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Diego Simeone Defensive Masterpiece - Flexible Systems

Simeone's team have been one of the most consistent sides over the past decade, not only on form but on system and style of play. This season, Atletico have been playing some fantastic football, with all of their top stars in full flow and introducing 3 at the back system. Ateltico currently sit top of the table, 5 points ahead and with a game in hand. They have won 18 games from their 24 in La Liga whilst having the best defence so far, only 16 conceded. Here is a Tactical Analysis of Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid in 2020-21.


The Argentine manager has shown a high degree of fluidity with his formations this season. Atletico have operated in their usual 4-4-2 formation, but that has changed to a 3-5-2, 3-4-1-2, and a 3-4-2-1 formation. With the capability of players like Trippier, Lodi, and Carrasco to operate as wing-backs, Simeone might see the 3-5-2 as a long-term plan for his side. Before naming all of their key men, it is important to note that Atletico’s players have remained extraordinarily versatile as always, contributing to Simeone’s flexibility with his formations. Atletico so far this season have been better with possession on the ball, but don’t favour a slow build-up. Most of their goals are scored with only a few touches or passes on the ball but they are very capable of playing out from the back with players like Mario Hermoso in defence and Koke in central midfield. The two players are key. Mario Hermoso has the ability of a ball-playing-defender. He can bring the ball out, look for a risky pass, and when Atletico are in possession, he often stretches play and shifts out wide.

Koke is the playmaker in the side and receives the most touches of the ball (1618) and has completed the most passes (1265). When the ball is with the Atletico defence, Koke would be the player to drop deeper in order to receive the ball and to move forward, another player would not operate on the same line as Koke.