3 reasons why Atletico Madrid can break the Real Madrid and Barcelona duopoly next season
Atletico Madrid got their pre-season underway in Singapore with a victory against Arsenal, courtesy penalties. Their next assignment is against Paris Saint-Germain on Monday.
Atletico had a good season last time out by finishing second in La Liga and winning the UEFA Europa League. They were solid throughout the campaign and were the meanest defence in La Liga, conceding only 22 goals in 38 games. They finished 3 points clear of their city rivals Real Madrid.
In Europe they did not enjoy a good Champions League campaign and got knocked out in the group stage. Their 3rd place finish meant that they dropped to the Europa League. They made a good feast of it by winning the title in Lyon against Marseille.
Under the tutelage of Diego Simeone, Atletico have been a hard nut to crack for the ‘big 2’ of Spanish football - Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. In 2014, they broke the duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona when they lifted La Liga.
In this article, we look at the possible reasons why Atletico looks primed to repeat their heroics of the 2013-14 season.
#1 Atletico has had a great transfer window
Atletico Madrid has enjoyed a sensational transfer window this time around. Having convinced Griezmann to stay at the Metropolitano, they went out and bought Thomas Lemar, Gelson Martins and Rodrigo.
Lemar is the biggest of the signings they have made. Lemar has been impressive for AS Monaco over the past couple of seasons, and was a part of the World Cup winning French squad as well.
He is technically very good and gets his fair share of assists. In the season gone by, he assisted 10 goals in Ligue 1, while providing 1.8 key passes per game. Lemar will add a technical edge to the Atletico attack.
He would also link-up with his countryman Antoine Griezmann. The Atletico supporters would hope that Lemar hits the ground running, and the Frenchmen can form a formidable duo going forward.
Gelson Martins was one of the hottest properties in Europe. After he terminated his contract with Sporting, there were a host of clubs wanting to take him on board. However, the chance to work with Diego Simeone was too hard for him to resist.
Martins will add a certain level of directness to Atletico’s attack. Diego Costa would be licking his lips at the prospect of having Martins whipping in crosses for him. This partnership has the potential to cause rival defenses all sorts of problems.
However, Atletico’s shrewdest signing of the summer has to be Rodrigo. At 22 years of age, he has a lot of time to develop into a warrior for Atletico in the years to come. In the 2017-18 season, he averaged 2.8 tackles, 2.6 clearances and 1.4 interceptions per game.
To supplement this, he is a composed passer, with him averaging 66.8 passes per game with an accuracy of 90 percent. He has the potential to be the linchpin of Atletico’s midfield.
A midfield triumvirate of Koke, Saul and Rodrigo will be music to the ears of the Atletico supporters.
All stats via transfermarkt