Atletico Madrid produced an uninspiring performance as they were held to a 0-0 draw against Celta Vigo at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday.
The first chance came within two minutes - a delightful Kieran Trippier cross finding Felipe, who headed straight at Ruben. The next 25 minutes appeared to drift by without either side really carving out a notable opportunity. But, Los Rojiblancos were able to test Celta's goalkeeper once again when Lodi struck a fierce shot at Ruben around the half hour mark.
In a sudden flurry of attacks, Joao Felix was next to squander a good chance at the back post to give his side the lead. However, aside from these few moments, the half ended with neither side looking truly likely to break the deadlock.
Diego Simeone clearly used his time wisely at the break as the hosts made a strong start to the second half - Koke having a fierce drive tipped over by Ruben five minutes in. Atleti continued to probe but struggled to break down a resolute Celta defence.
As the match wore on, the home side found themselves forcing passes in a bid to secure a winner and this disrupted the flow - with the game frustratingly ending in a stalemate.
Here's 90min's breakdown of the game.
Key Talking Point
Atleti lost their last match in La Liga last weekend but were impressive in midweek as they fought back to draw a thrilling contest 2-2 with Juventus. However, the common denominator among both performances was that Simeone's men conceded twice and the defence looked penetrable.
Therefore, all eyes were on the back four to see how they would cope against a dangerous Celta attack. The addition of Hector Herrera - Atleti's 90th minute goal hero on Wednesday - was an interesting one. He brought an air of calmness to the team and was composed in his work - allowing attacks to stem from there.
And although he was astute in his work, Simeone was not best pleased with his fellow midfielders and forwards who were lacklustre both offensively and defensively. Notably, Angel Correa and Koke provided little cover when the ball was lost and were worryingly scarce when the home side tried attacking.
Herrera and Correa were sacrificed as the manager searched for a greater speed - but nothing was forthcoming. And then came the final change - Joao Felix off and Alvaro Morata on, which meant Diego Costa would be finishing the game. This came as a major shock with Costa yet to even muster a shot on target in La Liga this season.
Ultimately, the substitutions didn't have the desired impact and the lack of ruthlessness in front of goal will be something that will be worrying both the manager and fans.
Starting Xi: Oblak (6); Trippier (8*), Felipe (7), J.M. Gimenez (6), Lodi (8); Koke (6), Saul (7), H. Herrera (6), Correa (4); D. Costa (4), Joao Felix (6)
Substitutes: Thomas (6), Vitolo (5), Morata (5)
STAR PLAYER - You could make a case for either of Atletico's full-backs for the award of 'star player', with both Trippier and Lodi both acting as a constant outlet for the midfielders and attackers. However, Trippier gets the nod as he was always looking to probe and make things happen.
The former Tottenham man's crosses from open play and set-pieces appeared one of the more likely ways that his team would break the deadlock. With Koke constantly drifting infield, there was plenty of space for him to exploit - and he certainly did that. He was equally impressive with his decision making further up the field, providing intelligent and penetrating passes.
Trippier appears to be thriving at his new club and he followed up his impressive display against Juventus in the week with another accomplished performance. He will face competition from Sime Vrsaljko for the spot when he returns from injury, but if he continues to perform in the way he is, Simeone will have no choice but to keep him in the starting lineup.
Starting XI: Rubén (8); Hugo Mallo (6), Aidoo (6), Araujo (6), Olaza (5); Okay (5), Lobotka (6), Rafinha (6), Denis Suárez (7); Iago Aspas (7), Santi Mina (6)
Substitutes: B. Mendez (5), Kevin, Pape Cheikh (6), Sisto (N/A)
Atletico next face a trip to face RCD Mallorca on Wednesday evening in La Liga, before welcoming Real Madrid on Saturday evening for the Madrid derby - a mouthwatering contest.
Celta, meanwhile, will host Espanyol on Thursday evening in the league and then face a trip to take on Eibar on Sunday.