There were some noticeable developments in Atletico's play during the first leg of their Supercopa match with Barcelona. The first was that Atleti planned to deny Barcelona the opportunity to play their normal game. The second—and most important—was how organised they were in carrying out that plan.
In order to triumph at Camp Nou in the return leg, Diego Simeone's men must find a new level of play on which to operate. It's doubtful that the referees will allow the same amount of physical challenges to go unchecked, so the intimidation factor will be somewhat diminished.
Nevertheless, the defence were resolute at the Vicente Calderon and well-drilled throughout, despite the whole Atletico team suffering obvious tiredness as Barcelona controlled possession in the second half.
They will need more of this—probably for longer stretches of the game, too. Home advantage will be enforced and Atleti will find themselves pushed back.
However, if there is a vulnerability to Barca, it's in defence.
Atleti will know that they don't need to create as many opportunities as their opponents if they can remain disciplined with their own back line. David Villa, Leo Baptistao and Diego Costa have the firepower to create something from nothing, so the game could be decided by a couple of half-chances.
The first leg proved that one goal would not be enough of an advantage on which to shut up shop. Barca can destroy 88 minutes of good work with two minutes of individual skill, so it's going to take a two-goal cushion to put the Catalan giants away.
Los Rojiblancos can take comfort from Barca's performance against Malaga.
With neither Lionel Messi nor Neymar in their side, they struggled to put the game to bed. It needed a spectacular effort from Adriano to finally secure the victory.
La Blaugrana will field a stronger side for the Atleti game, but the defensive deficiencies remain. Atletico have many more attacking options than Malaga and will cause more problems with their strong defence.
Frustrating their opponents will likely yield rewards on the counter attack. This sort of mindset may be defensive, but the first leg showed there is something to be gained from it. Organisation is something Simeone has instilled in this team, combined with a strong belief and desire to succeed.
It's a huge task to walk into Camp Nou and leave with a victory. Atletico, however, have shown they are one of the few teams with the ability to do just that.
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