The primary items of Atlético Madrid’s puzzle shifting ahead are in place however there are nonetheless questions that should be answered about Cholo Simeone’s midfield and his go-to beginning XI. His techniques on Saturday evening towards Real Madrid baffled many and it was an odd sight to see Luis Suárez and Joao Felix wanting on from the bench as his facet chased the sport late into the evening.
Three modifications at half-time got here after what was a inept efficiency throughout the board within the opening 45 minutes. Yannick Carrasco couldn’t discover his rhythm, Atlético appeared limp in assault and by no means totally safe on the again throughout that first half. Their midfield was swamped out of possession and hurried on the ball. Benzema rattled a shot off the submit as an early warning signal and Casemiro scored the essential opener from a set-piece after quarter-hour. Actual Madrid labored more durable than Atlético, that a lot is a given, however they had been additionally outnumbered in midfield, had no width and Suárez was starved of provide, wanting off the tempo when he was concerned.
Hindsight imaginative and prescient is 20/20 and it’s straightforward to second-guess Simeone after the very fact. The Argentine is unlikely to provide us an in-depth tactical breakdown of what he was attempting to take action let’s do it ourselves to see what went fallacious on Saturday evening on the Alfredo di Stefano stadium.
The story of the tape
Actual Madrid received 2-0 and got here out the opposite facet of a troublesome week stronger than they’ve been all season. Sevilla fell first after which Borussia Monchengladbach as Madrid picked up an unlikely final 16 place within the Champions League. Saturday was imagined to be their hardest take a look at to this point however they got here out wanting like a staff refreshed, joyful to have slain one other contender to their LaLiga throne. This wasn’t essentially about Madrid being irresistibly good although.
The xG suggests Atlético had the higher possibilities. Two of them got here within the second half although. Thomas Lemar missed a helpful likelihood at 1-0 after which Saúl noticed his header saved from Courtois with Atlético 2-0 down. Atlético’s downside was the primary half, their ceding of possession and the complicated techniques. Simeone, for the primary time in a very long time, entered this recreation with the sensation that he had one thing to lose; each Zidane and Simeone lobbed the favourites tag backwards and forwards to one another all week like a scorching potato.
With Atlético the ascending facet, they froze — each the gamers and the supervisor. “The supervisor obtained his strategy fallacious,” Simeone stated after the sport.
Hector Herrera and Koke as a double pivot
I’m undecided what you name a two-man midfield in a lop-sided 3-5-2 however let’s persist with double pivot. Koke and Herrera lined up beside one another on the base of midfield and moved round this space. They’d Marcos Llorente as cowl on the fitting as he tucked in to assist out with the troublesome trio of Toni Kroos, Vinicius and Ferland Mendy down Madrid’s left. For essentially the most half, that didn’t actually trigger Atlético many issues.
The left-hand facet of the pitch was principally used as a set-up zone for Zidane’s facet. The actual downside for Atlético Madrid got here on their very own left-hand facet the place there was no Marcos Llorente reproduction to shut house and provides Luka Modric any issues. Joao Felix isn’t that participant and Atlético had been left short-handed.
The issue was that Modric and Kroos, the interiors, had house and time to do no matter they needed. You don’t want me to let you know that Modric and Kroos with time to do injury will do a great deal of it. They usually did.
We will see right here, within the build-up to the aim how Atlético’s positioning harm them. Madrid performed with no quantity 10 so Koke and Herrera needed to place themselves accurately to be efficient. “They harm us with their depth, began the sport higher positioned,” Simeone stated after the sport.
The double pivot was too sq.. Herrera wanted one thing to anchor him and for too lengthy he simply drifted across the base of midfield in quest of work and by no means actually discovering his place within the recreation.
Simply 9 seconds after the primary image, Modric will get the ball in a harmful space, he has an overlapping Carvajal to poke the ball to and Atlético have issues. Within the picture beneath, Atlético have 4 males within the center marking Benzema and Vinicius and a scarcity of our bodies out large.
Constructing from the again
Ferland Mendy and Dani Carvajal had been camped out in Atlético’s half for many of the first half. Trippier went toe-to-toe with Mendy with Llorente for assist however Carrasco was much less prepared to commit himself to defending, Mario Hermoso was underneath stress from Vazquez and Carvajal’s mixtures and Koke was too busy attempting to determine the place to take a seat to each cease Benzema inflicting mayhem in between the strains and to cease Modric from working the sport.
When Atlético Madrid did lastly win the ball again, Actual Madrid pressed with the depth Atlético lacked and stopped them from passing out from the again. Joao Felix was suffocated and Luis Suárez may as nicely have been sitting amongst the TV-implanted faux crowd.
Wanting again, possibly Simeone would have competed for possession just a little extra in these opening phases and Atlético would have pressed extra vigorously. He might need began Lucas Torreira or Geoffrey Kondogbia however neither have confirmed themselves but in beginning roles. Saúl’s exclusion may have been the difference-maker as he may have stopped Modric from bossing the primary half. Simeone as a lot as admitted he obtained it fallacious after the sport. “To have extra legs, extra folks within the center, to get well the ball and to have extra power in order to not let the sport get away from us,” he stated about Saúl’s introduction.
Lemar’s second half efficiency suggests he ought to have began however who do you drop? The massive issues for Simeone got here when he panicked on the break. He had seen sufficient of Felipe, Carrasco and Herrera so he launched Correa, Lemar and Lodi. That was a results of unhealthy particular person performances. Then he had tried to repair his techniques and he withdrew Joao Felix with the rating nonetheless 1-0 earlier than lastly admitting defeat and taking off Suarez with the sport out of attain.
Indecision is worst than a nasty resolution, they are saying. Simeone may not agree after Saturday evening.