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Atlético de Madrid: The five shortcomings of a leader with no margin for error

The Colchoneros saw their advantage reduced at the top of LaLiga after their unexpected defeat against Sevilla

The Sunday’s defeat against Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán (1-0) puts the league leader, the Atlético de Madrid, facing the deficiencies for which has squandered almost all the margin of error that it had: of the 11 mattress points that he had to only one, if today he wins the Barcelona.

Defeated in the first big test of this final stretch of the season by a clearly superior Sevilla in the first half who did not get ahead due to a new intervention by the Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who saved his second penalty in two days, and who ended up winning with a controversial goal by Argentine Marcos Acuña, for a ball that hit the hand of his compatriot Lucas Ocampos at the start of the play, the result puts the leader in an extreme situation: he can no longer fail. These are its five shortcomings:


The Atlético has only added the last 16 of the last 30 points it has had at stake, or what is the same, has lost 14 of those three dozen, as a result of the defeats against Levante and Sevilla and the draws against Celta de Vigo, Levante, Real Madrid and Getafe.

This has caused the 11-point cushion that he had – including the postponed games he played later – on him Barcelona and the Real Madrid has now been reduced to its minimum expression: three points on the whites and four on the Catalans, who have to play tonight at the Camp Nou against Valladolid, so in case of winning they would get to a single point, with a BarçaAthletic just a month away.


The Athletic He presented his eleven gala at the Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuán – with the exception of the losses of Montenegrin defender Stefan Savic, due to gastrointestinal problems, Portuguese João Félix due to injury and Belgian Yannick Carrasco due to suspension -, but what could be Seeing on the Sevillian table was a team dominated and overwhelmed by Sevilla, who did not know how to impose their initiative on the game.

It is not something new in recent months for the rojiblanco team, which since January has seen how many teams hit first in their duels in all competitions: Eibar, Valencia, Celta, Levante twice, Athlétic de Bilbao, Chelsea twice and yesterday the Seville. In three of those matches he came back to win (Eibar, Valencia and Athletic), in two he drew (Celta and Levante) and in four he was defeated (Levante, both against Chelsea and Sevilla).


To the lack of authority has been added the lack of goal: of the last four games, in three the Athletic has failed to score (0-0 against Getafe, 2-0 against Chelsea and 1-0 at Pizjuán) and the only rojiblanco goal in that series was made by the Uruguayan Luis Suarez, to Alavés.

The last player Athletic in marking in addition to the charrúa is Marcos Llorente placeholder image, on March 10 against Athletic (2-1), and the last goal of the Portuguese Joao Félix dates back more than a month: on February 28 in Villarreal (0-2).


And that the leader had a new sample of the value of his goalkeeper, the Slovenian Jan Oblak. A stomp by Saúl Ñíguez on Croatian Ivan Rakitic caused a penalty for Sevilla in the 6th minute. It was executed by Ocampos, who shot hard and focused, meeting Oblak, who held out until the end before winning, sensed the launch and repelled the ball with his body.

The Slovenian goalkeeper dressed again as a savior, as in the previous day against Alavés when he saved a penalty in the final minutes to protect the victory of the Athletic (1-0). Until then, of the last 15 penalties he had received in all competitions, 13 had been goals and two had gone away. Of the last two, two stops. Life insurance.

However the Athletic This time he did not make the most of his goalkeeper’s nose, who not only stopped that penalty, but also had a couple of actions of merit in the first half to maintain the 0-0 at halftime. In Acuña’s goal he could do little with Jesús Navas’ great intermission and the Argentine’s unopposed header.


The high number of rojiblancos footballers on ‘yellow alert’ who were one card away from the sanction causes the Athletic have to appear at the Benito Villamarín within a week without his two main weapons in attack: neither Luis Suarez ni Marcos Llorente placeholder image They will be against Betis. Either Geoffrey kondogbia.

Without the duo SuarezLlorente, the gap in the Athletic It is colossal: between them they contribute 29 goals and 11 assists. His contest has been fundamental in 36 of the 66 points that the Athletic this season, 54 percent.

The lack of this couple makes the recovery of the Portuguese Joao Félix even more peremptory, off due to a blow to the ankle against his team, and that of the French Moussa Dembélé, who has been on the sidelines for a week after fainting due to a drop in tension during a training session for the first week of the competitive break.


Although the unquestionable loss of points of the last two months heralds a complicated scenario for the Athletic achieve the championship, the truth is that he has rarely seen himself in a similar position at this stage of the League, and that, in the year of his last title, the 2013-14 season, he was in a tighter situation even than the current one .

On matchday 29 of that championship, the Athletic was second, equaled 70 points with the Real Madrid, and on the following day a white stumble against precisely Sevilla put him at the head of the championship.

He reached the penultimate day with four points over him Barcelona, but he did not manage to sentence the 1-1 draw against Malaga at the Vicente Calderón, and ended up playing the title on a final day at the Camp Nou with the 1-1 draw that the tournament gave him. An example that the championship can still take many turns.

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