Fati soars, Jovic disappoints, optimism for Atletico as Spanish League action continues
Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid will all be hoping to build on their first wins of the season as La Liga heads into its fourth round of games this week.
For the first time in a long time, Barcelona can enjoy some calm after a 4-0 win over Villarreal in their first match of the season on Sunday.
Lionel Messi scored on his first competitive appearance since attempting to leave in the summer but most exciting was the performance of the 17-year-old Ansu Fati, who scored twice and won a penalty.
Ronald Koeman must decide how to make the most of the teenager, whose maturity on the pitch belies his age and whose body might not be ready to start every week.
But Fati’s pace, movement and decision-making are all so impressive it will be difficult to leave him out, as Barca look to build on that win at Celta Vigo on Thursday.
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane switched to a 4-4-2 formation during his team’s 3-2 win at Real Betis on Saturday as Luka Jovic was deployed up front alongside Karim Benzema.
But the Serbian striker failed to take his chance, instead enduring another underwhelming night before going off with 18 minutes to go.
It remains to be seen whether Zidane persists with Jovic at home to Real Valladolid on Wednesday, or at all, given Madrid could yet decide to let their 60 million-euro (today $70 million) signing leave before the end of the transfer window.
When Eden Hazard regains fitness, that spot next to Benzema will belong to the Belgian so Jovic’s window of opportunity may be small. Time would appear to be running out. Atletico scored 19 fewer goals than champions Real Madrid last season and 35 fewer than Barcelona.
So hitting six against Granada on Sunday offered some early encouragement that this season’s Atletico, boosted by the arrival of Luis Suarez in attack, can put those scoring problems behind them.
Suarez stole the show after scoring twice on his debut but Joao Felix was arguably the biggest plus for Diego Simeone, who will hope the 20-year-old’s excellent display is the start of a more consistent campaign. -AFP