Atletico Madrid One win in their last four
Atletico Madrid are sliding downhill as the season enters its decisive stage. Having picked up 50 of the first 57 points on offer, they’ve now dropped seven in their last four matches.
With Chelsea to come in the Champions League and Villarreal and Real Madrid domestically, Diego Simeone desperately needs to stop the rot.
Reliability at the back had been Atletico‘s identity, not just this season but since Simeone first took charge at the club. They had conceded just six goals in 16 matchdays, and Jan Oblak was coasting towards the Zamora Trophy.
But something has been broken. They’ve started to leak goals – they’ve conceded 10 recently – and they look vulnerable against everyone they play.
Luis Suarez was on fire to start 2021, hitting seven goals in four games. But LaLiga Santander’s Pichichi is now enduring his worst drought of the season, going three games without a goal.
The last three matchdays have shown that only Marcos Llorente is capable of helping the No.9, and Simeone will hope that Moussa Dembele can chip in too.
Simeone has had to deal with a series of unfortunate absences, with COVID-19 particularly hitting the side hard.
After the January transfer window they were left with just 22 players, and the absences have been accumulating.
Atleti‘s opponents have gotten used to opening the scoring. Levante have done it twice, and Celta Vigo, Valencia and Eibar have also put Los Rojiblancos on the back foot.
Lately, Atleti have looked more anxious than ever.
Although they enjoyed a good second half against Levante on Saturday, the minutes are adding up and taking their toll on important players, with Luis Suarez being the best example.
Llorente is the only exception, and he is in better shape than anyone.
Both were key early in the season, but they’re not enjoying their best form at the moment.
The Portuguese has struggled since overcoming COVID-19, and the captain is lacking freshness as he has played almost every minute.
Getting both back to their best will be key as they go in search of the title.