Atlético, a leader in the wire

The ups and downs and inconstancy, in that bipolar appearance of the last few days, describe the moment of Atlético de Madrid; a leader on the wire, saved by Jan Oblak against Alavés, for Renan lodi against Huesca or by the stick against Elche, on the way to playing the League at the Camp Nou, where only victory guarantees him not to depend on anyone other than himself.

The resistance you spoke of Diego Simeone after 1-1 against him Betis today is survival, after the 0-1 with which he won at the Martínez Valero stadium, from which he emerged unscathed by the intervention of a decisive post, when Fidel crashed against him his maximum penalty, between the stretched to that side of Jan Oblak.

It was the consequence of the recurring step backwards, between the doubt of whether it responds to an assumed intention or to the inertia of the meeting in favor, if it is more by own decision, as it seemed in the Martínez Valero, even with some changes in that sense of Simeone (Koke for Correa or Saúl for Luis Suárez), or by force of his rival.

“When you don’t close the game, we already know what happens with the 1-0, which always generates that concentration, that pressure and that danger that you can miss two points, which today, of course, are decisive,” he said. Simeone after the 0-1 at Elche, in which, like so many times, Atlético ended up retreating behind.

And entrusted to that exercise that he has used so much lately to protect a minimum income around his goalkeeper, exposed to any setback or circumstance, on the edge of the blow, compromised as his leadership is and pressured as he feels by his direct rivals, between divergent versions every time.

Atlético in the first half against Elche, winner, conclusive and ambitious, was nothing like the one who settled for a 0-1 afters. It usually happens lately. There is no regularity even within a match. It happened to him against Athletic Club, defeated 2-1; against Huesca, which they won 2-0 because with 1-0 I gave it definitively crossed before Sandro Ramirez; or against Eibar, with 40 infamous minutes with which the goals of Angel Correa.

These are the most recent examples, specifically the last four games, of a team that has only lost one of them, in San Mamés, that has won the other three – all rivals competing to avoid relegation – with a clean sheet, but that not even that hides the instability that Atlético gives off, among a group that does not work as before, that is not constant at all. Nor is it overflowing as before nor is it as forceful in any sector.


But his leadership is undeniable. And is it the favorite? “We are not in the moment to think, we are in the moment to do”, he dodges about who is the number one candidate for the title Diego Simeone, which remains with the “positive things” from 0-1 to Elche, with the “great game of Carrasco Y Handsome, with the very good work of Savic Y Gimenez with Trippier, with the very good game of Llorente, with the great game of Kondogbia, with what Suarez he played again for almost 86 minutes … “

And on Saturday Barcelona awaits at the Camp Nou, with victory as the only formula to continue depending on itself to win LaLiga Santander, to maintain a leadership that has been his for the last 17 days, which he assumed to not get off it. on December 16, precisely when the Barça team, so far away then, so close now, beat Real Sociedad at that stadium.

“We know that it is a decisive duel for us,” he assumes.

Mario Hermosor, the one chosen for the left back against Elche due to the loss due to a muscle injury to Renan Lodi, who was going to be the starter in that match if he had not suffered that ailment and who will probably not be available at the Barcelona stadium either.

After the rest days this Sunday and Monday, Atlético will begin to prepare for that match on Tuesday, from 11.00 am with a training session at the Ciudad Deportiva de Majadahonda. The rest are available for the meeting, waiting to assess the inconvenience for which José María Giménez it was changed in Elche.

“Playing away from home is difficult. We are going to work, to see how we can find victory against that team. We know their strength and we are going to try to win, ”he says. Geoffrey kondogbia, whose team has only won two of their eight most recent official away games, of which they lost three and drew three.


Atlético de Diego Simeone. And it does not seem that it gives to win there with what is shown globally in Elche, in San Mamés, with Huesca or with Eibar. It will not be enough only with Marcos Llorente, four times scorer and assistant another two in the last four appointments; with the inspirational moments of Angel Correa; with the definition of Luis Suarez, without a goal the last three games; with the defensive roundness of STefan Savic or with the decisive saves of the goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Atlético need more, away from the incontestable version of the first quarter, which played, overflowed and thrashed, but also defended with ease. He lost it instant by instant, from the inflection that was the defeat with Real Madrid at the Alfredo Di Stéfano stadium, even though his punch later hid the problems, until he was left without it as the days went by.

There are individualities that also look little like from then to now. While the Elche party vindicated Geoffrey kondogbia, underused in the starting lineup all season by Simeone – he has played four games since the beginning and only two complete games of 24 possible in the League since he landed in the team – also meant another substitution of Joao Felix, secondary for a long time.

Atlético misses him, because his best moment of the season also coincided with that of the Portuguese attacker, as a substitute as a starter in his last sixteen available games and, to this day, more the first than the second for the visit to Camp Nou, which puts the rojiblanco team back on the wire.