Espanyol 3-0 Atletico Madrid: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Los Rojiblancos Suffer Shock Defeat

Atletico Madrid failed to cement second place in La Liga as Diego Simeone’s side slipped to a shock 3-0 defeat to Espanyol at the RCDE Stadium on Saturday.

The visitors had multiple chances early on with Alvaro Morata, Koke and Stefan Savic all going close, but Los Rojiblancos struggled to find the breakthrough. 

Espanyol punished Atletico for failing to take the initiative as they broke forward on a swift counter attack, with Diego Godin unfortunate to slide the ball into his own net from a cross to hand the home side a shock lead.


The same pattern continued after the interval, and Espanyol required just six minutes of the second half to double their lead. ​Atletico’s backline was caught out once more as Borja Iglesias broke clear through on goal before slotting past Jan Oblak, who was punished for poor positioning off his line.

Things went from bad to worse for Atletico late on as a clumsy challenge from Juanfran inside the box saw Espanyol awarded a penalty with a minute remaining. Iglesias stepped up to fire home from the spot, sealing his brace and capping an emphatic victory for Rubi’s side.


​ESPANYOL

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Lopez (6); Rosales (7), Naldo (7), Hermoso (6), Pedrosa (7); Melendo (6), Darder (7), Roca (7), Granero (6); Wu (6), Iglesias (7)

Borja Iglesias

Substitutes: Puado (6), Sanchez (N/A), Garcia (N/A)


ATLETICO MADRID

Key Talking Point

With nine points separating Atletico both from league leaders ​Barcelona and from ​Real Madrid in third heading into Saturday’s game, Diego Simeone’s side are effectively playing their season out to an end with little at stake, albeit they still require a point to seal the runners-up spot.

A lack of incentive certainly showed in what was an uncharacteristically casual performance from Los Rojiblancos. Instead of thriving off the lack of pressure and turning on the style with a strong lineup, Altetico’s stars largely struggled to get themselves going at the RCDE Stadium.

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The visitors had a number of presentable opportunities to take the lead but failed to capitalise on their early pressure with some unconvincing finishing, whilst a stray attempt at a simple pass from Rodri Hernandez which went straight out of play in the opening half an hour summed it up.

Atletico’s poor defensive work was the biggest surprise, as gaps appeared in a backline which is usually air-tight under Simeone’s intensive instructions. With little to play for besides points for the rest of the season, Los Rojiblancos already appear to be in holiday mode.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Oblak (5); Juanfran (4), Savic (5), Godin (4), Filipe Luis (7*); Koke (6), Hernandez (5), Niguez (6), Lemar (5); Griezmann (6), Morata (6)

Substitutes: Correa (6), Vitolo (5), Montero (5)


STAR MAN – Nobody in an Atletico shirt turned in anything close to a memorable performance on Saturday, with Los Rojiblancos’ defence largely at fault for poor positioning on both of Espanyol’s goals, whilst the visitors were generally ineffective in midfield and attack.

Saul Niguez

Filipe Luis was hardly at fault as an individual, with much of Espanyol’s attacking headway coming down their left flank, whilst Luis was able to get forward to good effect at times, and delivered a dangerous cross at 1-0 which should have been turned home for an equaliser.


Looking Ahead

Atletico host top four-chasing Sevilla at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium in what is set to be another testing La Liga clash for Diego Simeone’s side next Sunday.

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Harvey Elliott Becomes the Premier League’s Youngest Ever Player After Making Fulham Debut

​Harvery Elliott has made history following his introduction for Fulham against Wolves by becoming the youngest player ever to play in the Premier League. 

It was the 88th minute when interim manager Scott Parker turned to the winger, bringing him on for his first taste of Premier League action for the Cottagers at Molineux, who eventually lost the game 1-0. 


At 16 years and 30 days, Elliott has made it into the ​Premier League’s history books, with him taking the title of the competition’s youngest ever player.

​Fulham in fact occupy the top two positions when it comes to youngest ever Premier League debutantes, as defender Matthew Briggs ​previously held the record at 16 years and 68 days following his debut in 2007. 


Elliott is considered a major talent at Fulham, and has already experienced first-team football for them this season with a nine-minute cameo against Millwall in the EFL Cup earlier this season. 

The winger is also rising through the ranks of the England set-up, having played for the Three Lions at Under-15, Under-16 and Under-17 level.

Harvey Elliott

Fulham’s relegation from the Premier League could in fact benefit Elliott next season, who could be afforded more opportunities in the Championship, especially if Scott Parker is given the job on a full-time basis.  

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Paul Pogba’s Brother Discusses Man Utd Star’s Future in Candid Interview Amid Real Madrid Interest

​Florentin Pogba has provided somewhat of an update on his brother’s Manchester United future in a candid interview with AS.

Paul Pogba is the centre of transfer speculation once again, with Zinedine Zidane’s public admiration of the midfielder sparking reports that Real Madrid will be the Frenchman’s next destination.

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-MAN CITY

It’s been a season full of highs and lows for the 26-year-old, who after seemingly regaining his form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has seen his side lose seven of their last ten games and face finishing outside the top four. 

A lack of Champion’s league football could be the deciding factor in Pogba’s future, and his brother has shed some light on the Manchester United man’s feelings coming up to the transfer window. 

N'golo Kante,Paul Pogba

Speaking to ​AS, Florentin was asked a series of questions regarding Paul. 

On whether Man Utd failing to gain Champions League football would trigger Pogba to sign for Zinedine Zidane who had already tried to sign him before, Florentine responded with: “I do not know. In football, many things can happen. 

Today I can tell you something, tomorrow something else. Things are going to happen. Now comes summer. We’ll see if [he] stays, if [he] goes.

“For me he has done a good job and ​Manchester already we see that it is very difficult to qualify for the Champions League. We’ll see how the thing ends.”

Paul Pogba,Luka Modric

When asked the last time he spoke to his brother, Florentin revealed: “Two days ago. He is the one who will decide.”

​United face a ​clash with ​Huddersfield on Sunday afternoon knowing even if they win their remaining two fixtures, they need the teams above them to slip up in order to grab a place in the top four. 

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Carlos Vela: 6 Things to Know About MLS’ Runaway Leading Goalscorer

Spells with Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion early in his career mean that Mexican star Carlos Vela is already well-known by English football fans, ​but now the 30-year-old is making a name for himself on the other side of the pond with a string of outstanding performances in North America.

Vela joined the newly-formed Los Angeles FC as a Designated Player in 2018 and has been a revelation in Major League Soccer, with the playmaker currently the top scorer in MLS this season, having netted 11 goals in just 10 games.

Here are six things to know about LA FC’s main man.


1. He’s One of Only Ten Players to Win La Liga Player of the Month at Least Twice

Carlos Vela

Vela is one of only ten players to win the La Liga player of the month award at least twice, having picked up both awards during his time with Real Sociedad.

He first picked up the gong in December 2013 and then again in November 2014. Only Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez have won it more times.


2. He Won the Golden Boot During the FIFA Under-17 World Championship

Mexican Carlos Vela celebrates his goal

The Mexico international has won 72 caps at senior level, scoring 19 goals since he made his debut at the highest level in 2007. Prior to that, Vela won the 2005 FIFA Under-17 World Championship and, having scored five times in the tournament, also picked up the Golden Boot.

He presented both trophies to his father, Enrique, with the final occurring on his dad’s birthday.


3. He Failed to Make the Grade at Arsenal

Carlos Vela

Vela spent in seven years plying his trade in England, but was rarely given an opportunity to shine at Arsenal.

He made just 62 appearances under Arsene Wenger, scoring 11 goals in the process – but he failed to nail down a regular spot despite showing initial promise. He had five loan spells away from the club, finally finding his feet at Real Sociedad during the 2011/12 season.

As a result, they made the deal permanent and the rest is history.


4. He Was Suspended by Mexico for Six Months for Throwing a Party

Mexico Training Session And Press Conference

Alongside teammate Efrain Juarez, Vela was banned from playing for Mexico for six months after breaching four rules of his countries code of conduct.

The then 21-year-old was found guilty of throwing a party at the team’s hotel in the aftermath of their 1-0 win over Colombia in a friendly. The national team’s management, and relevant authorities, didn’t take kindly to it and Vela paid the price.


5. His Brother Is a Professional Footballer Too

FBL-MEXICO-CRUZ AZUL-ATLAS

Vela’s older brother, Alejandro, is also a professional footballer currently playing for Venados in the Mexican second division.

The 35-year-old has spent almost his entire career in his homeland, with his only experience outside of Mexico being a nine-game loan spell with Minnesota United in 2015.


6. Vela Is Taking MLS by Storm

FBL-MLS-GALAXY-LAFC

Since joining Los Angeles FC at the start of last year, Vela has been a revelation in MLS and is filling his boots full of goals.

He became the first player to score in the inaugural El Trafico derby, which pitted the brand new MLS franchise against neighbourhood rivals LA Galaxy. The game took place in March last year and Vela opened the scoring after just five minutes, 

The inaugural match between the two teams from Los Angeles was played in March 2018 and Vela grabbed the first goal in its history after five minutes, before adding a second 21 minutes later.

He is also the highest scorer in the derby, having bagged four goals in the three games the sides have contested – one ahead of a certain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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Bayern Munich 3-1 Hannover: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Der FCB Edge Closer to Bundesliga Title

Goals from top scorer Robert Lewandowski, Leon Goretzka and Franck Ribery gave Bayern Munich a 3-1 victory over Hannover, restoring their five point lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

Bayern were dominant from the outset, constantly peppering the Hannover goal and bringing some fine saves from visiting keeper Michael Esser, whose outstanding performance prevented the scoreline from getting out of hand.

Serge Gnabry,Matthias Ostrzolek

Ribery’s strike in the 84th minute settled a contest that, on paper, may have looked closer than it was in reality, and the home side will feel aggrieved to have conceded after the visitors were awarded a contentious penalty.

Here’s 90min’s breakdown of the game.


Bayern Munich

Key Talking Point

Early in the second half, referee Christian Dingert awarded Hannover a penalty after a lengthy break following VAR review.

Dingert adjudged that ​Jerome Boateng had handled in the area, despite the German’s arm being very close to his body, and with the centre-back having his back turned to the ball at the time. It seemed like a harsh decision, and the lengthy period that left the players waiting for the decision once again highlighted the problems with VAR.

Jonathas de Jesus,Christian Dingert,Matthias Ostrzolek

Hannover converted the penalty, with substitute Jonathas not only scoring but also being booked for his actions following the spot-kick. But within three minutes, Jonathas went from hero to villain as he was walking down the tunnel having received a second yellow card for violent conduct, leaving his side to face ​Bayern Munich with 10 men for the majority of the second half. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ulreich (6); Kimmich (9)*, Sule (7), Boateng (6), Alaba (7); Muller (7), Alcantara (7), Goretzka (7); Gnabry (6), Lewandowski (7), Coman (6)

Substitutions: Ribery (6), Robben (6), Rafinha (6)


Star Man

Full-back ​Joshua Kimmich not only repelled Hannover time and again down the right flank, but he provided a key attacking outlay for Der FCB throughout this match. 

The German has been a consistent performer for Bayern over the past few seasons, and it will have pleased Niko Kovac to see Kimmich and winger ​Serge Gnabry playing well together. 

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Kimmich provided the cross for Lewandowski’s opener and provided a few more opportunities for his teammates to try and add to the Bavarians’ lead. As Bayern look to rebuild this summer, Kimmich will be one of the players Kovac will be desperate to retain as he offers great defensive solidity, as well as being an important cog in the attacking machine.


Hannover

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Esser (8); Albornoz (6), Felipe (6), Anton (5), Sorg (6); Ostrzolek (5), Schwegler (6), Haraguchi (6); Walace (6); Weydandt (5), Maina (6)

Substitutions: Jonathas (5), Wimmer (5), Prib (5)


Looking Ahead

Der FCB go up against RB Leipzig in their next match as the race for the ​Bundesliga title goes down to the last few games of the season. Leipzig are on a good run of four wins in their last five matches and will be a tough test for Niko Kovac’s side. 

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