It’s been an odd season for Atletico Madrid. Unbeaten in La Liga and now eliminated from the Champions League, the Spanish side has flipped-flopped between good and bad.
Manager Diego Simeone found it “difficult to explain” the paradox after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea – a match Atletico had to win to give itself a chance of reaching the knockout phase. Somehow, his players were able to take four points away from eventual Group C winner Roma, but only two from bottom-feeder Qarabag.
In the end, Atletico was simply too wasteful to advance, producing a horrific shot conversion rate of 4.7 percent in Europe. Simeone’s men had their biggest problems against newcomer Qarabag, scoring just once from 46 shots against the Azerbaijani outfit. A team that depends so much on one-goal victories cannot afford to be that profligate.
It’s clear Atletico’s in a state of flux. Amid claims that Antoine Griezmann may have already checked out, the club has struggled to score on a regular basis. Griezmann’s been asked to play as a traditional No. 9, even though that’s not what he is; as one of the best two-way forwards in world …read more