MADRID (Reuters) – It might be a new season, but the same old Atletico Madrid are in town. Meanwhile, is Vinicius Junior finally ready to flourish? And does Manuel Pellegrini have a point about the entertainment value of the league?
Here are the talking points from the weekend’s action in LaLiga.
New season, same Atletico
Atletico Madrid might not be the most entertaining side in the world to watch, but it cannot be said their brand of football is not effective.
They dogged their way to the league title last season and if the opening two weekends of this are anything to go by, it will be a similar tale this campaign for Diego Simeone’s side.
Angel Correa’s first half strike was enough for the Rojiblancos, who coughed up a number of chances, as well as 59% of possession to visitors Elche at the Wanda Metropolitano on Sunday. As the saying goes: “If it isn’t broke…”
Vinicius ready for lift off?
With his double in Real’s bonkers 3-3 draw with Levante, Brailian forward Vinicius has already equalled his total of three LaLiga goals from last season.
The first was a composed finish after running through on goal, while the second was an impish flick into the far corner, earning him rave reviews in the press and on social media.
One of the reasons Madrid struggled so much last season was that they relied far too heavily on Karim Benzema for their goals.
If Vinicius can build on this and prove it is not another false dawn, then things bode well for Carlo Ancelotti’s side moving forwards.
Does Pellegrini have a point?
Real’s six-goal thriller with Levante aside, it was a second consecutive low-scoring weekend in LaLiga – leading to some harsh words from Betis coach Manuel Pellegrini about the league’s entertainment value.
“We need to make an effort. Between referees, coaches, players, everyone, so that LaLiga isn’t an embarrassment,” he fumed after his side’s 1-1 draw with Cadiz, before accusing the opposition of excessive timewasting.
Indeed, across the opening weeks of Europe’s top five leagues, LaLiga is the lowest scoring with an average of 2.05 goals per game – a long way off Serie A’s 3.87.
Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Angus MacSwan
Photo Atletico’s striker Angel Correa celebrates after scoring the 1-0 during the Spanish LaLiga soccer match between Atletico de Madrid and Elche CF at Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid, Spain, 22 August 2021. EPA-EFE/Juan Carlos Hidalgo