Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid 2013: Why Discipline Is Key for Rojiblancos
Atletico Madrid go into Wednesday night's Spanish Supercopa first-leg fixture against Barcelona knowing that they are the underdogs, but a disciplined performance against the La Liga champions could see them victorious.
Both sides kicked off their La Liga campaigns with impressive wins, but Barcelona's 7-0 dismantling of Levante showed real intent for the new campaign and cast a shadow over Atleti's competent 3-1 victory away at Sevilla.
SkyBet, unsurprisingly have Barcelona favourites, despite playing away from home, at 8-13. A victory for the Rojiblancos returns odds of 4-1.
But despite these odds, Atletico will be confident of beating the Blaugrana and their array of world-class talent—with discipline the key.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone admits that his side's opponents are a superior team with better players but has stated that his side will fight tooth and nail as they bid for Supercopa victory ahead of the second leg on August 28.
In an interview with Inside Spanish Football, Simeone said:
Barcelona are without a doubt the better team. They have Messi, the best player, and in Neymar they’ve bought a player who could become the best player in the world, as well as having Xavi, Pedro and Alexis. They have a lot of important players and it’s no surprise they are favourites.
When you go into a game you need to know your strengths and your opponents’ strengths as well.
They have many strengths and we have some too and it’s vital we know how to use them. We need to be patient, disciplined and tight at the back so we can take advantage of our opportunities.
A wonderful defensive midfielder in his playing days, Simeone has set his side up to be regimented at the back with defenders such as Juanfran, Miranda, Diego Godin and Filipe able to neutralise the opponent's attacking threat.
And with a potent front line of young Brazilian Diego Costa and former Barcelona man David Villa, finding the net should be no issue for the Madrid-based outfit.
Simeone said of his two front men on Inside Spanish Football:
They are both very excited about playing together, although they are still getting used to each other because they’ve only had two games together.
They can form a great partnership.
Atleti will need to adopt a similar playing style and attitude to how they performed against Sevilla on Sunday, except this time they will need to be more organised, more regimented and more disciplined.
Unlike Barca, who are famous for retaining the ball as they cut teams open at will—seemingly creating scoring chances whenever they see fit, Simeone's side do not play for possession. Keeping hold of the ball, although vital at times, is not something that the former Argentine midfielder sets his team up to do.
In Atletico's La Liga fixture against Sevilla at the weekend, Simeone's team saw just 37 percent of the ball throughout the whole match but had more shots at the target and a greater number of scoring opportunities from set plays.
Their midfield four of Gabi, Koke, Mario Suarez and Arda Turan worked tirelessly against Sevilla. They tracked back to cover defensively, with the much-coveted Turan linking Atleti's solid back line with their potent pair up front—a system that, when implemented correctly, works effectively.
It could be a long 90 minutes in Wednesday night's Supercopa first-leg, with the midfield four doing more of the former work than the latter. But if they can keep their shape and their discipline at the back, Costa and Villa are sure to have a few chances.
And, as Barcelona know all too well, if Villa has a chance at goal then you wouldn't bet against him taking it.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?