Atlético put Levante heist behind them

Sunday’s game at the Metropolitano was one to savour. For Atlético, it was the compensation they only deserved after their disappointment away at Levante midweek. Atleti were on course to take all three points on Thursday when an absurd penalty was awarded against them following a VAR check. It was bizarre, as nobody else - neither the referee nor Levante’s players or the public saw any offense. But someone obviously felt they had to justify their job, a penalty was given and Atlético denied victory. And to add insult to injury there was the usual excessive dishing out of yellow cards - Simeone was shown two and because of that, had to watch yesterday’s game from the stands.

Comprehensive win

From up there, at least he could sit back and enjoy watching his team play. Simeone gets himself so immersed in games that sometimes you wonder whether he is able to. Everyone else at the Metropolitano, 56,000 spectators who braved foul weather in the capital, certainly enjoyed it - as would have any neutral watching it on TV. Atlético were excellent, especially in attack and in my opinion, much better playing with a 5-4-1, which gives them more vitality down both wings. Carrasco was sublime. But the whole team played well, commandeered by the superb Rodrigo de Paul. This time it wasn’t about going 1-0 up then sitting back and waiting. As soon as the first goal went in they continued attacking, with elegance and variety, plenty of shots and always with a number of skillful players in and around the box.

Atleti on the front foot

Outside, there was great deal of interest in the recently-unveiled statue of Luis Aragonés, who joined Atlético directly from Betis. And when the fans piled out of the ground on the final whistle, it was great to hear some of the comments from happy home fans - because nothing lifts the spirits like seeing your team play a great game of football and win - especially on a day when most parts of Spain, not just Madrid, suffered a miserable day of torrential downpours. Atlético look like they could be entering a new phase of their development; they’re now playing an attacking style which exploits the quality of the players they have recruited in recent times. And this time they also kept a clean sheet. Now they need to confirm it by doing it all over again in Liverpool.