholo coined a new phrase (or channeled his inner Kevin Garnet), "If you believe and if you work, anything is possible".
 
For Atleti, Costa is banged up and likely out against Real Madrid. The team is optimistic that Arda Turan will be fit for the match. I'm not optimistic that either will play -- both have missed time in the last month, and these injuries are re-aggravations of their previous injuries.
 
People are saying that Real Madrid are favorites, and they probably are. Then again, Real Madrid has really stumbled into the finish line. On top of the team's so-so form, they are trying to get healthy before Saturday. Benzema and Ronaldo are struggling with minor injuries, and Pepe is doubtful for the final. I believe, too, that Varane has been trying to overcome a reoccurring knee issue. Further complicating RM's line-up and tactics, Xavi Alonso will miss the match after a foolish foul against Bayern, and it seems that Ancelloti will play Illaramendi in his place (though there are people who are advocating the Kheidera feature in the starting-eleven).
 

bosox4283

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Tomorrow is an historic event, and one team will make history. Here's hoping that Atletico can win its first Champions League title against its arch rival.
 
Oh, and Diego Costa went to Bulgaria--no joke--to get a horse placenta treatment from some mysterious doctor. Apparently Costa was sprinting today in practice. 
 

teddykgb

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I'm injured in like seven different ways and have all of Europe's shady medicinal practices available to me, if I were to come into horse placenta, how do I use it? Do you just kind of smear it on there?
 
I think, tonight, most people are Atletico fans.  It's too bad these Atletico/Real matches always turn into such dive fests, I hope the ref can keep his head tonight.
 

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teddykgb said:
I'm injured in like seven different ways and have all of Europe's shady medicinal practices available to me, if I were to come into horse placenta, how do I use it? Do you just kind of smear it on there?
 
It's only effective as a suppository. 
 

bosox4283

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teddykgb said:
I'm injured in like seven different ways and have all of Europe's shady medicinal practices available to me, if I were to come into horse placenta, how do I use it? Do you just kind of smear it on there?
 
I think, tonight, most people are Atletico fans.  It's too bad these Atletico/Real matches always turn into such dive fests, I hope the ref can keep his head tonight.
 
Cholo was perfect this season. He did everything right...except for the decision to start Costa in the last match of the year. It was arrogant and stubborn, and the decision, I think, cost Atletico the match. The team needed an extra set of fresh legs around the 75th minute, and since they were forced to put in Adrian before the 10 minute, there was no option available. I admire the bravery, but I think this decision really hurt the team's chances to win. What a shame.
 

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Bosox, I loved watching this squad. Koke has been a revelation this season. With Simeone at the helm, you'll continue to be a threat. He seems like a players manager and has a fire for the game. Big picture, what a wonderful season.
 

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Congrats on a great season, I was actually wondering if someone who watches Atletico more regularly than I do could provide a useful scouting report on Koke? I hear a lot about him but probably have only seen him 5-6 times this season.
 

bosox4283

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SoxFanInPdx said:
Bosox, I loved watching this squad. Koke has been a revelation this season. With Simeone at the helm, you'll continue to be a threat. He seems like a players manager and has a fire for the game. Big picture, what a wonderful season.
 
Thanks. This loss will sting for a bit, but I keep reminding myself how epic and historic this season was. Atletico won La Liga, breaking Real Madrid's and Barcelona's ten-year reign. Making it more sweet, it was Atletico's first title in 18 years. This feat is perhaps even more incredible than winning the Champions League. To fight and battle for 38 games against two teams with significantly more money is something to be proud of for a long, long time.
 
In addition, and something that is quickly forgotten, Atletico lost to Real Madrid in the semifinals of La Copa del Rey. It was another impressive tournament for Simeone's squad that included winning against Valencia (Europa Cup semi-finalists) and Athletic Bilbao (4th place this year in La Liga).
 
Because of Simeone, this team has an identity. I'm a little concerned that the team will get a bit older next year and lose a step (almost all players were extended through the next two or three seasons), and I'm always expecting the team to have to sell some of its top talent to pay its debts. Then again, Simeone has basically made something out of nothing. When he took over about two and a half years ago, Atletico had just been knocked out of La Copa del Rey by a team from 2b. Since then, the team has won three trophies, won La Liga, and finished third last year. 
 
More than anything, this team has heart and plays with grit. They know their strengths and their weaknesses, and they know how to play as a cohesive unit. They have huge cojones and play brave. This team is really something special, and this season was one to cherish and treasure. I'll tell my kid about in the future, for sure.
 

bosox4283

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Still basking in the glory of winning La Liga, and drowning our sorrows after the heart-wrenching Champions League loss, Atletico is planning for next year.
 
Diego Ribas appears to be headed to Turkey to play for Fenerbahce. Simeone requested Ribas's return to Calderon after Ribas was a one of the team's top performers for Atletico in the 2011-2012 campaign. During his second stint with Atleti, Diego failed to break into Simeone's inner circle. He rarely featured in the starting 11 and often remained on the bench. The lack of playing time Simeone gave Diego surprised most fans and pundits, but it seemed that something did not click this time around.
 
Tiago is apparently considering leaving Atletico to sign with Chelsea. Good for him. He deserves to sign one more substantial contract before he hangs up the boots. Given his experience, Atletico will miss him. I think this move could be better for the team in the end. Tiago is now 33, and I am not sure he has the fitness to play another long and competitive season with Simeone. His departure will enable Atletico to bring back Saul, one of the team's most talented young players, from his loan at Rayo and give him more playing time.
 

bosox4283

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In Cholo, we trust. Right? 
 
With six players from last year's historic team leaving for bigger paydays, the team enters the unenviable position of having to compete and re-build at the same time. 
 
Keeper: Atletico has signed Moya from Getafe and seems set to sell Asenjo to Villarreal. With these moves and Courtois's departure, the team needs one more goalie. Too many names to list have been rumored.
 
CB: I highly doubt Simeone wants to begin the year with Alderweireld and Jose Gimenez competing for the starting position. The team will probably try to sign someone. If they do sign someone, I hope they loan out Gimenez -- a second year on the bench won't do anything for him.
 
LB: Atletico has signed Guilherme Siqueira of Benfica/Granada for 10 million euros. He profiles to start at LB. 
 
DM: With Tiago gone, I'd like Simeone to test and trust Saul, the 19-year-old who spent the year on loan at Rayo. Give Mario and Gabi the starting positions, and allow Saul to gain important minutes with Atletico throughout the year.
 
Striker: Lukaku seems likely to go to Atletico on loan, but that deal could fall apart. There is no way Atleti enters the season with only Adrian and Raul Garcia, so a signing or two is definitely likely.
 

bosox4283

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Costa is officially off to Chelsea, and Atletico has received 38M euros for the transfer. But Atletico will not keep all 38M.
 
Marca is reporting that Atletico will keep half of the fee: Costa's agent, Mendes, will retain 10%; SC Braga, the European club that originally signed Costa, will take 20%, an investment firm, Quality, will take a cut; and even Celta and Valladolid, two clubs where Costa spent time on loan, will receive one percent or less of the transfer fee.
 
The lack of money means that, once again, Atletico will need to be creative in signing its next striker, as well as lucky. Negredo, Soldado, and Michu are names being mentioned for purchase, while Atletico is still hoping for Lukaku on loan.
 

bosox4283

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Even when Mourinho fails this off-season, he still manages to screw Atletico in some way.
 
Tiago Mendes declined to renovate with Atleti this past year, and all signs pointed to Tiago's return to Chelsea. There was talk about how Mourinho sought his leadership on the pitch and even talked about having Tiago join his coaching staff after hanging up his boots. 
 
While Simeone trusted Tiago (after all, Tiago was the team's third captain last year), I liked Tiago's departure as it would allow Saul, the promising 19-year-old defensive midfielder, to get more playing time. Instead of playing Saul, and thus building for the future, we get Tiago, who just wants to get paid one more time. 
 
So, basically, Mourinho strikes again: for whatever reason, Tiago could not sign with Chelsea, and now he's back with Atletico. No me gusta.
 

bosox4283

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Atletico has failed to sign some of its summer targets, such as Iturbe, Rodrigo, and Gaitan. As a result, los rojiblancos have turned their attention to two reclamation projects: Pastore and Chicarito.
 
With Adrian's departure to Oporto, the team desperately needs a second striker. Simeone could likely work his magic to get Chicharito playing top-level football again.
 

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Even though I am a fan of Madrid's other club (that may be the first time ever that Real has been describes as such) I am very pleased to see Atleti complete the transfer for Griezmann. I am not a fan of duopoly of the league, and was very worried that the board of Atletico was going to use this past seasons success to sell of the majority of the squad to pay off the club's debts rather than reinvesting any the money in the team. While that would have certainly been a reasonable and tempting thing to do, I think that the current board should be commended for keeping a commitment to putting the best possible side out there, while still paying down the debts that the previous administration incurred.
 
Here is hoping that you have a great season in which you end up second on the table.
 

bosox4283

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sdiaz1 said:
Even though I am a fan of Madrid's other club (that may be the first time ever that Real has been describes as such) I am very pleased to see Atleti complete the transfer for Griezmann. I am not a fan of duopoly of the league, and was very worried that the board of Atletico was going to use this past seasons success to sell of the majority of the squad to pay off the club's debts rather than reinvesting any the money in the team. While that would have certainly been a reasonable and tempting thing to do, I think that the current board should be commended for keeping a commitment to putting the best possible side out there, while still paying down the debts that the previous administration incurred.
 
Here is hoping that you have a great season in which you end up second on the table.
 
Gracias! I think the post is the nicest I can ever expect from a Real Madrid fan. 
 
In another thread, I thought I remember you writing either that you're from Asturias or have family from Asturias? What part? My wife is from Oviedo.
 

sdiaz1

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My family is originally from a small town in the Picos that is about 30 km away from Cangas de Onis and Covadonga. If you like huge mountain peaks, windy roads, near abandoned villages that would be a great set for a horror film, untouched rivers, and mountain goats with no regard for cars or human safety, you should definitely check out the Picos if you  find yourself  in Oviedo. It is a rather short trip, about an hour from Oviedo to Cangas.
 

bosox4283

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sdiaz1 said:
My family is originally from a small town in the Picos that is about 30 km away from Cangas de Onis and Covadonga. If you like huge mountain peaks, windy roads, near abandoned villages that would be a great set for a horror film, untouched rivers, and mountain goats with no regard for cars or human safety, you should definitely check out the Picos if you  find yourself  in Oviedo. It is a rather short trip, about an hour from Oviedo to Cangas.
 
Fantastic. The Picos are spectacular. 
 

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Tangled Up In Red said:
Fwiw, the #10 Turan looked a man among boys yesterday at Candlestick.
 
Physically, or in terms of talent? He's probably Atletico's most gifted player with the ball -- great control, good passing, quick touch.
 

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bosox4283 said:
 
Physically, or in terms of talent? He's probably Atletico's most gifted player with the ball -- great control, good passing, quick touch.
 
Purely in terms of talent.
Physically: short, but thick. Quick, but certainly not fast.
But man, skillful on the ball, moves, vision, touch...
 

bosox4283

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Tangled Up In Red said:
 
Purely in terms of talent.
Physically: short, but thick. Quick, but certainly not fast.
But man, skillful on the ball, moves, vision, touch...
 
Thanks. Turan was one player that I thought would surely leave Atletico this season, but he seems content with the club.
 
It's frustrating to think, too, that Atletico played the Champions League Final without him. Then again, it was Costa's stubbornness, and Cholo's moment of foolishness, that cost Atletico the title, not Turan's absence. 
 

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Rumors have emerged, once again, that Chelsea have made a bid for Miranda. I'm not sure I believe this rumors, but if they are true, I hope Atletico sells. 
 
Apparently, Chelsea is offering 25M euros. With this money, Atletico can buy Cazorla or someone of equal quality. I think Toby Alderweireld and Jose Gimenez both have potential to be strong players and nearly match Miranda's level of play. Most importantly, while Atletico relies on near-perfect defense, the upgrade to the offense with Cazorla would make up for any defensive downgrade.
 

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soxfan121 said:
According to the Daily Mail and Mundodeportivo, Atletico and ManU are involved in discussions that could move Javier Hernandez and Shinji Kagawa to Atletico and Arda Turan to Old Trafford.
 
I would think a swap of Kagawa for Turan would probably result in a few million discount on the price for Chicarito. 
 
The only thing more rare than the two player transfer swap deal across national borders is the the three player transfer swap deal across national borders.  This has "fantasy football" written all over it.
 

bosox4283

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There are conflicting reports--what a surprise!--about Atletico's plans to finalize its roster for this season. I think Marca was reporting that Atletico was not going to make any more big acquisitions this off-season. Then, AS says that Atletico is looking at Kagawa, Chicharito, and Schurrle. 
 
Atletico is short on players, so the speculation about who is going to arrive makes sense. The speculation makes even more sense taking into consideration that Cebolla Rodriguez and Joshua Guilavogui may leave. 
 

bosox4283

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I woke up this morning annoyed with Atletico, mostly for the Manquillo loan. I have no idea why the team did not loan Manquillo out to a team such as Rayo, where Saul flourished last year, rather than Liverpool. There are benefits to being at Liverpool over Rayo, or a similar first division Spanish team, but it seems much more likely that Manquillo would play more at Rayo than Liverpool. Furthermore, Liverpool has the option to buy for less than 10M euros, which seems like a complete steal to me.
 
Everyone is reporting that Miranda is staying, rejecting offers with both Chelsea and Barcelona. I still wish that Atletico sold him and used the money to buy an attacking player. While the team has yet to be full-strength during the pre-season, Atletico has one goal in four games. The defense is incredibly solid, which I presume is largely a result of Simeone's coaching and tactics. The team needs some firepower. 
 

bosox4283

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The Supercopa, the pre-season home/away duel played between the winner of La Liga and the winner of La Copa del Rey, is a silly competition, nothing more than a friendly with a trophy at the end for the winner. Even though it's entirely unnecessarily and all you really want from the affair is to escape without injury, I can't help but get excited. Tomorrow, we get this year's first Atletico - Real Madrid match. It's on.
 
Oh, and when is Reus landing in Madrid?  :unsure:
 

bosox4283

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lol. Simeone is really good at playing mind games, even though he gives the impression that he does not want to get sucked into these types of debates. In the last two weeks, Cholo has stated things like Real Madrid and Barcelona's financial advantage is nearly impossible to overcome and that Atletico is really competing with Sevilla, Valencia, and Athletic. 
 
I do think there is some merit to Simeone's comment about Di Maria. He's one the one player that Atletico has a hard time containing. They've developed a strategy that more or less neutralizes Ronaldo and limits Bale. Di Maria can make runs and passes that disrupt Atletico's formation and defensive stability. 
 

bosox4283

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soxfan121 said:
Very interesting look at how Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund manage to stay competitive with the giants. Not a word about the Reus move, though.
 
Thanks for sharing. Reading the article, I thought that at least Spain was two giants (Real Madrid and Barcelona) while Germany has only one. 
 
Atletico beat Real Madrid in the Super Cup, the silly pre-season title. More than being excited about Simeone winning his fifth title with Atletico in less than three years (he's only missing Champions League at this point...and almost had it), I'm excited about how the team played in the two matches against Real Madrid.
 
Atletico lost some key players but managed to maintain enough players to keep its style of play nearly intact. The defense, with Miranda and Godin in the middle, remains rock solid. Gabi commands the pitch, and both Mario Suarez and Tiago are playing at high levels. Koke continues to grow. But most importantly, the three big acquisitions--Mario M, Griezmann, and Jimenez--are adjusting well to the team. I'm really optimistic about all three.
 

bosox4283

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Atletico begins the regular season with a 0-0 draw at Rayo Vallecano. This game was the first of four league matches that Simeone will miss as a result of his punishment for slapping the fourth referee on the back of the head. Whoops.
 
This game further supports my notion that Atletico needs to add one more playmaker. Without Arda, who is recovering from an injury, the team is missing one extra gear, one other player who can create chances for the forwards. I'm not opposed to selling a defensive player in order to generate some cash to sign an impressive midfielder. 
 

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bosox4283 said:
This game was the first of four league matches that Simeone will miss as a result of his punishment for slapping the fourth referee on the back of the head. Whoops.
Actually, Simeone missing this game was due to a suspension dating back to last season (5 yellow cards). He's still going to miss another 4 league matches (and 4 additional super cup matches, if Atletico manages to get there).

Edit: link: http://www.ligabbva.com/2544_liga-bbva/2678992_simeone-suspendido-con-un-total-de-ocho-partidos-por-cuatro-sanciones.html (see second paragraph)
 

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After Saturday's glorious defeat of Real Madrid, Atletico comes back down to earth with a disappointing 2-3 loss against Olympiakos in Athens. With Juventus winning 2-0 against Malmo, a team that may not take a point in the group stage, there is a bit more pressure on Atletico now to not drop any more points. The sky is not falling, though, as some from the Spanish press are saying.
 
Atletico's defense was uncharacteristically bad. Olympiakos' second and third goals were both preventable -- Atletico players were either beat, had bad positioning, or were clumsy with the ball.
 
Offensively, team is still trying to gel. With some many few faces, which requires a bit of a change of strategy, it is not a surprise that the team is in the process of discovering how to play together. 
 
Interestingly, Gabi, the team's captain and arguably the heart and soul of last year's squad, has been subbed out the last two games in the 60th minute or so. Granted, the substitutions were to make the team more offensive, but the move has been to put Koke in the defensive midfielder role and insert someone else into Koke's ringer role. 
 

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I was at the game against Sevilla this weekend, and wow while it was not a pretty game, Atletico dominated the important areas of the field.  In the end, Sevilla saw more possession, but much of that was in rather unimportant parts of the field.  Koke looked much better and seemed to have better touch.  Mandzukic is looking more and more comfortable and dangerous.  Cholo makes a difference in crowd-control (literally) and for whatever reason compels his players to seek out 50/50 balls so much more aggressively.
 
Huge, dominant, home win.  This season could get interesting...
 

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trs said:
I was at the game against Sevilla this weekend, and wow while it was not a pretty game, Atletico dominated the important areas of the field.  In the end, Sevilla saw more possession, but much of that was in rather unimportant parts of the field.  Koke looked much better and seemed to have better touch.  Mandzukic is looking more and more comfortable and dangerous.  Cholo makes a difference in crowd-control (literally) and for whatever reason compels his players to seek out 50/50 balls so much more aggressively.
 
Huge, dominant, home win.  This season could get interesting...
 
Awesome! Thanks for the match report. What are/were you doing in Madrid?
 
Cholo celebrated Atletico's second goal as if it was the goal that won La Liga. He went nuts running around and pumping his fits and yelling.
 

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bosox4283 said:
 
Awesome! Thanks for the match report. What are/were you doing in Madrid?
 
Cholo celebrated Atletico's second goal as if it was the goal that won La Liga. He went nuts running around and pumping his fits and yelling.
 
Ha, yes he was animated to say the least and so was the crowd.  Not quite at the levels against Barca in the Champions League semis last year but somewhat close.
 
I live and work here in Madrid, and the Calderon is just a few metro stops away so I make it down there with some regularity.  Won't be there tomorrow against Juve, but I will be watching where I'll be able to convince the bartender to switch away from Real...
 

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On the whole, this past week was positive for Atletico. First, Atleti easily defeated Sevilla 4-0. Sevilla has been one of the surprises so far in La Liga, so this impressive victory demonstrated that Atletico has the talent to play a complete match, both offensively and defensively.
 
Then, Atletico beat Juventus one-nil in what was a chess match. The teams were equally matched and almost played the same style of football. In the end, Arda Turan saved the day with a clever goal. Even better news, perhaps, was that Malmo defeated Olympiakos, a victory which puts all four teams in the group at three points. Thanks to Malmo, the group is wide open.
 
Finally, Atletico lost to Valencia 3-1. It was a frustrating loss as the Atleti committed some uncharacteristic defensive errors. Then again, Atletico's defense has been a little error-prone this year. The team has conceded seven goals in seven league matches and gave up three goals to Olympiakos. 
 
Frankly, I think the team's inconsistent defense performance is due to four factors: (1) Courtois is that good, (2) Filipe Luis is much better than this two replacements, (3) bad luck, and (4) Gabi, the team captain, is not performing at the high level he achieved last year.
 

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A convincing win for Atletico yesterday against Malmo, taking the match 5-0. Malmo had its own during the first half, only to watch helplessly as Atletico played a brilliant second half. It was a great team performance and gives Atletico the current edge in their group. With the next match at Malmo, the weakest team in the group, Atletico can reach 9 points and almost guarantee a spot in the next round.
 

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bosox4283 said:
A convincing win for Atletico yesterday against Malmo, taking the match 5-0. Malmo had its own during the first half, only to watch helplessly as Atletico played a brilliant second half. It was a great team performance and gives Atletico the current edge in their group. With the next match at Malmo, the weakest team in the group, Atletico can reach 9 points and almost guarantee a spot in the next round.
 
I was at the match again the other night, and you are correct, a hugely dominating 2nd half performance.  However, the first half was a bit of a worry with very little creativity in the offensive end.  Malmo's defense was made to look a lot stronger than it truly was.  Atleti remains a very streaky group, and once the seal was broken 3 minutes into the second half: totally different team.  Great movement deep in the zone both with and without the ball.  Turan is a beast and will not let go of possession (in a good way).  Koke looks to be off the national team schneid --  I somewhat wish he wasn't there, it seems whenever he comes back from a Del Bosque excursion he becomes more timid and less dynamic.
 
5-0 should not be a rare occurrence between these two teams, but Atleti will have to deal with a strong fan base in Malmo; they were 3,000 strong even in Madrid.
 
-trs
 

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A convincing 4-0 win against Olympiakos in Calderon puts Atletico at the top of the group with 12 points. This victory, the team's fourth in a row in Champions League, puts Atletico back into the conversation about team's to watch in this year's competition.
 
I still worry a bit about Simeone's dependence on the same starting XI -- there is no much game-to-game variance, so I wonder about fitness levels moving forward, as well as the team's depth. But it's hard to take out Godin, one of the world's best centrebacks; Koke, one of the game's top young players; Arda Turan, the team's creative force; and Juanfran, who is incredible down the right lane.
 
That said, I like this team's bench quite a bit -- Saul is a talented young player, Cebolla is a guy who knows what Simeone wants, Raul Jimenez looks promising at attack, and either Raul Garcia or Griezmann provide a spark off the bench. Then there's Cerci, who after complaining about his lack of playing time, has warmed the bench over the last two matches. 
 

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Atletico manages to pick up another victory on Sunday, winning 2-0 against Deportivo.
 
Sadly, though, the game should not have been played: before the match, a group of Atletico ultras got into a fight with Deportivo ultras, and one person died during the melee. Apparently, the ultras discussed and arranged the fight via social media, which led to a few hundred ultras arriving with the aim of harming the other side. Furthermore, there was talk about ultras from other teams and organizations showing up to take part in this violence.
 
The whole thing was senseless and horrific. We'll see how Atletico responds. So far, the team's directors have made comments that imply that the team has nothing to do with these hooligans. At the same time, Atletico's ultras are well known and have a strong presence at all matches. I suspect that more teams will follow Barcelona in banning these sorts of fans from home matches.
 

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Philadelphia
Spanish media is reporting that Fernando Torres is set to return to Atletico. To make this move possible, Atletico will ship Cerci, the striker for whom they paid 13M Euros, to Milan. 
 
Honestly, I don't get it, but the mantra at Atletico these days is "In Cholo We Trust". If Simeone wants Torres, here's hoping that he can resurrect Torres's career. I'm a bit disappointed with the way things have worked out with Cerci. My guess is that Simeone doesn't like what he sees and doesn't think Cerci has the personality for his system. 
 
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