By 90Min
October 07, 2018

Atletico Madrid moved to the top of La Liga after securing an uninspiring 1-0 victory over an impressive Real Betis side.

Betis began the match by seeking to dominate possession, and they were thoroughly successful in their endeavours. After 18 minutes, Betis boasted 75% possession, which fell to 67% as Atletico slowly grew into the match. However, the first half ultimately contained very little of note as the two sides entered the half-time break goalless.

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Diego Simeone's side improved after the interval, with Pau Lopez making a good save to deny Nikola Kalinic after an hour. Substitute Angel Correa netted the only goal of the game after 74 minutes, driving a shot from distance past Lopez into the bottom corner. Atletico remained on the front foot and they secured the victory in what was ultimately a tame encounter.

Here's our breakdown of the match.


ATLETICO MADRID


Key Talking Point


Atletico set up with a counter-attacking style of play against Betis, given how the visitors like to hold possession around their defenders. Atletico pressed high, but found it incredibly difficult to create many significant chances against an impressive Betis side.

Whistles could be heard from Atletico fans who grew frustrated at watching their side aimlessly send the ball forward, and it became clear that this style would not work. Simeone acted at half time and instructed his team to attack after the break, and they certainly looked more impressive.

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Both Griezmann and Kalinic struggled to make an impact, however there were occasional signs that their partnership is developing. However, given Correa's impact as a substitute, Simeone will need to figure out his desired attacking lineup going forward.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Oblak (6); Juanfran (6), Godin (6), Lucas (7), Luis (7); Koke (6), Rodrigo (6), Saul (6), Lemar (6); Griezmann (5), Kalinic (5).


Substitutes: Correa (7), Partey (7), Arias (6).


STAR MAN - Lucas Hernandez


In Atletico's ageing defence, 22-year-old Lucas Hernandez stood out as the future of this team. The Frenchman was truly everywhere on the pitch, making countless interceptions and covering for his teammates.

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The World Cup winner has certainly emerged as one of Europe's top talents and will likely remain as a key part of Atletico's defence for many years to come. 

He deserves a lot of credit for dealing with Betis' impressive possession, as he remained calmed throughout and helped his team build from the back to earn the victory. Fans jumped on Twitter to express their delight at watching the Frenchman.


WORST PLAYER - Antoine Griezmann


With Atletico so willing to sit deep and invite pressure from Betis, Griezmann was left fairly isolated in attack. During the first half, in which Atletico hardly touched the ball, Griezmann found himself constantly bested by Betis' defence. Like his side, he grew into the match, but still failed to make any significant impact.


REAL BETIS


Key Talking Point


Quique Setién has instructed his side to play an incredibly impressive style. They are all about possession, similar to the kind of style that is seen with the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona. All three centre backs boasted an obscene amount of passes, with Aissa Mandi completing the most in the entire league.

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By half time, Betis had completed more than twice as many passes at Atletico, yet they offered very little in attack. They have only scored five goals this season, which speaks volumes of their conservative attacking play.

The potential is there for Betis to develop into a truly breathtaking side. Their central defenders are all incredibly confident with the ball at their feet, but the same cannot be said of their attackers. Possession is impressive, but they need to find a way to translate that into goals if they are to make a real impact on La Liga.


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Lopez (7); Mandi (7), Bartra (8), Sidnei (7); Firpo (6), Guardado (6), Canales (7), Francis (6); Joaquin (6), Lo Celso (6), Moron (5).

Substitutes: Carvalho (6), Tello (6), Sanabria (6).


STAR MAN - Marc Bartra


As previously mentioned, much of Betis' play comes from their central defenders. All three looked composed on the ball, but none more than Bartra. The Spaniard was incredibly happy to receive the ball and try help his side create chances.

Defensively, he was very solid. Atletico's attackers struggled greatly to create chances as Bartra, in the centre of Betis' back three, kept his side organised and resolute throughout. The former Barcelona man has excelled for Betis, and fans were quick to praise the Spaniard on Twitter.


WORST PLAYER - Loren Moron


Betis' reserved attacking style means Moron is given very few chances to score during games, and this was yet another example of Betis missing the end product to their impressive possession. Moron missed a fantastic chance after just four minutes, and was merely a passenger for the remainder of the game.


Looking Ahead


Following the international break, Atletico will face a tricky trip to Villarreal, before travelling to Germany to meet Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Real Betis will host Real Valladolid, before a Europa League clash with AC Milan in Italy.

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