We’ll be taking a look at our first truly big game in La Liga as Real Madrid hosted city rivals Atlético at the Santiago Bernabéu on Saturday.
Real Madrid 0-0 Atlético Madrid
Before kick off the Real Madrid fans got to see Varane, Marcelo, Courtois, Ramos and Modrić display their trophies from the recent FIFA The Best Awards after fine displays last season and in the World Cup but it was Atléti who looked most dangerous in the early going. While Real Madrid had the majority of possession, Atléti were compact and denied space for Bale, Benzema and Asensio in the final third, and looked to hit Real with counter attacks. The first real chance of the evening came as Saúl showed strength in the midfield and played an incisive through ball for Griezmann to run on to. The french forward was one on one with Courtois after beating the offside trap but the Belgian goalkeeper did brilliantly to narrow the angle as Griezmann shot with his favoured left foot. Replays showed that Courtois saved the ball with his face but it was brilliant goalkeeping to make himself big and give Griezmann no other option than to try and lift the ball over the 6’6″ ‘keeper.
At the other end Los Blancos only chance of the first half came as Kroos delivered a wonderful freekick to the far post which evaded the Atlético defenders and left Oblak stranded. Bale got a foot to the cross but had to watch as it spun agonisingly wide of the post. Los Colchoneros had another chance before half time as another through ball, this time from Griezmann, played Diego Costa behind the opposition defence, but Courtois again stood up brilliantly to deny the Spain international striker from a tight angle. 0-0 at half time but a tense match had the potential to burst into life at any moment.
After the break it was Real Madrid who controlled the game and Atlético failed to muster any noteworthy opportunities. Real’s first chance of the second period fell to Marco Asensio after Kroos broke down the left flank and delivered a beautiful, defence splitting ball into the path of the young forward. Asensio tried to lift it over the onrushing Oblak with his first touch but, like Courtois, Oblak made himself big and closed down the angle with such speed that Asensio couldn’t get the ball past him. Oblak came to the rescue again as Carvajal ran into the box to meet a pass from Modrić and fired a fierce shot at goal only to see it beaten away by the Slovenian goalkeeper.
Julen Lopetegui substituted Modrić, Bale and Benzema in another bold move and Dani Ceballos looked especially dangerous as Real attempted to make the breakthrough but it was all in vain as the match ended 0-0. It was a game of few chances but played with intensity and a level of tactical discipline that often separates these two teams from the pack. Both managers would have been hoping to snatch a win but with Barcelona only drawing against Athletic Club it’s a result that neither coach would begrudge.
Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Espanyol
An all action first half and a great goal from Raúl de Tomás but neither team could take home the three points.
Real Sociedad 0-1 Valencia
Valencia finally get their first win of the season away in San Sebastián; however, it wasn’t a convincing performance. Asier Garitano must be the unluckiest manager in the league so far this season. His team spurned chance after chance and Willian José missed a penalty.
Barcelona 1-1 Athletic Club
Yet another disappointing display from the reigning champions. Messi and Busquets started on the bench with one eye on mid-week Champions League action but both were required to snatch a point at home.
Eibar 1-3 Sevilla
Eibar had chances but Sevilla’s attacking prowess made the difference at Ipurua. After going goalless for three matches in a row previously this season the Andalusians simply can’t stop scoring right now. The match went to 9 minutes of injury time after a barrier collapsed in the crowd leading to 10 Sevilla fans having to go to hospital, luckily none were seriously hurt.
Huesca 1-1 Girona
Stuani continues his push for the Pichichi award this season but his penalty wasn’t enough as Huesca equalised through a penalty of their own in the second half. Both penalties were correctly given by VAR after the referee originally decided that the fouls had occurred outside of the box.
Villarreal 0-1 Real Valladolid
Villarreal can’t buy a point at home this season. On the road the team has looked good but Javi Calleja is the manager with the most pressure at this point in the season. Another bad result at home and we might see our first managerial change.
Levante 2-1 Alavés
Alavés were looking to continue their impressive start to the season but came unstuck in Valencia as Levante grabbed a much needed win. Despite Ruben Sobrino putting the away side ahead after only five minutes Levante hit back twice before half time and that’s how things ended.
Real Betis 1-0 Leganés
After last season’s mayhem and goal gluts things seem to have dried up for Betis. Another 1-0 win but manager Quique Setién won’t mind how the points are won.
Celta Vigo 1-1 Getafe
Another home draw for Celta who just can’t seem to close games out. Antonio Mohamed has tinkered with his line up and formation but the result seems to stay the same.