Atletico is experiencing the start of the season that Diego Simeone surely didn’t have on his mind during this summer, and although they only played two games, it seems that something is not right.
Los Colchoneros recorded only two points out of the two opening matches and scored a disappointing one goal from the penalty spot; courtesy of the new arrival Kevin Gameiro. What’s even more concerning, these results came against the newly promoted sides – Alaves and Leganes, so the fans should be worried about the team’s performance.
So, what seems to be a problem? It’s almost the same team that reached the Champions League finals last season, and most of the players were at the club when Atletico won the league title back in 2014.
They are even stronger with the summer acquisitions of Gameiro, Nico Gaitan, and Sime Vrsaljko, so it’s inexplicable why they are performing under expectations.
The attack appears to be ineffective; Antoine Griezmann is apparently still going through the Euro hangover, Gameiro needs more time to adapt to a new system, while Fernando Torres didn’t offer much off the bench.
The attacking trio Gameiro – Torres – Griezmann attempted 15 shots in first two games including 11 from the penalty box, but scored only one goal.
The team’s total of 37 shots and one miserable goal is way below the percentage needed for the title battle, and they will have to improve as soon as possible.
The defence, on the other end, which used to be one of the best in Europe, now is looking vulnerable; they conceded an injury time goal against Alaves at home from the visitors’ first attempt on target.
Goalkeeper Jan Oblak faced only eight attempted shots at his goal in total, two of which were on target. However, he conceded a goal, so it’s not surprising that he is the worst rated Atletico player after first two rounds.
Oblak allowed only 18 goals in 38 matches last season, recording 81 saves in the process which made him the best keeper in LaLiga, so these numbers early in this campaign are a bit embarrassing for him.
He is clearly the No.1 at Vicente Calderon, especially with the backup Moya sidelined until mid-October, but Oblak has to perform much better, or he’ll be in all kinds of trouble.
It doesn’t look like Atletico we used to watch in previous seasons. OK, the errors could occur to anyone, and it’s only a beginning of the campaign, but such a slow start against much weaker oppositions certainly raised some eyebrows.
Diego Simeone has what it takes to turn the things around, but maybe his tactics went old, and the rivals are now seeing through his strategy.
Apparently, the Argentinian manager didn’t change anything in his tactics for years now, and Atletico is well-known as the team that plays “anti-football”, so perhaps he should slightly change his style.
He most definitely has the players capable of playing eye-catching football, maybe not fluid like Barca or Real, but his defensive style simply won’t do anymore.
It’s quite early for the fans to become desperate or to start calling for Simeone’s head, but unless something drastically changes in the next few games, it’s going to be unpleasant for Diego.
The Atletico hierarchy invested a lot of money in this team, and they are expecting Simeone to be shoulder to shoulder with Zidane and Luis Enrique, so they will undoubtedly demand more from their head coach.
Still, it’s unrealistic to expect his sacking soon; after all, he brought a lot of joy to Vicente Calderon, and these things cannot be forgotten so quickly.
The international break will do well for Atletico, but after it, they have two important away games – at Celta in LaLiga, and in Eindhoven against PSV in the opening clash of the Champions League.
These matches could be season defining for Simeone and the club. Nevertheless, he has quality players in his squad and should be back on the course without trouble.