Atletico Madrid’s shaky title defense continues after being held by Valencia

A late collapse saw Atletico Madrid drop points to Valencia on Sunday
A late collapse saw Atletico Madrid drop points to Valencia on Sunday

Winning La Liga last season was a great feat for Atletico Madrid. They bettered both Real Madrid and Barcelona on their way to claiming the title.

Despite starting the 2021-22 season with wins over Celta Vigo and Elche, Los Rojiblancos haven’t quite managed to maintain the previous campaign's high standards.

Diego Simeone's men have been struggling domestically and in Europe. They followed up their 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League with a 3-3 draw against Valencia in La Liga on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid raced into a 3-1 lead by the hour mark after Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Sime Vrsaljko scored to give them a comfortable lead.

However, a late collapse allowed Valencia to claw their way back into the game, with Hugo Duro scoring twice in injury time to earn his side a draw.

Atletico Madrid have just one win in six games

The latest result means Atletico Madrid have now won just once in their last six matches in all competitions. This is the complete opposite of how they started the campaign.

Los Rojiblancos appear out of sorts at the moment and can’t seem to find inspiration from anywhere. It’s one thing to play poorly, but it’s entirely another thing to concede twice in the final two minutes of a game.

Atletico Madrid are not known to be dominant, but they are usually clinical and compact, which makes them a hard team to beat. However, they seem to have abandoned those traits this season.

A typical Simeone team rarely concedes. Atletico Madrid conceded the least number of goals (25) last season on their way to winning the La Liga title. This season, they have conceded five goals in their last two matches alone. That is definitely not good enough.

First LaLiga goal for Šime ⚽️

Atletico Madrid enduring shaky title defense

As defending champions, Atletico Madrid are expected to be in the La Liga title race this season. However, their title defense has so far been shaky.

Sunday’s draw with Valencia saw Los Rojiblancos drop to fourth place on the table. They are still just five points adrift of the top spot, but they need consistency to stay in the title race.

“We have out in an extraordinary performance for 80/85 minutes. The shame is that we can’t get these points back. They, in the end, gave everything to get a goal. We were ready and concentrated but Valencia deserved the draw,” Simeone said, as quoted by Football Espana.
“What I have said to the team is that it’s hard to lose these points, but I can’t just make it about the final five minutes without (highlighting) the work that we have done after Liverpool and the big game the team has had.
“You pay for errors in football. It has been a really great game, with 80-85 very good minutes, a lot of personality and unfortunately, sometimes we get it right…today we were wrong.”

Atletico Madrid won the league last season because they were more consistent than their rivals. They haven’t managed to replicate such form this season, and it could cost them the title if they don’t turn things around quickly.

Atletico Madrid will next face Osasuna in La Liga on November 20.

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh

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