Atlético Madrid have as soon as once more disenchanted, this time courtesy of an away draw towards Almería that appears virtually sure to return again to hang-out them come the top of the season.
Ángel Correa gifted the guests a first-half lead after a powerful dummy from Antoine Griezmann, however El Bilal Touré pulled away on the far publish 20 minutes later to equalize and Atleti couldn’t discover one other means by way of.
28 – Atlético de Madrid have gained 28 factors after 17 video games in LaLiga this season. That is their lowest factors tally at this stage of the competitors beneath Diego Simeone in a full season and their worst tally since 20 factors in 2011/12. Difficulties. pic.twitter.com/80oHEdxPuZ
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) January 15, 2023
The evaluation right here will see what we will take from this sport, which was at instances an virtually comically-poor efficiency.
One of the best squad in Atleti historical past? Critically?
“The squad would not want a lot. We now have a nicely balanced squad.”
That was Atleti’s staff supervisor Tomás Reñones in a pre-match interview on Sunday as he was requested if the membership had been trying so as to add to the staff this month.
For fairly a while, Diego Simeone has been topic to criticism for not doing higher with “the very best squad within the historical past of Atlético de Madrid.” It takes just one have a look at the staff put out in Almería to know that, even when it was as soon as true, it definitely is not right now.
The departures in assault imply that Simeone has solely three forwards out there: Antoine Griezmann, Álvaro Morata and Ángel Correa. These are three good choices, however removed from energy in depth. In midfield, Thomas Lemar continues to fail to dwell as much as expectations, Geoffrey Kondogbia stays inconsistent and Koke appears like a shadow of the participant he as soon as was.
However the actual situation is available in protection.
Axel Witsel’s discomfort enjoying as a central defender turns into clearer with each look. On Sunday, he regarded simply as awkward on the ball as he did along with his positioning of him. The place prior to now he has taken a management function, this time the 34-year-old regarded essentially the most misplaced, and he frequently failed in his defensive obligations.
Nahuel Molina did his finest able which could be very clearly not his personal (proper centre-back), however at one level the Atlético protection had three gamers enjoying out of place of their again 4. The marking flaws usually got here down his aspect of him.
As Atleti regarded to chase and win the sport within the second half, Simeone turned to the bench. What a miserable sight that should have been for El Cholo as he span spherical to see what choices he had.
Pablo Barrios has barely skilled for just a few days however was thrown in at half-time as a result of it could have been arduous to be worse than Koke. Sergio Reguilón got here on to get himself despatched off for 2 yellow playing cards, studying from the Mario Hermoso playbook. Álvaro Morata missed a golden probability, after which one other. Felipe and Saúl got here on to rely down their closing minutes in Atleti shirts.
This will probably be a protracted month, however having offered Matheus Cunha and with João Félix off the books, there ought to be room for Atlético to maneuver within the price range. It is time for the membership to place the cash the place their mouth is and make investments —or it may find yourself being very pricey come season’s finish.
Simeone’s change was the unsuitable one
There have been two turning factors on this match: Geoffrey Kondogbia’s inexplicable Kamikaze-style choice to wallop Marcos Llorente’s goal-bound effort into the roof of the online from an offside place, and Cholo Simeone opting to alter the staff’s form on half-hour.
Hundreds of phrases of research would not assist anyone to grasp what was going by way of Kondogbia’s head, so as a substitute we’ll have a look at what went unsuitable with the tactical intervention.
Having arrange in a 4-4-2 form within the early phases, Atlético opted to revert to a again three, with Molina dropping inside and Marcos Llorente switching to the right-wing-back function. Witsel held the central function in a again three with Hermoso on the left and Reinildo because the left-wing-back, transferring Lemar right into a extra central function.
The transfer was designed to present Atleti a means of enjoying out from the again. Within the sport’s opening exchanges, the build-up play had been gradual, nervy, and imprecise, particularly when Rubi’s Almería pressed excessive.
However reasonably than giving Atleti higher circulation from deep, the tactical shakeup invited all of their ball possession to return deep in their very own half. It invited extra strain from Almería.
That is the warmth map of Atleti’s actions with the ball after Correa’s purpose. Self explanatory…
Solely THREE photographs and 0.6xG from 0-1. pic.twitter.com/pFMIq18Fpa
— Athletic Stats (@atletico_stats_) January 15, 2023
Because the above warmth map from Atlético Stats exhibits, Atlético merely couldn’t get the ball out of their very own half. Almería had been throughout Atleti and located it simple to chop off the retailers the Rojiblancos had been trying to make use of down the flanks, and there was no goal man quantity 9 to seek out through lengthy balls.
The flaw in marking between Molina and Witsel has already been talked about, however once more mirrored a scarcity of planning that noticed three gamers in a again three with none assuming obligations. Equally, Reinildo struggled on the left. He’s clearly extra snug as a left-central defender, reasonably than as a left-wing-back. Simeone screamed at him to push ahead, but it surely was clearly a task that did not go well with. That restricted the potential Atleti needed to threaten from the left.
This tactical shift regarded poorly thought-out, and it was woefully executed. With so few choices, it is arduous responsible Simeone, however it’s clear that the choice to alter this raised extra questions than solutions.
In assault, there was one constructive
We do not need to be all doom and gloom, even after dropping two factors away at a staff preventing relegation.
Because the saying goes, you must fear a few striker after they don’t get possibilities. Atlético are producing possibilities. Alvaro Morata had the golden alternative as he raced by way of, recording 0.41 xG with an effort that was far too near Almería goalkeeper Fernando Martínez. Ángel Correa too put his shot from shut distance, fed by Griezmann, straight on the shotstopper.
Ultimately, Atlético had 1.17 xG in comparison with Almería’s 0.42, and greater than sufficient alternatives to win the sport. LaLiga’s in-game know-how gave Morata’s probability a 55% chance of scoring. Fernando was on kind within the Almería purpose, however the Colchoneros’ ending left a lot to be desired.
Notably spectacular was the link-up between Griezmann and Correa. This was Correa’s first begin since earlier than the World Cup, and he related nicely along with his fellow World Cup winner. Correa’s motion pulled the Almería protection in all places and opened up possibilities not only for him, but in addition for Griezmann and even the likes of Llorente arriving from deep.
Morata’s introduction in a more-fixed quantity 9 function gave Almería issues, as they struggled to deal with him in addition to the vast runners. In an offensive sense, this technique, pushed by Griezmann, on this sport, was solely a failure in the truth that strikers couldn’t end.
As an alternative, moments of stupidity determined the competition. Three avoidable moments value Atleti dearly: Kondogbia’s interplay, Simeone’s tactical change, and Reguilón’s two yellow playing cards in 4 minutes. If the Atlético forwards had been capable of end their possibilities, not a type of moments would have mattered.