Club Atlético de Madrid S.A.D 10 Match Tactical Analysis Kieran Smith
Contents • Introduc*on • Club History • Manager • Squad • Story of the season so far • Systems of Play – Favourite and Variable • 4 Moments of the game – ABack phase - ‐ Transi*on to Defence - ‐ Defensive phase - ‐ Transi*on to ABack • Story aHer the 10 matches • Strengths • Weaknesses • Conclusion
Introduction This analysis project is going to look at all aspects of play of Atletico Madrid over a 10 match period. The objective is to look at the team charactaristics, find out how they play, analyse their strengths and weaknesses and provide examples of these aspects in order to learn from how they are playing and why they are having such success. The matches that were analysed: Villarreal (A) Getafe (H) Zenit St Petersburg (A) Elche (A) FC Porto (H) Levante (H) Valencia (H) Malaga (A) Barcelona (H) Sevilla (H)
Club History Atle*co Madrid were formed on the 26th of April 1903 as Athle*c Club de Madrid by three Basque students living in Madrid. They originally played in blue and white kits, similarly to Athle*c Bilbao. When they changed to wearing red and white, maBresses in Spain were the same colour and this led to them being called Los Colchoneros(The Matress Makers). Atle*co Madrid have won 29 separate honours in their history including the Spanish league *tle 9 *mes and the Copa del Rey 10 *mes. They have also had success in Europe being runners up in the Champions League in ‘73- ‐’74, before winning the UEFA Europa League in both 2010 & 2012; these Europa League triumphs were both followed by winning the European Super cup the following seasons. The most successful manager in Atle*co Madrid’s history is the late Luis Aragones, who won 6 different compe**ons, including 3 La Liga *tles over two spells at the club. Big name former players include: Diego Simeone, Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Radamel Falcao. Raul Gonzalez, the Real Madrid legend, was an Atle*co Madrid youth player but joined Real Madrid when the club’s youth department was closed.
Diego “Cholo” Simeone Diego Simeone took charge of Atle*co Madrid on the 23rd of December 2011, aHer managerial s*nts in Argen*na and Italy, and his impact was instant. In the 2012- ‐13 season he beat Athle*c Bilbao to win the UEFA Cup and followed that with a 4- ‐1 win over Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup early in the next season. Since then he has pushed his squad to new levels and not only won the Copa del Rey trophy, but pushed this group of players to try and break the dominance of Barcelona & Real Madrid. During his two and a half year spell with Atle*, Simeone has shown his tac*cal knowledge in analysing and exposing opponents weaknesess, and has combined that with physicality, directness and intensity to make Atle*co Madrid a formidable force in European football. “Effort is non- ‐nego.able. It’s hard for me to interact with players that don’t give themselves completely. The weak don’t interest me.”
Squad 2013-2014 Goalkeepers Thibaut Courtois Daniel Aranzubia Defenders Diego Godin Miranda Toby Alderweireld Filipe Luis Juanfran Javier Manquillo Insua Midfielders Koke Gabi Tiago Arda Turan Mario Suarez Raul Garcia Oliver Torres Cris*an Rodriguez Strikers David Villa Adrian Diego Costa
Story of the season so far We begin looking at Atle*co Madrid in week 13 and the tables opposite shows how they have done up un*l now in both La Liga and the Champions League. Atle* have had a very impressive start to the season in both compe**ons, winning all matches except one against Espanyol in the league; and maintaining a 100% win record in the Champions League. Simeone’s side were already winning many plaudits by this point for their aBacking football and miserly defense. Simeone is now one of the most sought aHer managers in Europe and that is all down to the fantas*c job he’s done at Atle*co Madrid Under Simeone, the whole squad has liHed their level but in the next few slides we are going to look at some of Atle*’s key players this season La Liga Table Champions League Table Key players so far this season
Key Player - Diego Costa Name: Diego da Silva Costa Age: 25 Posi*on: Striker This season Diego Costa has become the focal point for Atle*’s aBack aHer playing second fiddle to Falcao last season, although he s*ll managed 20 goals in 2012- ‐2013. His strengths are his pace and power, which help the direct nature of Simeone’s tac*cs, but his movement off the ball is also very intelligent and that sees Costa find space to receive the ball in dangerous areas. His aggressive nature ini*ally got him into trouble, but now he uses it to his advantage to bully and in*midate his opponents. We will see examples of his movement and goals when we analyse Atle*co Madrid’s aBacking phases of play.
Key Player - ‐ Gabi Name: Gabriel Fernández Arenas “Gabi” Age: 30 Posi*on: Central Midfielder A product of the Atle*co Madrid Academy, Gabi had to leave the club, in a move to Zaragoza, to get his chance to play regular football. He rejoined Atle* in 2009 and is now the club captain. Gabi has played in every league and Champions League this season and his consistent performances have driven the team forwards. He is a central midfielder with more of a defensive mindset, but has s*ll clocked up 8 assists this season so far. He is vital to how Atle*co Madrid play in both aBacking and defending phases of the game.
Key Player - Raul Garcia Name: Raul Garcia Escudero Age: 27 Posi*on: Midfielder Raul Garcia is a product of the Osasuna academy and played 68 games for their 1st team before joining Atle*co Madrid for €13m in 2007. Garcia has played a very important role for Atle* this season, despite not star*ng every game. He has played a number of posi*ons for the team so far this season including wide midfielder, central aBacking midfielder and striker. Simeone trusts Garcia with in depth tac*cal instruc*ons and he always carries them out fantas*cally well. Garcia hasn’t always had the best of *mes at Atle*co Madrid but this season he has been one of the teams’s most consistent players.
Key Player - ‐ Koke Name: Jorge Resurreccion Merodio “Koke” Age: 22 Posi*on: Midfielder Koke is a true Atle*co Madrid player having joined the clubs academy aged 8 and coming through the system to make his debut against Barcelona in 2009 This season Koke has drawn plaudits from far and wide, even aBrac*ng interest from the likes of Manchester United and Bayern Munich. Koke can play many posi*ons but has mainly been used in a wide midfield posi*on this season, coming infield to combine with the strikers, and he has an impressive 9 assists so far this season. Diego Simeone has said that Koke will become one of the best players in the world!
Systems Of Play
Standard System of Play Villa Costa Koke Gabi Tiago Turan Filipe Luis Miranda Godin Juanfran Courtois 1- ‐4- ‐4- ‐2 This set up shows the way Simeone has usually set up when having all his players fit and at his disposal. They have used this set up 24 *mes this season. The forma*on is very fluid during play and in the next slide we will see the usual in match posi*ons of the players. This is not the tradi*onal rigid 4- ‐4- ‐2 forma*on. We mainly see the 4- ‐4- ‐2 set up when Atle*co don’t have the ball and in their defensive shape. Although this is the main shape and set up of Atle*co Madrid they have used many varia*ons which we will see in the following slides.
Actual In Match Shape Filipe Luis Miranda Godin Juanfran Gabi Tiago Koke Turan Villa Costa Courtois Here we can see the usual posi*ons of the Atle*co players during play, when in possession. You can see that the two wide midfielders actually come inside to help overload the midfield and leaving space for the fullbacks to get forward and exploit. The two central midfielders, Gabi & Tiago, get forward too but have a more defensive role in this system. You can see from the movement arrows form Gabi that he is mobile in this system and oHen moves into wide posi*ons to cross into the box. The two centre backs, Miranda & Godin, sit deeper than most defensive lines and allow the midfield and fullbacks to push forward aggressively. Diego Costa is very mobile and will hold the ball up, stretch the opposi*on defense by chasing balls over the top and run the channels.
Varia*ons in Systems of Play 1- ‐4- ‐2- ‐3- ‐1 1- ‐4- ‐4- ‐1- ‐1 1- ‐4- ‐5- ‐1 Despite the 1- ‐4- ‐4- ‐2 being the main forma*on under Diego Simeone, Atle*co Madrid have shown the ability to learn and adapt to mul*ple forma*ons, and tac*cal instruc*ons depending on the opposi*on they are facing and whether they are playing at the Vicente Calderon or away from home. We will see the forma*ons used over this 10 game analysis in the next slide.
Forma*ons Used Over the 10 Games v Villarreal (A) v Getafe (H) v Zenit (A) v Elche (A) v Porto (H) v Valencia (H) v Levante (H) v Malaga (A) v Barcelona (H) v Sevilla (H)
Style of Play & Roles and Responsibili*es
Style of Play AHer looking at the forma*ons Atle*co Madrid have used this season, we are now going to look at the style of play and the roles & responsibili*es of each posi*on, in both offensive and defensive phases. We will see many examples of all four moments of the game in this presenta*on. Style of Play – A<acking Direct play Atle*co Madrid use a very direct style of play. This is not aimless long balls, but means they try to go forward at EVERY opportunity. Atle* are very strong in counter aBack. Build up play The GK will kick long almost every *me with Diego Costa or Raul Garcia being the target. The midfield will then play off of the 2nd ball and build from there. The ini*al phase for Atle* usually starts in the middle third. Overloading The wide midfielders will come inside to overload the opposi*on, who in La Liga, tend to play with 3 players in central midfield. Atle* will have all four midfield players in the central area and play from there. The fullbacks play a integral part in the aBacking phase by providing the width when the wide midfielders go in field.
Style of Play Style of Play – Defensive Atle*co Madrid are very, very well organised defensively and this has been a strength of theirs this season. The forma*ons we have looked at earlier are the basis of their defensive shape in each game and they are very clear in the defensive phase. High/Medium block Most of the *me Atle* will use a high block with aggressive tac*cal pressing, but in some away matches against possession based teams they have resorted to a medium block. Pressing The pressing is ini*ated by the strikers and the rest of the team will follow them. They will either try to force the long pass from the opposi*on or force them wide where Atle* will press in packs to win the ball Midfield The midfield will narrow and become compact in an aBempt to force the opposi*on into wide areas to press them as men*oned above
Roles & Responsibili*es - ‐ Offensive Goalkeeper Needs to have good long distribu*on and also be able to iden*fy counter aBack opportuni*es and distribute accurately and quickly Central Defenders They are a safety net and will also need to be able to play short and long passes when receiving the ball. Go forward for corners and appropriate free kicks Fullbacks In aBack they give the width to the team and provide as many crosses as possible for the strikers to aBack, and also combina*on play with the other midfielder to create opportuni*es. Central Midfielders Go forward and get involved in the aBack with through balls, passes and shots from outside the box. Also moving into wide posi*on to combine with fullback LeK/Right Midfielders The role of these players is to come inside and overload the central zone. They will combine with all players to create opportuni*es for the strikers. They will rotate posi*ons and have somewhat of a free role in the aBacking phase Strikers The strikers are the focal point of the team and need to work hard in running channels, holing up the ball and also geung on the end of crosses. They need to be able to iden*fy counter aBack opportuni*es.
Roles & Responsibili*es - ‐ Defensive Goalkeeper Needs to be able to organise and give instruc*on to an unorganised defence which is s*ll in transi*on. Be good at coming for crosses and shot stopping. Central Defenders Confident in 2v2, 3v2 situa*ons, very good at dealing with crosses and blocking shots. Able to slow opposi*on aBack to allow fullbacks to recover into posi*on. Organise defensive unit and communicate with midfield. Own their zone. Fullbacks Confident in 1v1 situa*ons, understand when to press when the opposi*on is on their side and press as a ‘gang’. Fast in recovery to get back into posi*on aHer aBacking phase. Central Midfielders Get back into posi*on and organise the midfield unit. Help the central defenders by picking up 2nd ball if opposi*on play a longer pass. Know their defensive zone and defend within it. Understand when to press aHer taking cue from strikers. LeK/Right Midfielders Know role and zone when organised in defensive posi*on, but also understand how to recover and get back into posi*on aHer aBacking. Know how/when to press as a team and also when opposi*on is on his side. Strikers Strikers iden*fy and ini*ate pressing when they see one of the triggers and and know how to press to force the opposi*on wide or into long pass. Also get organised if pressing isn’t an op*on and stay compact as a team unit.
Four Moments Of The Game
Defini*on of the Four Moments ATTACK In Possession Four Moments of the game Transi*on to Defense DEFENCE Out of Possession Transi*on to ABack We are going to look at the four moments of the game as shown in the diagram opposite. The next few slides will show which aspects of play we will look at from each of these four moments. This allows us to break down all aspects of Atle*co Madrid’s play and helps us fully understand the methods they’ve used to such success this season Transi*on will be referred to as T+ & T- ‐ in examples. T+ is transi*on to aBack and T- ‐ is transi*on to defence.
ABack – In Possession ABack Ini*a*on Phase Build up play GK Distribu*on Crea*on Phase ABacking Shape Chance Crea*on Combina*ons and Overloads Final Phase Scoring Opportuni*es ABacking paBerns in final 3rd Typical goals
Transi*on - ‐ Defensive Transi*on To Defence On losing the ball Player posi*on Team Shape 1st Decision Defending when unorganised Press or not Slow down opposi*on aBack Recover into posi*on Geung organised to defensive shape Can they get into defensive shape Players taking up other posi*ons Force play backwards
Defence – Out of Possession Defence Defending when organised Defensive shape Making play predicable High/Medium Block Defending the 3rd’s & Unit roles Defending in each 3rd Compactness & forcing play wide Mistakes & Weaknesses Pressing Ini*a*ng the press – Triggers How the team press Where the team press
Transi*on - ‐ Offensive Transi*on To aBack Winning the ball Player posi*on when ball is won 1st decision – keep possession/aBack Counter aBack opportuni*es Pre planned counter aBack paBerns Who joins in the aBacks Regaining aBacking shape Playing forward when counter not on Regaining aBacking shape & units Moving into aBacking phase
Build Up Play From GK We will see a breakdown of how oHen Atle*co Madrid play short from the goalkeeper, and it’s not very oHen. In this example, it looks like they will play out from the back and start their build up from there but they use the opportunity to switch play and into the middle third aHer drawing the opposi*on in.
Build Up Play From Centre Back Miranda has received the ball and the opposi*on are star*ng to press. We can see how high Atle*co Madrid will push when they are s*ll in their ini*al building phase. Here, Miranda will play a long ball to Arda Turan who will flick it on to the fullback Juanfran. This will see a lot of team movement as a reac*on to this pass and Atle* will begin building their aBack in the opposi*ons defensive third.
Goal kick from GK This is the usual set up for goal kicks and as we will se from the next slide, the majority of the ini*a*on phase is started here in the middle 3rd of the pitch. Diego Costa or Raul Garcia are usually the targets from goal kicks due to their hight and physicality. We can see the ‘pack’ of players wai*ng on the 2nd ball and when Costa knocks it down they begin their aBack. We can see that Atle* have overloaded the 2nd ball area.
Distribu*on Breakdown 1 0 2 5 12 9 5 13 4 2 9 1 15 0 2 0 3 0 Goalkeeper distribu*on areas GK Distribu*on Success Rate 48% 52% Completed Failed ABacking 3rd 35% Middle 3rd 41% Defensive 3rd 24% In this slide we can see where on the pitch the goalkeeper distributed the ball and from that we can see that Atle*co Madrid overwhelmingly prefer to play longer from the goalkeeper with 76% of goalkeeper distribu*on being aimed outside of the defensive third of the pitch. Despite having a 48% pass fail rate, Atle* picked up 82% of the 2nd balls from goal kicks.
ABacking Shape in Possesion He were see a very typical aBacking set up from Atle*co Madrid. Both wide midfielders hads come inside to the central area, and along with Diego Costa, have created a 3v1 overload in that central area should they want to exploit it. Atle* play very directly and as soon as Koke receives the ball, he looks to play forward. We also see the op*on for the long ball in behind the defence to Villa. We will see more of this later.
Midfield ABacking Shape The focus here is Koke and Arda Turan, the wide midfielders. You can clearly see their favoured central posi*ons in this picture, and this is the usual posi*ons you will see them take up during the match and it causes problems for opposi*on teams through overloading; especially with the aggressive nature of the fullbacks providing the width. This is not unorthodox wingers, coming inside when they receive the ball, but a fluid midfield shape.
Combina*on to switch play & cross Atle*co Madrid play longer and more direct more oHen than not, but this example shows that they can also play football and combine to not only switch play but to create a crossing opportunity and score from it. Koke is again in a more central role and finds space. He then moves into a wide posi*on combines with the fullback Juanfran.
Direct Play to Villa When Atle*co Madrid players have *me to look up and play a pass they will look to play to the furthest forward player and this is a good example of a long ball in behind the defence. Arda picks up the ball and Villa looks for the long ball straight away as the Malaga defence are holding a high line. Diego Costa is more likely to run the channels to create opportuni*es for himself.
Typical Goal From Cross The fullbacks of Atle*co Madrid are very dangerous and this example shows one of many similar examples of goals from crosses this season. Juanfran is able to check back and cut inside into the space created by Koke’s run to cross for Godin to head for a goal. We will see a breakdown of how dangerous Atle* are from crosses.
Typical Diego Costa Goal This is not only an example of a typical Diego Costa goal but also of a run that he is becoming known for, which Atle* have used to devasta*ng effect this season. Costa makes an intelligent run into the space behind the opposi*on fullback, receives the ball and drives forward into the box. He manages to get to just outside the 6 yards box before shoo*ng and scoring.
Garcia Tac*cal Intelligence The tac*cal intelligence of Raul Garcia was men*oned in his key player focus and this is just one example of that. Garcia pushes onto the aBacking line and Diego Costa drops into more of a No 10 role. Garcia has played numerous posi*ons this season and can rotate between playing up front and in midfield against stronger teams.
ABacking Phase Breakdown In the graphic below we can see the areas where Atle*co Madrid’s aBacking crosses come in from. The figures include corners and that’s why the two highest numbers are in those posi*ons. Average No of crosses per game: 24.75 Most crosses in one match: 42 (v Levante at home) 44 36 9 3 1 8 57 27 10 1 20 2 Success Failed Cross Success Rate 76% 24% Despite the high failed cross rate, Atle*co Madrid scored 10 goals from crosses over this 10 match analysis period. They will bombard opposi*on teams with crosses if given the chance & they are dangerous from them
ABacking Phase Summary Direct Play Atle*co Madrid are very direct, play long from the GK and try to control the game in the opposi*ons half. They create a lot of goalscoring chances and they will go forward at every opportunity when organise or on with a fast counter aBack Wide Play & Crosses We have seen that the majority of Atle*co Madrid’s scoring opportuni*es come from wide areas and that the fullbacks give them the width when they aBack with the wide midfielders coming inside. They are also a huge threat from aBacking set pieces. Wide Midfielders We have seen how the wide midfielders come inside to overload the central area of the pitch, as well as rota*ng with each other and even some*mes rota*ng with the strikers. TacQcally Flexible Atle* are an excellent team but they can also change tac*cs to suit their opposi*on and minimise their chance of geung a result.
Transi*on to Defence
Familiar Shape When Ball Is Lost This is a familiar shape when Atle*co Madrid aBack and you can see that it leaves them somewhat exposed should they lose the ball, and that’s what happens here. Koke loses the ball in the tackle and Getafe instantly try to counter aBack and end up with a 4v2 aBacking overload when the enter the Atleico Madrid half. Luckily the Getafe player driving forward makes a poor decision and loses the ball. The Atle* players recover in numbers and do so very quickly.
Fast & Aggressive Defensive Transi*on Atle*co Madrid are very fast in their defensive transi*ons and this is one clear example of this. Valencia win the ball in the wide area and immediately Atle* will try to force the receiving player into a *ght central area, and aBempt to win the ball back. Both central midfielders will make diagonal runs to try and funnel the aBacking player in and restrict his space to aBack, with Turan pressing the player directly. The other players recover into their defensive posi*ons as a safety net.
T- ‐ Decision: Press or Delay? When Atle*co Madrid lose the ball the first decision they make is whether to press the ball or try to delay the aBacker to get organised. Here we see them pressing the ball. In this example Gabi an*cipates the pass and goes to close down the opposi*on player.Gabi forces the player to stay wide and back towards recovering Atle* players. Ini*ally Tiago is making a recovery run but joins in with the team press and it ends up with all four Atle* midfielders pressing the player that has been forced back. We will look into the pressing of Atle*co Madrid in the defence sec*on but this example shows that Atle* press in T- ‐ as well as when organised. Atle* press aggresively so if they don’t do it as a team they leave large gaps for the opposi*on to exploit. This VERY rarely happens as Simeone makes sure that everyone knows their roles and triggers when pressing.
Delaying the Opponent to get organised Atle*co Madrid are very good at delaying the opponent in *mes of defensive transi*on and this is one good example. We can see that Barcelona win the ball and try to counter aBack but the centre back, Miranda, has come wide to delay that. We can see Juanfran making a recovery run and Gabi taking up a posi*on inside to stop the winger aBacking centrally. Should the Barca player pass to his closest teammate, both Gabi and Juanfran would press him. We then see than delaying the opposi*on has allowed the Atle*co Madrid back line to get organised and compact, and Gabi wins the ball. Koke and Turan make recovery runs into central areas to pick up the suppor*ng aBacking players.
Fullbacks Posi*on in T- ‐ This example highlights both a weakness and a strength of Atle*co Madrid. The ini*al image shows the high aBacking posi*on of the Atle* fullbacks as the ball is lost and highlights the poten*al space in wide areas for a counter aBack due to them being so advanced when Atle*co Madrid aBack. When the ball is lost Gabi, the central midfielder, immediately takes up a covering posi*on for the right fullback, Juanfran. This cuts off that side of the field meaning the player has to go centrally. The opposi*on player aBacks centrally and passes to his teammate trying to expose the space in the leH fullback posi*on. Godin reads the situa*on and moves across, and along with the excellent recovery run of Filipe Luis, is in a posi*on to dispossess the opposi*on player when he tries to come inside.
Defensive Transi*on Summary Atle*co Madrid aBack in numbers and leave space that opposi*on teams to exploit but they are strong in transi*on to the defensive phase. Their main strengths are: Fast TransiQon When Atle* lose the ball they are very fast in transi*on and to get back into their defensive shape, and that leaves very liBle *me for the opposi*on to counter aBack. Press or Delay The first decision in defensive transi*on of whether to press the ball or recover to an organised shape is vital and not only are Atle*co Madrid strong in doing both, but they rarely make the wrong decision so opposi*on teams need to have a defined plan if they want to exploit the transi*on phase. Comfortable In TransiQon Atle*co Madrid have tac*cally intelligent players and they all understand what is expected of them in the defensive transi*on phase, so they are comfortable in transi*on. They will take up posi*ons to cover their teammates or force opposi*on players to play backwards un*l they can get defensively organised as a team.
Defensive Organisa*on Villa Costa Koke Tiago Gabi Turan Filipe Luis Godin Miranda Juanfran Courtois OrganisaQon In this sec*on we are going to look at the defensive side of Atle*co Madrid. This has been the founda*on of their style of play and they are one of the most organised teams in European football this season. We will see how they defend when organised, how they force opposi*on into wide areas and then press, their aggressive pressing, tac*cal flexibility and where they are weak defensively. In the image opposite, we can see the usual defensive shape that Atle* adopt. We can see that they become narrow, compact and usually hold a high line of engagement while leaving space in wide areas. They are pa*ent when organised and will wait for their chance to press aggressively or un*l the opposi*on play a long ball into their stronger areas.
Organised Defensive Units This is a clear example of Atle*co Madrid being organised, compact and narrow, using a low block, in defense. We can see the defensive units and how they are not only narrow and compact, but overloading the central area in their favour. Godin is ready to step in front of the striker in front of him should the pass go there, and both Villa & Koke are ready to press quickly the opposi*on player in the wide area. This is the most common defensive set up used by Atle*co Madrid.
Organised Medium Block Here we can see Atle*co Madrid in a medium block but also forcing the opposi*on into a wide area. Atle* are organised, as always, and are ready to press the player in the wide area when the ball is passed. This also shows the big space between the fullback and centre back, which is too big, and we will see later has caused Atle* to concede goals.
Aggressive High Block We can see the high block of Atle*co Madrid here and how aggressive they can be when they want to press the opposi*on. They are trying to force the opposi*on to play a long pass by pressing them in the high block. Koke has come out of his midfield posi*on to give the first line of the high block two players, instead of leaving one, Garcia, there on his own and giving Zenit *me to play out without any pressure.
Narrow Midfield To Force Play Wide This intelligent set up shows how narrow the Atle*co Madrid will go to leave the space in the wide areas, but they are also set up and prepared to press should these opposi*on player receive the ball in these wide areas. This looks like a very basic defensive shape but when you look at the detail Atle* are intelligently set up to not only guide the opposi*on into the areas they want them to be in but they are set up to counter aBack the instant they win the ball.
Trying To Force Play Centrally Here we can see Valencia aBacking and Koke is trying to engage the player in possession by shaping his body to show him into a central area where Atle* are strong. Raul Garcia has dropped off the back line to help with pressure. We can see the highlighted opposi*on player in the wide area and should the player in possession pass into the wide area, that is a trigger for Gabi, Juanfran and Koke to press in the wide area. We are going to look at Atle*’s pressing in more detail.
Fullbacks Posi*oning When Defending The fullbacks are very important to how Atle*co Madrid play, both in aBack and defence, but this is one area in par*cular that opposi*on teams can target when aBacking them. When Atle* aBack both fullbacks go forward aggressively and provide the width for the team, as we have seen earlier, but that also leaves space for the opposi*on to exploit. The other area in which opposi*on teams can target the Atle*co Madrid fullbacks is when they come into wide posi*ons to press or engage the opposi*on wide players. When a fullback defends in a wide posi*on the centre backs stay very centrally and this leave a huge gap between the centre back and fullback for the opposi*on to exploit. Centre Fullback Back Centre Back Fullback We can see the central area that the centre backs of Ale* will usually stay in when organised and the gap between the two when the fullback goes out to defend in a wide area. The 2nd opposi*on player can make a run into a very dangerous area if a midfielder doesn’t track that run.
Fullbacks Posi*oning When Defending This is an example of what we just looked at in the previous slide and shows the true distance between the centre back and the fullback. We can see that Manquillo goes out to engage the opposi*on player in the wide area and Koke is a liBle behind play and the receiving Porot player has a lot of space to drive into. This also affects what Miranda has to do and in turn leaves Alderweireld 1v1 in the box agains the Porto striker
Fullbacks Posi*oning When Defending Another example of the space between the centre back and the fullback being exploited, this *me on the leH side of defence. Filipe Luis goes out to press the opposi*on player and the centre backs stay compact and central. Tiago could drop into the space leH by Luis going out to the player but chooses to go and support the press and actually opens up the space further. The player in possession cuts inside and plays the pass into the path of his teammate in a dangerous area
Tac*cal Flexibility In Defensive Shape Atle*co Madrid are a very intelligent team and this example shows a good example of this. Ini*ally they are set up in a 4- ‐4- ‐2 forma*on to stop the opponent playing forward. Once the ball goes into a wide are, which Atle* can’t press, Gabi drops back to play between the lines and Raul Garcia fills that gap to create a 4- ‐1- ‐4- ‐1 forma*on.
Tac*cal Flexibility In Defensive Shape 1- ‐4- ‐2- ‐3- ‐1 1- ‐4- ‐4- ‐2 1- ‐4- ‐1- ‐4- ‐1 The image above shows Atle*co Madrid using 3 different defensive forma*ons in one match. Ini*ally they started in a 4- ‐2- ‐3- ‐1 then adapted to how the opposi*on were playing and depending what the opposi*on done or how they tried to play, Atle* changed their set up to dealnulify the threat from the forma*on. In the Champions League Atle*co Madrid have also set up in a 4- ‐5- ‐1 defensive forma*on but then adapted that mid match to a 4- ‐1- ‐4- ‐1 because the opposi*on were finding space between the lines of the Atle* defence and midfield.
Pressing AtleQco Madrid’s Pressing The pressing game of Atle*co Madrid is a key part of their defensive strategy and they are very organised in how, when and where they press. They are very aggressive in their pressing and they have also shown to be excellent in offensive transi*on, and their pressing game is a huge part of this counter aBacking style. Pressing to win or forcing play? We will see many aspects of Atle*’s pressing in the following slides and we will also see a breakdown of where they win the ball back. Even though they press aggressively, they are clever with it and it’s not only to win the ball in that aBacking third; They are happy to force the opposi*on into kicking it long or even out of play for a throw. Mentality in pressing – Home v Away Atle* will always press in certain areas of the field, but they have a very different philosophy when playing away from home. For example, when playing a possession based team, in Villarreal, away from home, Atle* will have a deeper line of engagement; but at home against Barcelona they were very aggressive and even pressed them in their own box. This shows tac*cal flexibility and intelligence which comes from how Diego Simeone has analysed the opposi*on.
Strikers Ini*a*ng Aggressive Press Atle*co Madrid are very aggressive in their pressing at home and this example shows them pressing Barcelona, one of the best teams at playing out from the back, with a very high line. The trigger for this press was the pass back to the goalkeeper from the leH side Barcleona centre back. Costa pressures the goalkeeper and the rest of the team react to that and have created a boxed area to press Barcelona and have overloaded that area. Atle* for Barca to kick long and they have their defensive line organised and wai*ng to win the header against Barca’s smaller aBacking players
High Pressure Pressing Another example of the high pressing in the opposi*on’s box ini*ated by the strikers.
Line of Engagement Away From Home In the previous couple of examples we have seen Atle*co Madrid using a very high pressing line when playing at home, but here we can see the difference in their pressing when playing away from home. Garcia lets the opposi*on centre back come forward before pressing him and forcing him to play sideways to his teammate. Koke then presses the other centre back and forces him to play back to the goalkeeper.
Res*ng Posi*on When Pressing Atle*co Madrid have an incredible capacity to press the opposi*on for most of the game and when they do rest, this is the type of set up they will use to try and stop the opposi*on playing forward. Turan moves up and into the aBacking line and Gabi moves over to close the space on the opponent. When the opposi*on cannot play forward and go backwards that is the trigger for the Atle* forward line to push higher and look for their chance to press aggressively.
Pressing In Wide Areas One of the main pressing triggers of Atle*co Madrid is when the ball is played into a wide area and here we have an example of that. As soon as the ball is played wide, especially when the receiving player has a poor body shape, three Atle* players press aggressively. The will try to win the ball and play forward to Diego Costa, who will move into an aBacking posi*on, but they also have the advantage of using the touchline as another defender.
Pressing In Wide Areas Another example of pressing aggressively when the ball is played into a wide area. Atle*co Madrid are strong centrally so as soon as the opposi*on player on the ball shapes to pass wide, the Atle* players are ready to press in a swarm of three players. Juanfran, Gabi and Turan press the Barcelona wide player as soon as he receives the ball and Villa presses the player who made the ini*al pass.
Ball Recovery Breakdown 4% 51% 45% Intercep*ons Tackles 27% 73% Ball Recovery Areas How Ball is Recovered Here we can see not only the areas in which Atle*co Madrid win the ball back, but also how the ball is won back. They use an aggressive pressing game but we can see that they rarely win the ball in the aBacking third of the field. Atle* oHen press and force opponent to play a long pass or make a poor decision and give the ball away. The fact that Atle* win the ball most oHen in the middle third aids their quick, direct counter aBacking style of play. ABacking 3rd Middle 3rd Defensive 3rd
Defending Phase Summary We have seen that Atle*co Madrid are very strong in defence whether that be pressing the opponent, transi*on to defence or defending when organised. This is key to how they play and some of their strengths in defending are: PaQent When Organised Atle*co Madrid are pa*ent when they are defensively organised and will wait for their chance to win the ball, whether that be forcing the opponent into a mistake or wai*ng for a trigger to press. Aggressive Pressing We have see how high Atle* press when at home and it suffocates many of their opponents and forces them to play into areas where Atle* strong and they can counter aBack from there. Defensively Flexible Not only can Atle*co Madrid change defensive shape to suit the next opponent, but they can do it mid game without a problem. They have also been shown to use different mentali*es depending on whether they are playing at home or away.
Transi*on To ABack
Winning To Counter In Wide Area The first example of the transi*on to aBack from Atle*co Madrid is showing how they press to win the ball in wide areas and then aBack quickly. The leH back, Filipe Luis, can see the opposi*on player is about to receive the ball in a poor body posi*on and this triggers him to press. Luis presses aggressively and wins the ball, and instantly looks for Arda Turan, who aBacks the space behind the opposi*on in the wide area. Diego Costa makes a run between the opposi*on centre backs and into a good posi*on to receive the ball to aBempt a shot on goal.
T+ in Central Area Here we see an example of an offensive transi*on in a central area. Arda Turan and Gabi press the opposi*on player and force him into a makign a poor pass, which goes straight to Koke. When Koke gets the ball, Arda Turan aBacks quickly and receives the ball in a pocket of space; He then looks for Diego Costa who is making a blindside run behind the opposi*on player and into the box. Turan plays an excellent through ball between the opposi*on defenders and into the patch of Costa. Raul Garcia moves towards Arda to engage the centre back closest to him, stop him from from recovering so quickly and giving Costa and extra half second on the ball.
Strikers Combining In Central T+ This offensive transi*on shows how quickly Atle*co Madrid can aBack from a defensively organised posi*on. We can see the defensive units and when Gabi and Tiago press and win the ball that ini*ates the counter aBack. When Gabi wins the ball he quickly passes to David Villa who turns to play forward and plays a one two with Diego Costa which takes the last Barcelona midfielders out of the game and gives him space to drive into. Diego Costa is fouled but Villa con*nues with his aBack but is dispossessed. This shows how quickly Atle*co Madrid can go from defending to geung behind the opposi*ons midfield to bear down on their defence.
Long Ball To Diego Costa Diego Costa is usually the main target in Atle*co Madrid’s offensive transi*on and here is one example of that. Juanfran wins the ball in a central area and it falls to Koke, who looks forward and plays an instant pass to Diego Costa. Costa has dragged his marked into a wide area and created space for himself. Costa heads the ball back to the unmarked Turan who can aBack immiediatly and he plays a through ball into the ball of Diego Costa. David Villa also makes a run in the centre of the pitch to engage the opposi*on defendres and also to give Diego Costa a passing op*on when he gets closer to the opposi*on box.
Exploi*ng Opposi*on Tac*cs Diego Simeone has a fantas*c aBen*on to detail when it comes to analysing opponents and here we can see Atle*co Madrid exploi*ng the opposi*on using their fullbacks when aBacking. Getafe are trying to aBack but a poor pass is player straight to Juanfran who recognises this as a chance to counter aBack. He instantly drives forward and Adrian bends his run into the space leH by the fullback to receive the ball from Juanfran. Adrian aBacks the wide area forcing the opposi*on central defenders to come wider, despite only having a 2v2 against the Atle* strikers, and this leaves David Villa unmarked at the back post to tap in from Adrian’s cross. From their own box to in the back of the opposi*on net in just 9 seconds!
Offensive Transi*on Summary Atle*co Madrid are excellent in their offensive transi*ons and it really is a strength of how they play and we can see how effec*ve they are in the goals they have scored from counter aBacks. Some of the key aspects in there offensive transi*on are: Very Fast In TransiQon We have seen just how quickly Atle*co Madrid can win the ball and fashion themsleves a goal scoring opportunity. They are organised when defending and the forward thinking players know exactly where and when to run to receive the ball. Strength of Diego Costa Diego Costa is having a great season and that is due in part to Atle*co Madrid playing to his strengths. He is very fast, strong and also a great finisher in the box. He is the main out ball in their offensive transi*on and he is tough for opposi*on defenders to stop once he’s in full flight. TacQcal Understanding of Opponents Diego Simone analyses opponents and knows their weak areas in transi*on. For example, most teams in La Liga aBack with their fullback so it’s not uncommon to see Diego Costa take up a wide posi*on or for the midfielders of Atle* to drive into that area when they win the ball.
Story AHer 10 Games La Liga Table Champions League Table The tables opposite show how things stand aHer the 10 game period, but doesn’t tell the full story. Atle*co Madrid went unbeaten in the period in this analysis piece. They won 6 games and drew 4 across the 10 games. They dropped points against Villarreal, Barcelona and Sevilla in La Liga, and were held to a draw in Russia against Zenit in the Champions League. Atle*co Madrid have done a lot to not only strengthen their growing reputa*on, but to also put themselves in genuine conten*on for a league *tle for the first *me in many years. Their ‘No Fear’ approach against Barcelona showed many doubters that they are prepared to go toe to toe against the strongest teams in Europe, and con*nue to play with the same style of play that has grabbed the aBen*on of many fans, pundits and other respected people within the world game.
Strengths OrganisaQon Atle*co Madrid are excep*onally well organised in defence, possibly the most organised team in Europe, and this has become a huge asset for this team shown by the low number of goals conceaded this season. TransiQons A huge strength of this team is their speed of transi*on both aBacking and defending. The speed, intensity and aggressiveness of their transi*ons are very difficult for any opposi*on to exploit. They are one of the best counter aBacking teams in Europe this season. Pressing The high line held by Atle*co Madrid combined with their tac*cal pressing game has shown to be very difficult for opposi*on teams, of any level, to deal with. Direct Style of Play The directness of Atle*co Madrid’s style of play and the players they have carrying it out have paid dividends in a league tradi*onally known for a very different style of play. Work rate Atle*co Madrid have a *reless work rate, which is demanded by the manager. Whether it be their pressing or through specific tac*cal instruc*ons, Atle*co Madrid work give 100% effort 100% of the *me
Weaknesses Space Between Units When Atle*co Madrid aBack, they do so in numbers and this can some*mes cause them problems. They oHen leave a 20 yard gap between the two central defenders and the closest suppor*ng midfield player. This has also shown to be an issue when teams drop off against them as the long ball forwards doesn’t find an Atle* player Leaving Space When Pressing Atle*co Madrid use a high intensity pressing game and some*mes when their pressing is just a liBle off, the opposi*on can play out and aBack their weaker areas. Possession Atle*co Madrid play most of their matches in transi*onal phase due to their style of play. They have shown to be excellent in transi*on, however some*mes they could benefit by keeping possession and perhaps res*ng on the ball to draw teams out before playing their more direct football. Mentality This Atle*co Madrid team are new to figh*ng for the league *tle at this stage as well as the Champions League and some*mes thei mentality to see out some games has been called into ques*on.
Final Thoughts Over the last 10 matches I have learned a lot about Atle*co Madrid, their style of play, their tac*cs and their players. On the surface Atle*co Madrid look like a long ball team but when you scratch the surface you can see the tac*cal analysis and understanding that Diego Simeone drills into his players. The movement of their players is fantas*c and they compliment each other very well. The ever changing tac*cs and forma*ons would be tough for any team to manage but Simeone’s men seem to go from match to match, and tac*cal instruc*on to tac*cal instruc*on, seamlessly. I think the biggest thing is Simeone looking at the Spanish league and how football is played there and flying in the face of that, and seung up his team to exploit every weakness in the tradi*onal Spanish style of play. They play out from the back, we press. They don’t like physical confronta*on, we use intelligent, powerful players who will fight for every ball. If Atle*co Madrid played in some other leagues they would be chas*sed for their style of play, but aHer looking at them closely, we can see that they are a lot more than your average team.
Thank You For Reading Kieran Smith Licenced Football Coach All work in this presentation is my own and is not to be copied.