- Griezmann’s rough start
First and foremost, a win feels good after a frustrating stretch. But of course, Atlético Madrid’s attacking limitations were on display again this weekend with the team needing some stoppage time heroics from Thomas Partey to eke out an important 1-0 away win at Deportivo La Coruña.
Their struggles on offense have been highlighted — or perhaps fueled by — an unprecedented drought by attacking talisman Antoine Griezmann. In fact, Griezmann is off to his worst start to a season since his first with the club, and has not scored in the past seven matches—a record for the Frenchman with Atlético.
The player’s frustrations were on display when he was subbed in the 80th minute, a decision which has generated some drama in the news cycle. Griezmann’s brother Theo fired off a since-deleted series of tweets critical of the club, its tactics and the substitution. While Theo is certainly not his brother’s keeper, one wonders if the sentiments are not shared by Antoine, who was prepared to depart the club this summer and could do so as soon as this winter. Diego Simeone for his part insisted that the decision was purely tactical and had nothing to do with Griezmann’s play.
As exciting as it might be to see a tandem of Griezmann and Diego Costa up top in January, one wonders if a change is needed for both player and club.
- Atleti play part in potential LaLiga record
For the first time in 21 seasons and just the third time ever, there are three unbeaten teams in LaLiga after 11 match days — and that includes Atlético. In 1996/97 Barcelona, Real Madrid and Deportivo made it 13 weeks unbeaten before Barca fell in week 14. Previously, in 1982/83, Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Sporting made it 11 weeks unbeaten before Sociedad feel in week 12.
While Atlético would certainly like to have converted a few more draws into wins to start the year, their record of 6-5-0 is good for fourth in the table, behind their neighbors on goal difference. Meanwhile, Valencia sit second with a record of 8-3-0, while Barcelona top the table at 10-1-0 — and as Simeone pointed out Saturday, Atleti have taken points off both this season.
The streak will be tested after the international break when Atlético host the other Madrid team on the 18th, and again the following weekend when Valencia host Barça.
- Rumor: Sanabria to Atlético
In one of the more elaborate transfer rumors we’ve seen so far this season, AS Roma are reportedly prepared to activate their €11 million buyback clause on Real Betis forward Tonny Sanabria in order to then sell him to Atlético. An additional layer to this one involves Atlético sending José Giménez to Roma.
This one is certainly creative but if Sanabria can bring his current form and production (seven goals in 10 games for Betis) with him, I’m all for it.