Atlético Madrid’s 2021/22 season all however got here to an finish on Wednesday night time.
Solely six days after crashing out of the Supercopa de España to Basque opposition in humiliating circumstances, Atleti have been crushed within the Copa del Rey by Basque opposition in humiliating circumstances.
Actual Sociedad have been worthy and justified 2-0 winners on the night time at Reale Enviornment, with objectives from Adnan Januzaj and Alexander Sørloth both facet of half-time giving them the three factors. Atlético had few possibilities of their very own, the perfect falling to Yannick Carrasco as he hit the woodwork, however they seemed like a facet not on the races.
Listed below are three things learned from this Copa del Rey defeat:
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Cramming the midfield made it disappear
You realize once you blow up a balloon? How if you happen to blow an excessive amount of air into it, it explodes and also you’re left with a shock and a little bit of limp plastic in your hand?
It appears it’s the identical once you put too many central midfielders into an Atletico Madrid midfield.
Atlético’s beginning midfield 4 created simply two probabilities on Wednesday, and most of the staff’s greatest probabilities got here from elsewhere. Rodrigo De Paul arrange Carrasco to hit the publish within the first half, however Ángel Correa’s greatest likelihood got here from a Renan Lodi cross. The sport handed the midfield by utterly.
Héctor Herrera was the perfect of a poor bunch in the midst of the park, registering 49 passes. That quantity was greater than double what Koke and De Paul made mixed, but even he solely had an 84 p.c completion charge, solely marginally above the season common of 81.6 p.c.
Koke and De Paul have been each under that common, reflecting a scarcity of connection between the traces.
The midfield was simply as absent when additional defensive cowl was wanted. No safety was supplied to the again 4. Teenager Javi Serrano got here on with 12 minutes left on the clock, and made the identical variety of tackles as Koke did in 55 and De Paul did in 78. That form of work charge and dedication, placing a foot in to disrupt the opposition recreation plan, was absent but once more. It’s a task that has been lacking all season lengthy, with Geoffrey Kondogbia sometimes filling in, however choices clearly missing past him.
Atlético’s midfield points sadly can’t be fastened by overloading the center of the pitch in numbers. Koke and De Paul are each in poor kind, whereas Herrera shouldn’t be a participant of excellent sufficient high quality to be a daily starter.
Taking part in Felipe helps nobody
It’s been clear for a while that Felipe is on a slightly steep, downward pattern in his profession. To say he’s a shadow of his former self could be to place it politely.
Time and time once more this season, the Brazilian’s pointless and unforced errors have value his staff, however on Wednesday got here his most catastrophic slip-up but.
On the primary aim, Felipe’s marking is all over. Correa was monitoring again alongside Šime Vrsaljko to comply with Adnan Januzaj, however Felipe ought to have been commanding the right-hand facet of the field. As a substitute, he ended up on the backside of a three-man heap which Januzaj climbed over to move within the opening aim. Felipe confirmed a scarcity of expertise and intelligence to place himself so poorly.
The second aim was merely farcical. Dilly-dallying in possession, he gifted the ball to Alexander Sørloth and allowed him by way of on aim. What was someway worse than that mere truth was that he then lunged in along with his studs up from behind, late. It was pure desperation. Even despite the aim, Felipe might take into account himself lucky to not see a second yellow, or perhaps a straight pink, for such a deal with. Had Sørloth gone down, he most actually would have.
This can be a huge concern, as a result of Felipe’s function within the Atlético defence is supposedly to behave because the “older statesman” who can convey composure to the unit. As a substitute, he ends matches with teammates working to him to place an arm round him.
Two clear sheets from 16 appearances this marketing campaign solely proves that Felipe is a strolling and speaking legal responsibility. He’s a threat Diego Simeone now not can afford to take.
Atleti aren’t reflecting Atleti’s values
Maybe what is going to upset Atlético followers greater than anything is what occurred off the pitch in San Sebastián.
Earlier than kick-off, the Atleti team bus was assaulted with missiles thrown by Actual Sociedad followers. Simeone was visibly livid with the police as they arrived on the scene. And that rage spilled over.
Simeone refused to shake the hand of La Actual’s affable coach, Imanol Aguacil, on the touchline pre-match and reduce a extra annoyed determine than normal. His reaction to the second aim, throwing his arms up as he grimaced, was an unusually public demonstration of fury with one in all his personal gamers.
However that wasn’t all. Publish-match, Mario Hermoso spoke to tv cameras.
“On the left in midfield, I believe there’s a attainable foul, however we know what that is like. There have been a number of conditions the place it’s occurred to us. I don’t perceive completely something. I don’t perceive how the referee controls the time, all of the balls that went out, controlling individuals, 10 substitutions, and he provides three minutes… I don’t perceive any of it.”
For a few years, Atletico have taken satisfaction from being truthful losers. For a membership and a neighborhood so used to being second-best, Atleti followers know higher than most learn how to congratulate a winner once they’ve been crushed. In San Sebastián, they have been crushed truthful and sq.. Hermoso didn’t replicate that.
There’s additionally a component of self-criticism, of reflection on Atlético’s personal efficiency. Hermoso himself was far from innocent, and is having a thoroughly-disappointing marketing campaign. Atleti followers have many complaints of late, however only a few relate to refereeing. Hermoso’s post-match rant solely served to exhibit a rising divide between the membership’s gamers and its followers.
For this to occur whereas sporting the outdated membership crest, which meant a lot that followers queued up exterior membership shops to purchase the brand new shirt on Tuesday, spilled salt into the injuries.