ATM XI: Oblak, Arias, Savic, Lucas, Filipe, Correa (Vitolo 65’), Lemar (Thomas 72’), Saúl, Rodri, Antoine Griezmann, Gelson Martins (Kalinić 88’)
LEG XI: Ivan, Omeruo, Siovas, Tarin, Recio, Ruben, Jonathan Silva, Juanfran (Carrillo 72’), En-Nesyri (Santos 77’), Oscar, El Zhar (Ojeda 67’)
There are times when being a football fan feels a bit like Groundhog Day, with the same irritating problems persisting. This match was one of those. Atlético Madrid managed to squeeze out an amazing goal through Antoine Griezmann — but it may have been a bad thing that he scored, because Atlético created nothing in this match. Atlético had four shots in the box and missed them all, so from the jump they were lucky to even get one goal from this match. At the other end, Leganés at least managed to hit the post before Guido Carrillo scored the equalizer just nine minutes from time.
In recent weeks, one of my most consistent complaints has been Diego Simeone’s team selection and substitutions. But the issue Saturday was the mentality. Simeone treated this match as if it were the second leg of a Champions League semifinal away from home, rather than a poor Leganés team who Atlético should sweep aside.
(Although, given the fact Atleti could not score more than once against a third division side, we should not be surprised.)
The mattress makers had about 10 percent more possession but did nothing with it. The best performer on the day was — surprise — Rodri. In many ways it is difficult to trash the team for this performance, as they actually defended alright until the equalizer, but the issue was that they were in a position where one goal was an equalizer. Atlético have ridden their luck at times this season and somehow have remained in the title race thanks to some fortuitous dropped points, but with Lionel Messi on the way back, it’s possible that they may have thrown away their chance at contention.
(Saturday wasn’t much different on the luck front — Griezmann’s free kick was worth just 0.05 xG and the team on the whole accrued just 0.40 xG.)
It seems at this point Simeone’s side could not buy goals for neither love nor money as the Atlético frontline continues to be a barren wasteland with the possible exception of Griezmann. If you missed this match this morning — it was a very early kickoff in some parts of the globe — don’t worry about it, you can have a pass for this one.