November 27, 2020

Atlético takes flight and sinks Barcelona


With the expressive naturalness that his new style has assumed, the Atlético de Madrid He also overcame his complexes before Barcelona, who won without nuances, better than a wounded rival, far from the level that is assumed, nothing constant and bent by a double error that Yannick Carrasco took advantage of (1-0).

First, the failure in control of Gerard Piqué -then in the second half he retired apparently seriously injured in the right knee- and then the exaggerated or incomprehensible exit, due to the distance he traveled outside his goal, of Ter Stegen, facilitated the only goal of the match on the brink of rest.

The detail that solved the victory of the rojiblanco team, but it cannot be an excuse for a Barça that lacked aggressiveness, intensity and personality. I also play, although his final sprint brought him closer to an unthinkable draw minutes before. At nine points behind Atlético, the reflection is necessarily immediate. Quite the opposite of the Simeone block, which is growing substantially.

It is not just a victory for Atlético. It supposes the undoubted confirmation of that palpable “evolution” of this season, beyond the explanation of the presence of Luis Suarez -This Saturday was low due to Covid-19. Also reaffirming your leader numbers. Y the first time Simeone beat that opponent in the championship. On the eighteenth try. That gives even more dimension to his triumph, such as the 24 days in a row invincible in the League or as the 19 official matches that he already accumulates undefeated in the Metropolitan.

And it is not just a defeat for Barcelona. In times of restructuring, both extra sports noise and obvious irregularity on the ground, it is a reasonable doubt in the project of Ronald Koeman. Aside from ups and downs, the results reflect more than that: they have won just one of their six most recent league games. Nothing usual or acceptable in a club of his level and demand.

Atlético has mutated. There is no better evidence than his match against Barcelona. There had been examples this course, but there is always that doubt about the big games. This one was. And there was no step back. Neither locked up nor gave up the ball like so many other times against the Catalans. Many times he wanted it and played it to win, without any nuance, without any reservation and with all the determination, although he also managed other records, such as the counterattack.

There are two actions that immediately reflected the red-and-white transformation: minute 5, a collective move that started from his defense, which traveled through each sector of the field and that, without interruption or any kick, ended in Saúl’s left-footed shot to which Ter Stegen flew ; 11th minute, another long possession culminated by Marcos Llorente with a right shot to the crossbar, cleverly enabled by Correa. Luis Suárez was not there. Diego Costa was waiting on the bench.

Its defensive priority is no longer explicit nor, above all, does it condition its offensive aspect, beyond the mechanisms and Yannick Carrasco’s innovation as left back in the withdrawal phase. The winger is not a defender. No matter how hard I try. He is a footballer who overflows. And that he has nerve, goal, speed and that he goes much better up than down.

They did not deprive their freedom to attack the defensive obligations to the point that, on the verge of halftime, it was he who unbalanced the score. He was fearless. And Ter Stegen was reckless. His departure very far from the area opened a much better chance to the extreme Belgian than the one that was sensed at first. He beat him with a touch and dialed into an empty door. Correa gave him the pass. None of that would have been possible without Piqué’s error in a seemingly simple control.



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The images of Atlético de Madrid – FC Barcelona

The Barca failed when it shouldn’t. He did it 0-1 against, and two and a half minutes above 45 in the first half, and he had done it on his two previous occasions in the other area. In the first, in minute 2, the auction of Griezmann went high. In the second, in 40, Messi had the 0-1. Jan Oblak stopped her. It is true that the Argentine, launched by Jordi Alba, barely had an angle. From Pedri, in eleven, there was hardly any news from his entire class. In the 56th minute he was replaced by Coutinho.

It was a game of you to you. In all its expression. Unleashed the duel at the beginning, played without much prudence, the initial boiling had already subsided by then, especially in each area, with the two most established teams, with Barcelona more owner of the ball, but with Atlético prepared for everything . It was a duel of groups … And of details. When Yannick Carrasco scored 1-0.

In contrast to Atlético, Barcelona is today a team whose spirit is weak. With the 0-0 he competed without a doubt. With the 1-0 he felt defeated for a while. Perhaps he is still in the period of adaptation to the Ronald Koeman project, but not even that is valid as an excuse for the way he appeared in the second half, without the character, the intensity or the nonconformity that a marker against it demands.

Even so, it has footballers of such a dimension that, perhaps in a smaller version, also reduced by the merit of Atlético, it gives them to create chances. Two headers almost in a row, two stops by Oblak, because he was on the spot and the right moment to thwart the 1-1 of Barça, who suffered another blow, very hard, in the form of injury.

The images reveal alarm: the turn of Piqué’s right knee in the tremendous clash with Correa, the tests on the field of play, the face of pain with which the Barcelona central defender withdrew from the field, by his own foot, but limping in an expressive way, with the evidence that the ailment looks serious.

There was not a step back from Atlético, imposing with Koke Not even with 1-0. Neither did Barcelona promote it, which in another era would have provoked an offensive that would have disarmed anyone. Or perhaps through Messi, as blurred already then as all his collective, bent and injured by the ‘new’ Atlético.

Data sheet:

1 – Atlético de Madrid: Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Giménez, Hermoso; Llorente (Diego Costa, m. 73), Saúl, Koke, Carrasco (Felipe, m. 91); Correa (Kondogbia, m. 83) and Joao Félix (Lemar, m. 83).

0 – Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto (, Piqué (Dest, m. 61), Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Dembele, De Jong, Pjanic (Braithwaite, m. 82) Pedri (Coutinho, m. 56); Griezmann (Trincao, m. 82) and Messi .

Goal: 1-0, m. 48+: Carrasco.

Referee: Munuera Montero (C. Andaluz). He admonished the locals Koke (m. 8), Carrasco (m. 25), Savic (m. 79) and Giménez (m. 79).

Incidents: match corresponding to the tenth day of The league Santander, played at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium without an audience.

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