Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona: 5 takeaways | LaLiga 2018-19
In a huge clash at the Wanda Metropolitano, league toppers Barcelona took on Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid. Simeone has never won a league game at home against Barcelona, and was hoping to break that uninspiring record against a Barcelona side that was lacking in confidence after a humiliating defeat at the Camp Nou against Real Betis.
The home side had a lot of injury concerns, with their two best centre backs, Godin and Gimenez, missing out. Simeone went with his usual 4-4-2 formation, with Savic and Hernandez as centre backs .
After experimenting with a 4-3-3 formation for much of this season, Valverde went back to the much more successful 4-4-2 formation, with Semedo playing as a right back, and Roberto in the midfield.
Both teams had a solid first half as Madrid defended well and Barcelona maintained possession. Diego Costa scored the opener with a good header from close range, and Dembele equalised for Barcelona in the 90th minute. Here are 5 talking points from the match.
#1 Atletico’s solid defence
Before Simeone took over this side, they were a decent unit winning some big matches once in a while, but they did not win any big trophies. Simeone transformed this team into a world class side by emphasising on a solid defensive back-line, and Godin has been at the heart of the defense for a long time now.
With Godin and Gimenez missing out on such a big game, all eyes were on Atletico’s defense. But the Atletico defense stood up to the task and managed to keep the Barcelona attack quiet for much of the game.
Savic and Hernandez did their job well by maintaining a very tight back-line, and did not give any space for Messi to drift in from the right wing. The four man midfield also helped out the defense by making timely clearances and pressing hard to win the ball. Lemar was particularly good with his pressing and defensive work.