Villaflor: Atletico’s struggle is real

Noel Villaflor
·2 min read

ATLETICO Madrid is struggling, while FC Barcelona is on fire.

For Atleti, it seems like the proverbial case of peaking too soon, and it’s now scrounging for goals, even against much lesser opposition.

Take the match last week against, cellar dwellers Alaves, in which Atletico barely survived with a 1-0 win at home, thanks to Luis Suarez’s 54th minute savior.

The numbers weren’t too flattering for the league leaders either.

While Atletico dominated possession, its shots on goal was an anemic eight attempts, only four of which were on target.

Alaves fared slightly better with nine attempts, with three on target.

Of course, Alaves is fighting for dear life as the club with the second worst record in the season.

But while the prospect of relegation is all too real, Alaves and its manager Abelardo Fernandez might as well drag whom they can with them, including the big names such as Atletico.

Well, Alaves didn’t exactly go home with Atletico’s scalp, but depriving Diego Simeone’s team of more goals could hurt Atletico in the long run.

As it stands in the league, Atletico leads by merely four points, which isn’t quite the comfortable margin they hoped for, especially when the likes of second place Barcelona is snapping at its heels.

If Barcelona continues with its amazing run of form, and the league title goes down the wire, the Blaugrana are in a favorable position with its commanding goal difference ahead of Atletico.

Just how good are Barca at this juncture of the league?

In its last match, Ronald Koeman’s side dumped six goals against fifth placer Real Sociedad and conceded only one.

Antoine Griezmann, Sergiño Dest, Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele all found the back of the net, with Dest and pichichi favorite Messi contributing two goals each.

It seems with the Champions League pressures out of the way, Barca seemingly is now more focused in winning the La Liga.

The same thing, though, cannot be said of Atletico, which like Barca, got eliminated in the Champions League Round of 16.

And yet, considering its turbocharged performances at the start of the league, Atletico is sputtering.

But Atletico cannot afford to slip up any further if it is to reach the finish line ahead of everyone else.

Let’s see how Atletico deals with the obstacle that is fourth place Sevilla when the two clash next Monday, April 5.