How Atletico Madrid´s rock strong defence made them appear like LaLiga challengers once more
It was not at all a classic LaLiga marketing campaign for Atletico Madrid in 2019-20.
Atletico’s lacklustre assault noticed them fail to problem Barcelona and Actual Madrid for LaLiga glory, with their tally of 51 targets the worst of any group to complete within the European locations.
Diego Simeone has managed to get extra out of his group going ahead this season and Atleti sit high of the desk with 21 targets scored – the second-best file within the league – from their 10 video games.
Not solely content material with getting his group to discover a extra medical streak, the Argentinian has managed to additional tighten issues up in a defence that solely champions Madrid conceded fewer than final time period.
Atleti have shipped simply two league targets, matching Deportivo La Coruna’s file from 1993-94 for the very best begin of any group at this stage of a marketing campaign, and shall be planning to make life tough for Zinedine Zidane’s males in El Derbi at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano on Saturday.
Defence appreciation put up
Identify a greater love story than Atleti clear sheets
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 9, 2020
Solely Barcelona (237) and Elche (212) have had fewer defensive actions – outlined as tackles, interceptions, fouls conceded, challenges and blocked passes – exterior of their very own ultimate third than Atletico’s 288 in LaLiga this season.
Nevertheless, the opposition passes allowed per defensive motion (PPDA) for Atleti (11.6) is decrease than each Barca (12.3) and Elche (15.91), displaying that after they do press excessive they’re faster to interrupt their opponents.
Atleti are not at all one of many highest-pressing groups in LaLiga, although, with their PPDA rating thirteenth within the competitors. Sevilla paved the way with 9.14.
But after they do regain the ball in additional superior areas, they have a tendency to make it rely. Of their 50 excessive turnovers, 12 have led to pictures. Solely Madrid (13), Actual Sociedad (14) and Villarreal (18) have extra shot-ending excessive turnovers.
Atleti are additionally spectacular in terms of stopping direct assaults, which Opta defines as open-play sequences that begin simply inside a group’s personal half and have a minimum of 50 per cent of motion in direction of the opposition’s purpose and finish in a shot or a contact within the opposition field.
Simeone’s males have restricted their opponents to only 10 direct assaults, with solely Athletic Bilbao (eight) and Sociedad (9) having allowed fewer, displaying they’re tough to interrupt down rapidly and drive groups to work to get into threatening areas.
Once you do get an opportunity towards Atletico it must be a great one with a view to rating. The 2 targets Simeone’s males have conceded this season have been the efforts with the best anticipated targets (xG) they’ve confronted in LaLiga this time period – Jorge Molina (0.99) in a 6-1 victory over Granada and Ante Budimir (0.66) after they beat Osasuna 3-1.
As they’ve solely let in two targets and have an xG towards of 9.17, their differential is 7.17. That is the very best in LaLiga, and Elche are the one different group with a differential higher than 4.
A wonderful ultimate line
It at all times helps having one of many world’s finest goalkeepers as properly, and that’s precisely what Atleti have in Jan Oblak.
Oblak’s 34 saves in LaLiga this season are solely the sixth most, however his save % of 94 per cent is comfortably the very best.
The distinction he makes will be most clearly seen when utilizing the xG heading in the right direction (xGOT) mannequin, although.
The pictures heading in the right direction Oblak has confronted are sufficient for him to have conceded seven targets, so by solely letting two previous him he has been liable for 5 targets.
His targets prevented determine of 5.07 is the very best within the league however solely marginally higher than Edgar Badia of Elche.
All these components have mixed to present Atleti the meanest defence within the high 5 European leagues and make them appear like LaLiga title contenders as soon as once more.
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