Atlético Madrid – Athletic Club: Morata And Correa Lead Atlético’s Victory In Duel of Directness And Tight Defenses (2-0)
In an old-school duel of two teams trading long passes, Atlético’s domination of second balls and their superior talent allowed them to create the better shots, which ultimately turned into goals. In the second half, Athletic were unable to change the game state through substitutions, conceding more spaces on the counter for Atlético to exploit.
Tactical analysis and match report by José Perez.
Despite the massive squad rebuild Atlético had to undertake over the summer, manager Diego Simeone has managed to make his team play similarly to previous seasons, which is a blessing in some respects and a curse in others. In defense, their deep block remains as strong as usual, the best defense in the league by the numbers. However, their usual attacking problems also persist, with the team struggling to create enough shots from open play, which results in an attack that's only about league average despite all their individual talent. New signings João Felix, Renán Lodi and Kieran Trippier have integrated well into the starting lineup and taken up creative responsibilities. However, with a declining Diego Costa struggling to get into scoring positions, Atlético have had a hard time finishing off their offensive plays.
Against Athletic, Atlético started with their usual 4-4-2 shape, with a few changes due to injuries. In defense, the absence of starters Stefan Savić and Jose Giménez have forced Simeone to go for his substitute center-back partnership, that of Mario Hermoso and . . .