Three things we learned: Atlético’s game plan exploited by Real Madrid

Atlético Madrid knew what was at stake as they travelled throughout town to Estadio Santiago Bernabéu on Sunday evening in a determined try to preserve title defence hopes alive. However the efficiency was one which didn’t dwell as much as the hopes of Atleti followers.

Real Madrid appeared comfy from begin to end within the 2-0 defeat, with Atlético having a handful of possibilities however failing to muster an actual risk at any level.

From a mistaken tactical set-up to poor in-game administration and disappointing particular person shows, it was an ideal storm of failures that led to Atlético’s outcome at their rivals’ residence.

Listed below are three things we realized from the game:

Cholo bought the game plan all improper with a failed press

Atlético’s urgent this season has been virtually painful to look at at instances, and it was worse than ever towards Real Madrid.

Too usually, Madrid would press excessive however solely on one flank, leaving a straightforward escape route with a switched horizontal move. It was a poorly-executed technique, which relied an excessive amount of on the entrance three and lacked an organised midfield press behind.

Madrid could be pressed successfully if it’s deployed properly, however there may be danger concerned. A excessive press means Atlético are pushing additional up the pitch, consequently leaving areas in behind.

Real Madrid CF v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Santander

Photograph by Jose Breton/Pics Motion/NurPhoto through Getty Photographs

That was simply what the house workforce needed. It opened up areas within the Rojiblanco defence that Carlo Ancelotti’s workforce had a discipline day exploiting, significantly given the shortage of tempo in central areas with Felipe, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Mario Hermoso.

“They let you’ve gotten the ball and sit deep, then after they get it again they arrive out in a short time,” Koke mentioned after the game.

A scientific Madrid gave Atlético a style of their very own drugs, chopping by their metropolis rivals like a scorching knife by butter on each objectives.

The errors didn’t finish there. In current weeks, a lot has been made from Diego Simeone’s reluctance to alter, relaxation and rotate. If something, on the Bernabéu, he went too far in doing simply that.

Simeone had used all 5 substitutes inside 68 minutes, altering system and transferring gamers round. With every change got here a lull because the workforce reset and readjusted, however finally it simply meant that Madrid’s contemporary legs within the game’s remaining phases stretched Atlético much more than earlier than.

The Ángel Correa experiment didn’t work

Ángel Correa got here into the workforce at Thomas Lemar’s expense on Sunday, however it was a swap that didn’t fairly work out.

Correa operated in a extra superior place, transferring between a 3rd midfielder and a 3rd ahead. He sat deeper behind Matheus Cunha and Antoine Griezmann, however extra superior than Koke and Rodrigo De Paul. This place, neither in assault nor in midfield, in the end failed to search out areas within the organised Real Madrid system whereas leaving gaps in Atlético’s personal form.

Each objectives got here from large areas, and that partially was right down to Correa’s positioning. Notably as he floated towards the left, the place Lemar would normally play, it was evident his defensive self-discipline and understanding with Yannick Carrasco was not the identical as Lemar’s. The place Lemar will drop deep as Carrasco bursts ahead, Correa failed to take action.

Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid - La Liga Santander

Photograph by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Photographs

On the fitting, the Argentine’s link-up play with Marcos Llorente left a lot to be desired. Correa would drift right into a extra central position, seeking to assist Griezmann and Cunha, however successfully left Llorente on his personal on the fitting flank. That will properly have been by design, however it left the Spaniard uncovered when attempting to get ahead, and all of the whereas he was accountable for stopping Vinícius Júnior on the counter.

It was no shock this technique lasted solely 45 minutes. Lemar got here on at half-time and instantly the workforce appeared a extra fluid and coherent unit. De Paul and Koke appeared much less uncovered, as did the large areas. João Félix loved better freedom to float large than Griezmann had within the first half and appeared a risk, significantly when working on the Real Madrid defence and taking them on. Correa stayed on, however appeared very very like a sq. peg in a spherical gap.

The game plan Cholo had ready on the coaching floor merely didn’t work out.

The Koke drawback is actual

Sadly, Atlético’s captain was as soon as once more off the tempo on the Bernabéu.

It was Koke’s misplaced move which misplaced possession within the first half, resulting in Real Madrid enjoying themselves by for Karim Benzema to attain. It was one among solely 4 misplaced passes, however on this case it exhibits the significance of context in statistics. Too usually, Koke’s passing was gradual and torpid, seeking to play sideways or backward passes slightly than seeking to discover a means by the los blancos’ defence. He’s missing confidence, very like he was at an analogous time within the 2019/20 season.

Areas between midfield and defence opened up all through the derby, as touched upon earlier. Whereas it’s an accumulation of Correa’s presence, a poorly-executed press and far more, Koke’s position is in the end to cowl that space. One thing he did not do. The hole between midfield and defence was usually far too uncovered, with Felipe, Hermoso and Kondogbia continuously stepping as much as fill it in Koke’s absence. They might usually observe their runners, however Real Madrid have been alert to it and would ship their very own runner in behind to capitalise.

It was precisely this sort of manoeuvre which led to Benzema’s opening purpose.

So what can Simeone do in regards to the Koke drawback? Atlético have few options who can substitute the captain adequately within the present system. Neither Kondogbia nor Héctor Herrera are the identical profile of midfielder and lack the standard an in-form Koke brings, however Herrera specifically have to be afforded extra game time to permit him to recuperate his greatest kind.

The extra defensive duties demanded of Koke on this system have taken their toll — and as he’s set to have fun his thirtieth birthday in January, it’s no shock he might do with a relaxation.

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