Expectations rose at Atletico Madrid heading into this season after their LaLiga title-winning campaign in 2020/21

Expectations rose at Atletico Madrid heading into this season after their LaLiga title-winning campaign in 2020/21

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20 Jan 2022
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Atletico Madrid

Fast forward to 2022, and Atletico are currently sitting 16 points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, with the Champions League being the only trophy they are now competing for this season.

Atletico’s downfall analyse

Expectations rose at Atletico Madrid heading into this season after their LaLiga title-winning campaign in 2020/21, but the team has failed to deal with that pressure. Los Rojiblancos have never struggled this much since Diego Simeone took charge of the team back in 2011. A couple of years ago, they lost to Real Madrid in the Supercopa de Espana and were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Cultural Leonesa. Still, later on, they managed to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League after beating Liverpool at Anfield. Fast forward to 2022, and Atletico are currently sitting 16 points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, with the Champions League being the only trophy they are now competing for this season. Simeone’s side have not lived up to expectations this season, and here we analyse the keys to Atleti’s downfall.

The team looks toothless in attack this season

Curiously, Atletico’s defence has been the team’s Achilles heel this season. Simeone’s Atleti have been known for their defensive solidity, but this is not the case anymore. Los Rojiblancos suffer from poor defending at set-pieces and sloppy errors at the back, as opponents take advantage of their defensive frailties. Despite signing two more forwards last summer, Atletico look toothless in attack this season. The arrivals of Antoine Griezmann and Matheus Cunha do not seem to have helped the team, who are struggling to find answers in the final third. Jan Oblak, Benjamin Lecomte, Angel Correa, Rodrigo de Paul and Mario Hermoso are the only Atletico Madrid players who have not suffered a single injury so far this season. In Wednesday’s Copa del Rey tie against Real Sociedad, Simeone was forced to use a back four made up by players who would typically start on the bench.

Los Rojiblancos desperately need to strengthen in defence

Meanwhile, key players such as Marcos Llorente, Griezmann, Jose Maria Gimenez, Thomas Lemar and Stefan Savic have suffered from more than one injury so far this term. It’s been two weeks since Kieran Trippier joined Newcastle United, yet Atletico have been unable to find a replacement. Los Rojiblancos desperately need to strengthen in defence, as injuries to starters have taken their toll on the team. At the start of the season, Simeone used his favoured 5-3-2 formation, but he had to shift to a back four due to injuries and some poor performances. However, the 4-4-2 system didn’t work either in the 2-2 draw away at Villarreal, so the Argentine coach shifted back to a five-person defence. The 5-3-2 formation helped Atletico win the league last season, but Simeone’s players are struggling to adapt to it in this campaign.

Angel Correa is the only player who has stood out this season, while Lemar and Yannick Carrasco lack consistency. Koke has experienced a drop in form, with the rest of the Atleti players failing to contribute to the team’s efforts when it comes to bouncing back. The Argentine tactician has been unable to find a way to turn the situation around. He is constantly changing his starting XI and moving players to different positions on the pitch. The summer signings have not yet been delivered, as they have failed to impress so far this season. Simeone needs to reinfuse his game-by-game philosophy into the team, and Atletico must now focus on beating Valencia on Saturday to ease some of the pressure on the coach and players.

  • Atletico Madrid
  • diego simeone
  • la liga
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