Three things: Full-strength Atlético roll in first Copa del Rey game

Atlético Madrid made mild work of Rayo Majadahonda on Thursday, disposing of their Copa del Rey opponents with a 5-0 thrashing at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

The fixture was switched to Atlético’s floor fairly than Rayo Majadahonda’s Cerro del Espino (which occurs to be Atleti’s coaching advanced), a transfer that may enhance revenues for each golf equipment.

Atlético made their dominance clear from the outset. Targets from Matheus Cunha, Renan Lodi, Luis Suárez, Antoine Griezmann and João Félix underlined the aspect’s attacking potential, with some intriguing tactical shifts and modifications on show too.

Listed below are three issues we realized from Atlético’s second Copa del Rey tie win in 4 years:


Cholo IS going for the Copa del Rey

Earlier this week, Atlético followers put in a banner studying “pricey three kings…” with an image of the Copa del Rey trophy at Atlético’s Cerro del Espino coaching floor. The supporters made it clear that having gone 9 years with out successful the Copa, it’s a trophy they need.

Even then, few anticipated to see such a powerful lineup from Diego Simeone towards Primera RFEF aspect Rayo Majadahonda.

The beginning lineup featured 11 gamers who may simply be going through top-flight opposition in a league fixture with none questions raised. Javi Serrano was the one non-first group participant included in the squad, and he didn’t make it off the bench.

Second-choice goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte was made to attend for his debut, as Jan Oblak was chosen for his first Copa del Rey look in seven years. With it got here the group’s first clear sheet in the competitors since 2018, and a powerful show from a group seeking to construct much-needed confidence after a run of 4 consecutive defeats earlier than the winter break.


However the aggression got here at a price.

Griezmann, who suffered a muscle pressure in December after which examined constructive for COVID-19, lasted solely 19 minutes and exited after scoring Atlético’s fourth aim. The membership confirmed the Frenchman’s harm relapsed solely days earlier than a tricky LaLiga fixture towards Villarreal and per week earlier than the Supercopa in Saudi Arabia.

In any case, this was fairly the distinction from the aspect that fell to Cornellá at this stage 12 months in the past, with Ricard Sánchez dismissed and midfielder Mario Soriano one of many few brilliant sparks.

It’s time to get used to Marcos Llorente at right-back

With Kieran Trippier’s switch to Newcastle United confirmed Friday, solely hours after the ultimate whistle on the Metropolitano, we’ve already seen a glimpse of the long run.


Rayo Majadahonda v Atletico Madrid - Spanish Copa del Rey

Photograph by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Pictures

“The membership is aware of what we want, what we would like and what we’re on the lookout for, and if it could possibly’t be performed then we’ll keep on with what we’ve got right here,” Simeone stated about Trippier’s departure.

On Thursday, he confirmed what “carrying on” seems to be like, beginning Llorente at right-back for the fourth time this season.

Solely time will inform if Atlético do recruit a successor for the Englishman this month. But it surely’s clear Llorente is the first-choice different, fairly than Šime Vrsaljko or Atleti B’s Sergio Camus.

Whereas Llorente’s greatest performances have a tendency to return in a extra superior position, this was a promising efficiency. The spotlight got here late in the first half, when he linked up with Yannick Carrasco down the fitting earlier than slicing the ball again to Luis Suárez, creating the type of aim Atleti followers noticed so typically in the first half of the 2020/21 marketing campaign.

That connection between Carrasco and Llorente may have nice potential, and it’ll undoubtedly be one which Simeone considers going ahead.

A glimpse of the long run Atleti

Simeone took no probabilities even in a game towards lower-tier opposition. He selected a powerful lineup, as if this have been a pre-season pleasant or coaching floor run-out, to check a brand new system.

The consequence: this Atlético aspect regarded and performed very completely different to what we’ve seen over the previous 18 months.

“The group is in the center of a really huge evolution,” Renan Lodi stated after the ultimate whistle, and he may nicely be proper.

CF Rayo Majadahonda v Atletico de Madrid - Copa Del Rey

Photograph by Diego Souto/High quality Sport Pictures/Getty Pictures

Atlético’s 4-4-2 form was a shift away from the 3-5-2 which has develop into the same old for Simeone. It allowed Lodi to return in at left-back, with Carrasco impressing on the fitting wing as he did towards Rayo Vallecano final weekend.

The form noticed Geoffrey Kondogbia and Rodrigo De Paul proceed to construct a dominant duo in central midfield. They sprayed passes out to Carrasco and Thomas Lemar in broad positions, whereas Lodi and Llorente offered overlapping runs. It regarded extra like Atleti circa 2019 than something we’ve seen since.

This Atlético aspect regarded to press aggressively and excessive up the pitch, benefitting from a disorganised Rayo Majadahonda system that made it straightforward to regain possession deep in the opposition half.

With João Félix’s introduction, Simeone inserted a participant given extra freedom to roam and drop deeper, very like Cunha had additionally been afforded. The Portuguese’s ability and elegance have been on show, and he scored Atleti’s fifth aim, whereas Cunha grabbed the group’s opener in the first half after Carrasco received the ball again.

It will likely be onerous to inform what number of of those options, how a lot of that aggression, will carry over into fixtures towards top-class opposition like Villarreal and Athletic Membership (groups Atlético face subsequent). However this definitely gave the impression to be a trial run-out for Atleti, and a promising one at that.

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