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[av_heading heading=’Statistical analysis of Atletico Madrid growth in the last 3 years’ tag=’h1′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Mattia Fontana

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Two Champions League semi-finals in the last three years, consistent top spots in Liga and two eliminations inflicted on Barcelona, both in the quarter finals of the most important cup.

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Diego Simeone is keeping Atletico Madrid at an extremely high level, thanks to a football style characterised by highly intensive game play and attention to the defensive phase.

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However, as the two quarter final matches against the Catalan team showed, the 2015-16 edition of the Colchoneros managed to improve with respect to the past in terms of ball management as well. Once again becoming a loose cannon in Champions League and Liga.
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THE ATLETICO MADRID STATISTICS IN THE LAST THREE CHAMPIONS LEAGUES:

In brackets Atletico Madrid’s position in the ranking for the individual statistic
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SEASON AVERAGE SHOTS % BALL POSSESSION % COMPLETED PASSES
2015-16 16 (5) 50.4 (13) 81.4 (15)
2014-15 12.6 (15) 45.3 (25) 75.8 (27)
2013-14 13.9 (7) 46.3 (21) 76.6 (29)
SEASON AVERAGE DRIBBLING AVERAGE AERIAL DUELS WON AVERAGE SHOTS CONCEDED
2015-16 9.6 (16) 17.4 (2) 11.1 (24)
2014-15 9.9 (19) 24.6 (1) 11.5 (23)
2013-14 6.9 (21) 16.1 (4) 12.7 (18)
SEASON AVERAGE TACKLES AVERAGE INTERCEPTIONS AVERAGE OFFSIDES
2015-16 24.6 (3) 19 (13) 1.7 (25)
2014-15 22.3 (8) 12.6 (30) 2.2 (19)
2013-14 26.8 (1) 16.5 (11) 2.2 (19)

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Compared to past years, Atletico Madrid has increased ball possession and pass completions by about 5%, on average building up to almost 4 shots on goal more per match.

However, the manoeuvre is still managed in maximum respect of tactical assignments and the group, as confirmed by the dribbling stats, which have stayed low.

The defensive phase, however, is the same as before. In fact, the Colchoneros have conceded one goal less than last year and two less than the 2013-14 season.
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DEFENSIVE PHASE:
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Messi struggled to find space in the return match at the Calderòn.

The reason is easily explained by Atletico’s defensive formation, which lines up with the backs at the edge of their own penalty area and the midfielders just a bit farther forward.

This is great classic Simeone game play that lets the team reduce the distances between the ranks when they are suffering the most. This is an extremely balanced strategy that never results in passive play, given the defenders and midfielders’ constant efforts to recover the ball in the tight spaces.
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PRESSING:
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Everything stems from the movement of the forwards during the phases when they do not have possession of the ball.

Against Barcelona, Griezmann and Ferreira Carrasco they pressed the rival who had the ball constantly, also helping in the recovery phase.

That means they need strikers who are very willing to sacrifice. Griezmann also manages to combine it with extraordinary offensive skill. The true leap in quality of this Atletico team.
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CONCLUSIONS:
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Compared to the two previous European campaigns, Simeone has managed to maintain a unique defensive structure at this level, associating it with higher quality ball possession management and offensive performance;

The result is a team in the semi-finals with 7 clean sheets out of 10 matches played, but with a renewed series of offensive options and a higher quality of game play, especially in ball control;

Cholo’s efforts in training the forwards have been a determining factor, useful as always in phases of non-possession and pressing, but more brilliant and incisive in front of the goal. An example? Griezmann’s fantastic season.
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Mattia Fontana
Mattia Fontana, Eurosport Italia editor.
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