Almost 25 years on from their double-winning season, Atletico Madrid are once again proclaimed winter champions.
Finishing top at the halfway stage of the season brings with it no more than honour. The last time they achieved this was in 1996 – that double-winning season.
It is no coincidence that Atletico are where they are, and several factors have contributed to this.
The defensive strength has been one of the team’s hallmarks since the arrival of Diego Simeone. At Atletico, the centre forward is the first defender. They gift opponents very few chances. This season they have conceded just six goals in 16 league games, the lowest figure in the big five leagues.
The strength of the team
There are hierarchal players here, but none are absolutely crucial to their success. They win games without Joao Felix, Luis Suarez, Saul Niguez and Koke. Their strong point is the team itself.
The team’s versatility
Sometimes it is very difficult to guess the position that certain players will occupy on the pitch. Marcos Llorente is a perfect example of that. Either a 4-4-2 or 3-4-2-1 seems to be the preferred option for Simeone, but we have seen others too. The latter has become the most familiar of late. Continue reading