The stall and fall of Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid
After winning La Liga and reaching the Champions League final in 2014, Diego Simeone's Atlético Madrid were one of the best teams in Europe. Fast forward 6 years and Simeone's side sit 6th in La Liga (36 points from 22 games) and completely out of the title race. The sudden fall in form has been down to many reasons but it has to be said that if it wasn't for the sale of big players and poor recruitment then Atlético wouldn't be in the position they currently find themselves in.
In fact, just this summer, the former title winners once again sold one of their best players followed by some poor recruitment when they sold Antoine Griezmann and replaced him with João Félix Sequeira. This has seen Atlético Madrid struggle for goals this season as a result of selling their top goalscorer from last season and replacing him with the inexperienced Félix who is just 20 years old.
What's more, Félix has managed just the 4 goals in 24 games this season which is poor when considering the forward's €126 million price tag in the summer. The former Benfica man's signing is a club record and many expected him to replace the goals of Griezmann. Although, as previously mentioned, that has not been the case and the goals have dried up for Atlético who have scored just 22 goals this season (after 22 games), the same as Mallorca, who are battling relegation with Espanyol, Celta Vigo, and Leganes.
Adding to this, Simeone's side have also recorded the second most amount of draws in the division with 9 so far with 5 of those ending in 0-0 stalemates. This highlights both their inability to break down defences and put games to bed, an ever-growing problem for Simeone. In previous years, Atlético would pride themselves in their ability to defend well in a low block and counter-attack but due to their lack of attacking ability at this moment in time, Simeone is simply not able to implement a tactic that has worked so well on many previous occasions which has seen his team drop significantly down the table.
Nothing has changed on the defensive front this season for Atlético who have the second-best defensive record in the division with just 15 goals conceded, a stat only Real Madrid can beat. This proves that their problem has been at the other end of the pitch and not down to defensive weakness.
To conclude, although Diego Simeone has endured a successful spell at Atlético Madrid, it may be time to move on as his tactics have become predictable and tiresome in a side that have seemingly lost their shooting boots and as a result, find themselves 6th in La Liga just 6 years after winning the league and finishing runners-up behind Barcelona in the last 2 seasons.
Published 03 Feb 2020, 19:55 IST