Benjamin Disraeli once said that there is no waste of time in life quite like making explanations for things. After watching Atlético Madrid-Sevilla on Sunday, I am inclined to agree.
I don't particularly want to explain this game, but here I am. It was unlucky, a tough result against a scrappy Sevilla side which has still not won away from home all season. The visitors were organized, closed down quickly and effectively and offered Atlético little space to operate in the final third - a fact that did not please the team's trio of misfiring forwards. Atleti huffed and puffed but could not blow the house down, despite being up a man for half an hour after Vitolo AND Unai Emery were sent off.
Indeed, the closest Atlético came to a breakthrough was before Vitolo's red card, when Antoine Griezmann lashed a header off the post during one of Atleti's prolonged spells of possession. Los rojiblancos saw 65% of the ball on Sunday and outshot Sevilla by a 3:1 ratio (21-7) but could not find a way through when they pushed the tempo after halftime. Sevilla's back four positioned themselves well enough to just get a foot in, dislodge the ball and escape - countless times. Diego Simeone's men were probably hard done by not getting more than a point out of this game, but you get the feeling that the draw is just reward for the lack of clinical finishing.
As we know, finishing has been a problem all season for Atlético forwards not named Griezmann. Luciano Vietto got the start alongside Grizi on Sunday, and while he offered enthusiasm and sleight of foot, he was guilty of a heavy first touch and occasional clumsiness prior to his removal 10 minutes from time. Ángel Correa replaced him and was so enthusiastic that he received a booking for an inadvertent kick to Sevilla keeper Sergio Rico's head (this after a delicious nutmeg freed up space for him in the box).
Then there's Jackson Martínez, who managed a solitary touch in his 20 minutes on the pitch. The Colombian is a bystander, hardly a difference-maker. He hasn't scored in three months and no one's really sure how much longer a leash Simeone can give him with the business end of the campaign fast approaching. This uncertainty is present because Correa and Vietto aren't setting the world alight either, luck or no. Time is running out to find an answer to the question of who steps up to shoulder the burden with Griezmann.
In the meantime, Atlético will prepare for the midweek Copa del Rey fixture against Celta Vigo before turning their attentions to next Saturday's top of the table clash with Barcelona.