Atletico Madrid: A crisis with a solution
In Matchday 15 of the 2016/17 season Atletico Madrid visited Villarreal and lost 3-0.
They sat sixth in the LaLiga Santander table with 25 points, and that’s exactly what happened again this past weekend as they lost to Barcelona.
Above them, in third place, sat Sevilla on 30 points. In between, Real Sociedad also appeared on 26 points, just as they are again now.
That situation became all the more difficult with a 1-1 draw at Deportivo seeing them nine points off Sevilla, but wins against Valencia, Granada, Sevilla and Malaga cut the gap between Diego Simeone and Jorge Sampaoli’s sides.
A fifth straight win came and Atleti rose above Sevilla and into third.
From then, they held their place and didn’t fall down from it again. The season ended with Atletico on 78 points, behind just Real Madrid and Barcelona and six points better off than Sevilla.
That season is a precedent for Atletico now and despite things not quite going to plan so far, they know they can improve.
There’s no arguing that competing consistently with Spain’s top two can never become a basic requirement for Atletico, but they cannot afford to finish outside the top four, particularly given their recent investment.
«Barcelona and Real Madrid don’t worry me much,» said Simeone himself.
«I worry about Sevilla, who are already five points ahead of us.»