Transformed into productivity, mindset, ambition, forcefulness and regularity, the difference between
Atlético de Madrid
now, leader of LaLiga Santander, and the one from a year ago, with even the fourth position in doubt, not only is marked by the 13 points of distance between one moment and another, but also by various qualities, characteristics and names of the rojiblanco team:
1 – Luis Suarez:
It is the most visible difference, because a year ago I was at the service of the Barcelona And because now he is against Atlético, with whom he has scored nine goals in his first twelve LaLiga Santander games. He has been key in six of the last eight goals for his team and decisive in achieving nine of the twelve most recent points for the rojiblanco team, which has multiplied its efficiency and, by extension, its scoring numbers: of the 29 goals of now in the first 15 duels at 16 last year at this point. A difference of thirteen goals. And a distance of thirteen points, because last season he had 25 at this time and was sixth, seven points from the top. He is now 38. And he is the leader of the table.
2 – The forcefulness:
The word has always been part of the speech of Diego Simeone as the key factor that can handle everything – or almost everything – in football, but from a year ago to now it has sounded insistently. He missed her then, frustrated because he did not have a problem of chances, but of final execution, and he now shows it in each commitment in a very high percentage. His 0.21 average of goals per shot is the best of the current LaLiga Santander season, according to tournament statistics. Also within the area, with 0.18.
3 – More offensive:
Beyond the explanation of Luis Suarez As a reason for the step forward, Atlético’s change goes much further: it is a team with a more offensive vocation, whether or not it plays its ‘9’, which wants possession, which combines more and better, more precise, with mobility and a first touch without which his playing volume would be much lower and that he looks more at the opposing goal than at his own when designing the approach of a match. Before it was always the other way around. In this new ecosystem, by type of footballers, the collective and each individuality available to the coach benefits. “I follow what the team asks of me and, obviously, the team at the moment is asking for that and we get closer to those who believe that the goal is closer to us,” said Simeone before the 4-0 win over Cádiz.
4 – Ambition:
Not only does it correspond to the current season, but it goes back further, to the return of the break due to Covid-19, when the team resumed the competition in June with the need to regain third position. Atlético shot up its ambition, especially with more evidence in its matches away from the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, the point where it had been weakest and where it had generated a lot of doubts throughout the entire campaign. At the beginning of the last League, first he speculated and then he went for the game. It did not give. Now he goes out from the first moment for the meeting. Without nuances.
5 – Marcos Llorente’s elasticity:
There is no footballer, perhaps, who personifies the evolution of Atlético from one year to the next like Marcos Llorente, the most resounding discovery of recent times, with incalculable value for his team, transformed into an undoubted scorer but also a right winger overflowing and in a working center, as it already was, also liberated by a tremendous arrival. In the last calendar year, he has scored 12 goals. Only Joao Félix has achieved more. And he is within the eleven type, either as a forward, winger or midfielder, when a year ago he was completely alien. Nothing to do with your present. He has contributed six goals in the leadership. Along with Luis Suárez, he is probably the footballer who makes the most difference in current Atlético. He decides matches. A year ago, with 15 league games played, he was a regular substitute or a substitute at half-time every time he played at the start. For example, in the visit in 2019 to Mendizorroza.
6 – Koke’s position:
“He is a very important player. For his tactical question, for his understanding of the team’s need first and then what he can give the team and obviously he has grown a lot from the quarantine onwards. It has been very good and with a much more dynamic pace and pace. (…) Koke, in some passage or moment not so positive in football terms, it is tremendously important for us tactically. Today that he is accompanied by the intensity, the game, the dynamics and the moment he is in can develop everything he has ”. They are words in this season of Simeone. Always indisputable, last season was not easy for him, even whistled punctually at the Metropolitano, but he is an essential footballer for Atlético and for the coach. It was in past times and it is now irrefutable. From its ‘new’ position in the midfield, compared to the band of past eras, a better team has emerged, more combinative, more offensive and more winning, because it has a vision of the game, precision, football and leadership in that area.
7 – The pressure in rival field:
Atlético feel better in the opposite field. It’s their nature. In the first half of last season he did not achieve it as much as he wanted, especially because his pressure was not as tight as it is now. Or as it has been doing since the return from the stoppage due to Covid-19. At that moment, specifically the second half with Athletic Club, this substantial change goes back to differentiate one year from another, when he decided to undergo a high pressure that he has sustained over time. In that interruption of the League, Simeone worked on tactical aspects that he later put into operation. Since then, nothing else has fallen in a league match and has won 19 of 26 games, including 11 of the last 12 this year.
8 – The structure of three centrals:
It is a visible change in Atlético, usually armed around 4-4-2. Now the 5-3-2 is seen more in this campaign in the scheme of Simeone, determined to such a solution after the 4-0 received against Bayern Munich. It was the way to protect the most vulnerable side of his team, the back of the sides. It has solved it with a third central for the coverage of each band, with the entrance of Carrasco by Renan lodi on the left and with the help of Savic, behind, and Llorente, in front, to Trippier, which was shipwrecked in the first days. The result is a firmer defense on the sides. It was a weak point. It is not anymore. In addition, they look back Mario Hermoso, for the left-handed profile, and STefan Savic, by the right, in a state of imposing form in this campaign.
9 – The visitor transformation:
At this point last season, Atlético was a minor visitor. It really was until the Covid-19 stoppage. In their first seven LaLiga matches, Santander only won two (0-1 at Leganés and 0-2 at Mallorca). He lost to Real Sociedad (2-0) and drew – his main problem then – with Villarreal (0-0), Sevilla (1-1) and Alavés (1-1). He has now scored six more points in his first seven outings, with five more wins. In all of the last League he achieved six wins away from home in 19 trips and won 28 of the 57 points away from home: 49 percent. Now he’s won 16 of 21: 76 percent.
10 – Nonconformity:
There is no better example than the same game against Alavés in Mendizorroza from one year to the next. Last season, back in October, Atlético won 0-1 against the Vitoria block, when their rival equalized in the 83rd minute through Lucas Perez. He did not have the resources to avoid 1-1. This Sunday, after 1-1 Philip in their own door, no one was satisfied with the rojiblanco team, launched into the final offensive that was rewarded. “We have returned to attack with everything and we managed to score the second goal,” he said. Marcos Llorente. In all of last season, the rojiblanco team faced four duels with the same circumstance – they went ahead first and received the draw then rival. Won none. They all finished 1-1.
Simeone’s gesture at the end of the duel, when he puffed and waited for his footballers, revealed the importance of the victory in Vitoria.
11 – The ‘new’ Joao Félix:
Joao Félix has also multiplied his contribution. Upon his arrival, in his adaptation, he was a sparkling footballer, as intermittent as his entire team was, far from the definitive capacity that is presupposed and that this course has already shown, although it has not been as indisputable as others in the eleven of Simeone. There was never any doubt about his talent or his possibilities, but a year ago, either as a scorer or as an assistant, he had contributed to five goals (four as a scorer and one as a passer) and now, this year, he has participated in nine (five so many and four assists) in the League, in addition to that he has enlarged his football, his leadership and his perseverance.
12 – The return to the past of Carrasco:
Yannick Carrasco returned from China at the end of last January. More mature, he did not reach the top physically, he needed a kind of gradual and individual ‘preseason’ to catch up with his teammates, to wake up all the footballers who had shown before, even at Atlético himself. The stoppage due to covid-19 was so good for him that, on his return, he was made with an ownership that he did not intuit before. Today it is indisputable, even more than it was at its best in the past. Overflowing, dribbling, powerful in one on one and even set pieces assistant. He not only attacks now, he also defends. And he has adapted perfectly to that lane mission with the entire left wing. He has served four assists and has scored two goals in this league.
13 – Regularity:
Everything converges in the current regularity, “the most difficult to find in life” or “the most complex of football”, in the words of Simeone. Since Atlético was League champion in 2013-14, they had not gone through streaks like the ones they have traced in this League, such as the seven wins before the defeat suffered in the derby or the eleven victories in twelve games that they accumulate at this time. . Last year, his best series was four games won. Before the stoppage due to Covid-19, three. And in his first 15 days, he only managed six wins, with seven draws and two losses: 25 of 45 points. Now it’s 38 out of 45. A difference of 13 points.