src=”images/articles/aguero251010.jpg” style=”float: right; height: 230px;”/>Atletico Madrid slipped to eighth in La Liga following a 2-0 defeat to Villarreal at El Madrigal on Sunday evening. Goals in either half from Cani and former Manchester United striker Giuseppe Rossi were enough to give the yellow submarines all three points. After the game Kun Aguero blasted the referee for failing to spot two fouls on the Argentine in the penalty box. Aguero argued that the small teams do not get the decisions and added that Atletico are not treated the same as Barcelona and Real Madrid. Quique Sanchez Flores was also very critical of referee Ramirez Dominguez and was consequently sent to the stands at half time having come onto the pitch to remonstrate with match officials.
Going into the weekend fixture at El Madrigal the hosts had picked up 16 points from a possible 18 and with key players Santi Cazorla, Nilmar and Rossi in great form Atletico knew they would be in for a tough game. Diego Forlan was named on the bench, with Flores opting to stick with Diego Costa after an impressive performance in midweek. Kun Aguero returned to the starting line-up following an excellent cameo appearance from the substitutes’ bench in the Europa League.
It was Nilmar who played a crucial part in the opening goal of the game. After picking the ball up by the halfway line, the Brazilian drove at the Madrid defence before threading a pass to team-mate Cani who slotted the ball past David De Gea. Villarreal’s second goal was all about the Italian striker Rossi who somehow managed to weave past four Madrid defenders and tuck the ball under the Atletico goalkeeper.
Villerreal dominated for large parts of the game and showed why they are genuine top four contenders. Atletico on the other hand without prolific front man Diego Forlan looked toothless going forward. The inconsistency shown by Atletico this season will concern manager Quique Sanchez Flores, who would have been hoping to carry on the form shown in the convincing performance in their midweek Europa League game against Rosenberg . With Atletico lacking genuine strength in depth it was clear that the team was tired from Thursday night’s game and failed to make any significant chances and never looked like breaking down the Villarreal defence.
The Rojiblancos will now turn their attention to the Copa del Rey game where they will face Univerdad Las Palmas. Flores is likely to give some of his young players a run-out on Wednesday night, but defender Tomas Ujfalusi is under no illusions about the Las Palmas and has warned his team-mates not to underestimate the opposition.
Quique Flores will be hoping his team can get back on track when Atletico host Almeria at the Vicente Calderon next Saturday and climb back up the table into the Champions League places. It had been rumoured that Flores was being lined up to replace under fire Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson, however he has ruled out any possible switch and assured the fans that he wants to stay in Madrid and win more trophies.
Atletico’s decision to let Jose Jurado leave in the summer appears to have been a poor one. Jurado joined German side Schalke 04 for £10.6 million and has since proved his worth with some impressive performances in the Bundesliga and Champions League. Last season Jurado was influential as Atletico won the Europa League and reached the final of the Copa del Rey where he was the focal point that linked the midfield and forwards. Atletico’s failure to replace the creative midfielder looks to be costing Flores’ team this season: in recent games they have failed to open up opposition defences and have looked predictable in possession. Dutch winger Ibrahim Afelley is said to be on Flores’ list in the January transfer window as a replacement for Jurado to add further attacking options to his squad for the long season ahead.