From Oblak to Suárez, the X-ray of the champions

From the multitude of rotations that Diego Pablo Simeone combined in the first third of the season, Atlético went to a more stable eleven. Like all champions, he fit in with the maxim that a team’s seams start at the goalkeeper and end at the striker. And between Oblak and Suárez, a handful of players who made the title possible by raising their performance above that of other seasons.

OBLAK. There is no more representative stop of his contribution to the conquest of the title than his flight in the Metropolitano to stop a penalty against Joselu (Alavés) in the last minute and with 1-0 in favor. There is no champion without a goalkeeper earns points. He is the goalkeeper of the five major European leagues with the best percentage of saves 81% of the 139 shots received. It equals Ramallets and Valdés with their fifth Zamora Trophy. 38 games and 20 clean sheets.

TRIPPIER. He started very vulnerable, so much so that it was one of the reasons why Simeone abandoned his classic 4-4-2 to go to the defense of three centrals. He was shielded with Marcos Llorente ahead and not only stabilized, he formed a partnership with the midfielder that has been one of Atlético’s most recurrent and effective offensive resources. During the ten sanction matches he served for illegal bets, Simeone found no replacement for him, despite his attempt with Llorente. Along with Navas and Gayá, the defender with the most assists (6). 28 games, all as a starter.

SAVIC. Imperial. His best season since landing at Atlético in 2015. Marshal on the field and in the dugout. More sober and expeditious than ever in the court both in the front of the area and in the anticipations in the opposite field, where his image helping to build the game was one of the signs that the team in many games had moved away from the version most classic of the Simeone era. He has added 2,954 minutes in 33 games.

GIMENEZ / FELIPE. Neither of them to the height of Savic. More brave and compliant than brilliant. Giménez has been penalized for injuries again. He had the responsibility of occupying the middle in the rear of three centrals and each time he seemed to take the point he broke. Of Felipe it surprised that, after being the best defense of the past course, this one did not initiate it like starter. Simeone explained that he arrived out of shape. More comfortable in defense of four, he improved in the final stretch.

MARIO HERMOSO. The other great sign of the change towards a football with more importance of the ball. Only Koke (63) gives more passes per game than he (57). Fundamental for the mixed that in many meetings the coach designed to play with four back in defense and three centrals in the ball exit. Simeone removed the chains from his left leg, although it made him suffer when he risked more than necessary. When at his exit of the ball he added temper in the remove, he scratched at the height of Savic. 31 games, one goal and one assist.

CARRASCO. A Virguero sacrificed to the pride of his coach. The left wing has been his from pennant to pennant, whether as a winger, as a midfielder on the wing or as a winger. He has matched his best season in goal participation with eight goals and seven assists. Always very incisive, in the games in which he combined overflow and precision in the pass or in the shot, he became the best attacker on the team. Untouchable for Simeone since he took the title against Barcelona at the Metropolitano and scored the winning goal (1-0). 30 matches.

KOKE. As captain he neither stopped believing nor running and refined in the pass (90% correct), the main evil that cost him the whistles from the stands last season. The spirit and tactical soul of the team. More Gabi on the field than off it. Wherever there was help or coverage to do, there it was. More attractive with the ball in the opposite field than in front of the defense. His recovery has convinced even Luis Enrique, who at that level considers him untouchable. 37 games and first outfield player in minutes (3030). One goal and two assists.

MARCOS LLORENTE. The concept of allfielder raised to its finest. In every position he has played, he has broken into space, he has run, he has overflowed, he has assisted and he has scored. One of the best players in the championship, if not the best. Only Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) surpasses Llorente as the midfielder who has participated in the most goals in the five major European leagues (29, 18 goals and 11 assists). Llorente (23, 12 goals and 11 assists) in 37 games, 34 as a starter.

LEMAR. The season in which he has come closest to justifying the price (70 million for 80% of the pass) and the expectations generated by his signing in 2018. He has lacked having more presence and being more decisive in the last meters, but he has given continuity to the game in the middle of the field. One of the causes of the substitution of João Félix. Sacrifice had even in his worst moments of previous seasons, to the extent that he has improved with the ball, the footballer who can be appeared. One goal and three assists in 27 games, 18 as a starter.

STRAP. Together with Suárez and Llorente the most decisive player in attack. As always, he never separated sacrifice and the unpredictability of his football. His turns in tight spaces, his filtered passes (8 assists) and his goals (9) have confirmed him as the most different attacker that Simeone has. In the midst of the physical exuberance that governs, he has claimed a maxim of street football: the dribble does not know of sizes. The only outfield player to have played all 38 games, 28 as a starter.

LUIS SUÁREZ. He has given the team hierarchy even to win the throw-ins with his unchecks and his drops. His age (34 years) caused his teammates and Simeone himself to understand that the team had to play more in the opposite field to squeeze all their science as nine. He regained his aim in the final stretch. The title is not understood without his goals, especially in the games in which his punch minimized the bad game of the team. The 21 goals in 32 games have accounted for 21 points.

JOÃO FÉLIX. His spectacular start to the season was part of the champion air that the team gave off. After the Valdebebas derby (2-0), he began to lose prominence due to his battered right ankle and the lack of empathy with the coach, reflected in gestures such as telling him to shut up in Vila-real. Seven goals and four assists can be the signature of his farewell. 31 games, but only 14 as a starter.

OF SAÚL TO DEMBÉLÉ. Saúl’s substitutions, along with those of João Félix, have been the most significant. He was slow to recover from muscle soreness in September and missed the starting line. The team’s winning dynamics and the confirmation of a slump that comes from behind have made him sign his worst season, and perhaps his last at Atlético. He himself recognized his bad moment. Herrera has provided good moments, but injuries and not being a priority for the coach have relegated him. Kondogbia, has experienced what it takes to join a Simeone team. Lodi did not adapt to the defense of three centrals. Torreira, Vitolo, Vrsaljko by technical decision, and Dembélé, this penalized by the covid-19 and and a faint in a training, have had a residual participation. Also played Thomas (three games until he was sold to Arsenal) Diego Costa (7 games, two goals) and Ricard, one game.

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