Pressured and overwhelmed by the latest results, Atlético resisted a brave match in Vila-real. The leader was surgical to score two goals on the few occasions he was able to stretch. And also to recover a clean sheet. The victory supposes a good dose of pressure for Madrid in their appointment this Monday against Real Sociedad and a boost for the rojiblancos watching the derby next Sunday.
After the Bucharest fiasco against Chelsea (0-1), Simeone chose the same eleven except João Félix, to make room for Vrsaljko. It was another defeat that penalized the Portuguese’s continuity in the eleven. Emery fell Alcacer at the last minute due to a muscular overload. The mishap forced him to center Gerard Moreno and give the right flank of the attack to Chukwueze. More neat and better screwed at the beginning, Villarreal kept the ball while Atlético tried to adjust. What at first seemed like a defense of three centrals ended up becoming a line of four. The move included Marcos Llorente playing forward alongside Luis Suárez, with Koke and Saúl in the middle, Lemar on the left and Correa on the right.
The new provision produced a more established Atlético, which was not broken down by Trigueros and Parejo’s attempts to speed up circulation. Everything died in the vicinity of Oblak, Atlético clinging to the Simeone mode more manufacturing and Cartesian. Crouched in his own field waiting to be able to unleash one against. The first time he was able to stretch, he punished a bad Villarreal throw-in. Atlético played for the first time, culminating in a left-footed shot from Saúl that Asenjo repelled for a corner. The short serve to the peak of the area was put by Lemar at the far post and headed by Savic. Asenjo’s clearance bounced off Pedraza and the ball ended up crossing the goal line. The assistant, who had signaled offside, was rectified by the VAR after lengthy deliberation and subsequent on-screen review.
Out of nowhere, Atlético took advantage. He remained immersed in his containment plan, disturbed only by Chukwueze’s attempts to break through with overflow and speed. When the leader was able to stretch again, he was leaning on Marcos Llorente’s legs. He put the engine at the service of priceless lines to oxygenate his team. A lateral free-kick by Parejo preferred to control it with the right Gerard Moreno, who tried to take advantage of the boat by launching himself on the plate to push it with his head. Oblak covered the spikey shot and between Koke and Saúl they prevented the ball from ending up inside the goal.
The start of the second half brought the change of Lemar, touched on the left knee, by João Félix. The chip movement also saw a return to the defense of five, with Saúl occupying the left lane, and a line of four behind Luis Suárez. In that quartet behind the Uruguayan, João Félix also fell to the left. He was sought out by his teammates to nuclear circulate the ball. Villarreal was overtaken by an Atlético now more ambitious and more controlling of the game. Emery reacted by putting Estupiñán and Bacca, speed and trade in the area that gave him back control of the game. Bacca put Oblak to the test with a spank and a chain of corners blunted the leader. Until he was able to project himself into a Vrsaljko exit to the right. His center was cleared badly by Pau Torres and he fell on the edge of the area to João Félix. The Portuguese crossed right hand was resounding. And his celebration by shutting mouths described a player who feels singled out.
The two disadvantageous goals did not bring Villarreal down. Gerard Moreno, now freed from being the attacking reference, began to generate play and confusion in Atlético’s defense. Chukwueze became even more sharper and between the two of them they brought Simeone’s men into their area. The local siege was capitalized by Alex Baena with two collectible lashes. The first splintered Oblak’s right squad on the outside. The second was taken over the crossbar by the Slovenian goalkeeper to end the streak of eight consecutive games conceding goals.