Atletico Madrid Not short of problems
Atletico Madrid lead the way in LaLiga Santander after a stunning start to the season, but it has also been a rocky road to the top for Diego Simeone‘s men.
They have racked up 12 wins, two draws and just one defeat in 15 LaLiga Santander games this season, but that one loss, at the hands of rivals Real Madrid, was the beginning of an unfortunate series of events that have sought to complicate life for Los Colchoneros.
That loss on 12 December ended an unbeaten league run of 26 matches and 10 months, but Atleti picked themselves up quickly and bounced back with another series of wins, including in tough away trips to Real Sociedad and Alaves, and remain top of the table having played three games less than Real Madrid and Barcelona.
However, 2020 ended and 2021 began with further complications for Atletico.
Kieran Trippier was just returning from injury when he and Atleti were handed a further setback when the England international was given a 10-week ban by the FA for betting infringements, relating to providing privileged information to a friend regarding his move from Spurs to Atletico.
Atletico aren’t happy at effectively being punished for something that has nothing to do with them, especially as the ban will see Trippier miss a Champions League game against Chelsea, but not the English national team’s next matches in March.
Diego Costa was also just making his comeback from injury when he took the surprise decision to ask for his contract to be rescinded for personal reasons.
The former Spain international’s exit may have been accelerated by the incident after the Real Sociedad game, where he wasn’t happy about his playing time and argued with various members of Atleti’s staff.
Costa was a popular figure in the dressing room and one of the symbols of Simeone’s team so it remains to be seen how his departure might affect the group off the pitch.
Atleti seem to have to have acted quickly and well to fill the gap on the pitch, however, by agreeing a deal for Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, who should be an exciting addition to the team.
Things might be going fantastic for Atletico in LaLiga Santander but the Copa del Rey has become a sticking point in recent seasons and last week they were once again knocked out by lower-league opposition, falling to Segunda B side Cornella.
This season already had an incredibly hectic calendar as the football world tried to make up for time lost due to the coronavirus, but now the weather in Spain has added further congestion.
Atletico already had games in hand to play in January and February and now they’ll have another that needs scheduling somewhere after Saturday’s visit of Athletic Club had to be postponed and it may not be the last match to fall at Philomena’s hands.