Atlético defeated Barcelona for the first time in the League since the arrival of Simeone and continues to show the most solvent version of the team despite the break. An Atleti that attacks as it has not been seen for years, with long possessions, accumulation of offensive players, arrivals, goals … without resenting behind. Simeone has stretched the blanket and has managed to cover himself from head to toe, something that gives fans reason to dream.
Cholo teams have always supported themselves from defense. And this Atlético is still insurmountable, with an Oblak that He has only picked up the ball from his net twice in eight league games (0.25 per game), historical numbers. Jorge Molina and Budimir are the only ones who can boast of having surpassed the Slovenian goalkeeper in the competition, although both saw their teams lose the match. Atlético has not been behind on the scoreboard in any of the 720 minutes that have elapsed in the League. Simeone has formed a line of three centrals back, with Beautiful shifted slightly to the left, Savic to the right and Giménez as vertex, which allow the midfielders and a much more comfortable Trippier to be freed after having started the course suffering. Carrasco, Vitolo or Saúl have served as lanes on the left expanding the field and opening holes in the middle for the appearances of João Félix, Koke, Correa, Llorente and company. A renewal for an extraordinary defensive system year after year.
This season Atlético is showing a very different face than it did years ago. He no longer shuns the ball or suffers when he has to lead the games. ANDHe is attacking with possession, being the protagonist in games and something very important, looking for the second goal once he scores the first. It no longer withdraws lines to protect that advantage, but tries to expand it, on many occasions successfully (18 goals go in eight games). Although the result was 1-0 against Barcelona, Atlético started the second half with very high pressure despite having gained the advantage just before the break and making plays with very long combinations. Simeone has positioned Luis Suárez as the key piece in this change of style, with the aim of supplying balls in the area to enhance its characteristics. However, in the absence of the Uruguayan, the proposal remains, something that empowers practically all players, but especially to João Félix and Koke.
The Athletic He did not have Suárez, Herrera and Torreira in the game against Barcelona, all three of them out after the international break. The first two were very important at the beginning of the year and Torreira was taking minutes in between. Still, without his ‘9’ and great scorer available, Cholo chose a team with four total attack players and had in the chamber for the second half Diego Costa, Lemar and Vitolo, without resorting to the canary. Kondogbia entered to strengthen the midfield, Philip to defend the last lateral centers and I gave it he watched the whole game from the bench. Vrsaljko accelerates in its recovery to have a replacement of guarantees in the only position that is now not bent. Carrasco he returned from injury with a goal, Llorente is in a stellar moment, belt does not plan to give up minutes, Hermoso and Herrera have taken a giant step at this start of the season, Savic is second to none … All footballers plugged in to join the vertebral column formed by Oblak, Giménez, Koke, Saúl and João Félix.
A new star
Every project has a visible face and in this Atlético, in addition to Oblak, the figure of João Félix has exploded. A total footballer who already in the year of his arrival had made it clear that he had magic in his boots, but intermittently and without continuity. Now, just turned 21, shows game after game that he can be one of the best footballers in the world, and that he is coming from promise to reality. A player involved, who has found his ideal space, as a second striker falling towards the left wing and has amplified his appearances. His colleagues are looking for him, he feels like a leader and is fulfilling perfectly with Correa, Suárez, Koke and Carrasco. If last season he scored nine goals in 36 games, this adds up to seven in 11, making it clear that he is an increasingly decisive player in the final meters.
If Atlético have started in a fantastic state of form, the two big favorites for the league title cannot say the same. Real Madrid, current champions, suffers to win every game and their feelings are not good. He adds a point in the last two days and has lost his reliability behind, key for them to lift the title. Courtois has conceded 10 goals in nine games and in return they have scored 15. Atlético, which has accumulated 24 consecutive league games without losing, has three points more than the whites with one game less played. Even worse has started Barcelona, who with their defeat at the Wanda Metropolitano is nine points behind those of Simeone. Messi stayed reluctantly, but mentally it does not seem in a good version, Griezmann still does not adapt, and less exercising as ‘9’ without Suárez and injuries have stopped an Ansu Fati that was his best news.
Atlético has a golden opportunity in the league before them, since their good feelings are mixed with the bad ones of the two teams forced to fight for the championship. Simeone is aware of the weakness of the two most economically powerful teams in the competition and with the mentality of the game by game, he will try to get his best version for a title that may be cheaper than in years ago, when Messi and Cristiano did not give a breath.