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Atletico Madrid is failing to overcome problems

Friday 3rd November 2017
Over last four years, Atletico Madrid has been too strong for most opponents in La Liga and Champions League. This season, however, it's a different story as Diego Simeone's men are struggling to reach former heights.
After a stellar run to two Champions League finals during a three-year period, Atletico Madrid began this campaign with heads held high. The club had also overtaken heavyweights Barcelona and Bayern Munich to become UEFA's second-ranked team.

Los Rojiblancos were among the most difficult clubs to face on the European stage. For half a decade, they went head-to-head in the title race with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. Atletico's most memorable moment came in 2013-14 when they were crowned La Liga champions.

Owing to his team's impressive form, Diego Simeone was offered a blank cheque to join Inter Milan towards the close of last season. The Argentine turned it down to sign a new contract in Madrid.

Surprisingly, Atletico Madrid has started the new season in wobbly fashion. Simeone's side have managed only five wins in opening 15 matches and are yet to taste victory in the Champions League. Their most recent 1-1 draw against the group outsiders, Qarabag, puts recent troubles into focus. Atletico are falling behind on all fronts.
There have been a plethora of problems for Simeone's team this term. Unfortunately, they keep piling.

Transfer ban



For a team with big ambitions, a six-month ban from signing players was always going to hurt. And that proved the case. Although Atletico Madrid appealed, the Court of Arbitration for Sports upheld. A dark cloud loomed large over Wanda Metropolitano, the club's state of the art new stadium.

Without permission to register new players until January 2018, Atleti were forced to make do with existing squad; which for most top sides is like entering a boxing ring with one arm tied behind back.

Misfiring strikers



Another significant problem for Simeone is in attack. His strikers are inept. Atletico's defence hasn't been great; however, the impotence of the men tasked with producing up front is the greater worry. It is the chief reason why Los Rojiblancos face Champions League elimination with two games to play.

Atleti possess renowned strikers: Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, Fernando Torres, Kevin Gameiro, and the hyper-active Luciano Vietto. But despite that, the team's attacking prowess has dropped ostensibly.
Although Vietto offers endless running and tricks, it's become apparent that he isn't the striker to carry his side through difficult games. Neither is Correa. Then there's Gameiro, a cheap alternative to better strikers on Simeone's wish list, which included Edinson Cavani, Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata, and Alexandre Lacazette. Now onto the club's two most recognised frontmen. Torres is well past his prime. And Griezmann cuts a disinterested figure nowadays; perhaps the Frenchman can't wait to jump ship.

It leaves Atletico Madrid with a misfiring frontline, praying for January to come quickly. Two new recruits, Diego Costa and Vitolo, can then be registered. Atletico's season may have already run its course by that time though.

Injury woes



Atleti's fortunes haven't been helped by injuries to key players. Koke and Yannick Carrasco have missed nine games between them this season, and a return date is still unknown. Koke's workaholic style, similar to Chelsea's N'Golo Kante, is almost irreplaceable.
The cause of Diego Simeone's headache isn't over. In fact, it could just be the beginning as problems aplenty remain. Atletico Madrid can't wait for the new year when fresh faces arrive to boost the underperforming squad.
Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.


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