Simeone is stuck in a labyrinth of doubts before the multiple problems that Atlético has. Some certainties have become unknowns in a matter of months, and even weeks. For example, the role of Luis Suarez. The 9 is already not a title holder or indisputable for Cholo. In Riyadh, against Athletic, the coach chose to join in attack João Félix and Correa. The Uruguayan entered the second half (with 1-0), and later (with 1-2) Cunha did. The forward is Simeone’s first big dilemma.
The Argentine has always appreciated Suarez not only that he is a lethal footballer in the area, but his hierarchy, his character and his ability to intimidate. Even if he doesn’t score a goal, Simeone values that “he never leaves the game, he’s threatening”. But recently something has changed. Atleti is no longer Suárez and ten more. The team’s football is not helping the Uruguayan, who also has a hard time giving solutions to his own. And there are other options in the squad that also bring interesting things and that Simeone is thinking about.
Now Suárez has remained dry (a goal against Majadahonda in two months) and it is difficult for him to impose that hierarchy, in addition to the context of Atleti matches does not usually favor him. For example, against Athletic he jumped onto the field with the score in his favor and the team withdrawn, so he did not create danger or overwhelm the rival. Number 9 only made three passes since his entry in minute 71: a service to Carrasco from the left and the two center kicks after the goals conceded. If the Atleti does not push the rival, the charrúa suffers.
Strap, on the rise; João, intermittent and Cunha, waiting
A very different trend leads Strap, for example. In Riyadh it went from more to less, but the year has started in tune with two goals against Rayo and one against Villarreal from midfield. The eternal substitute, recently renewed, makes more merits than most (or that all) to be a starter. and it’s João Félix, bright to mice, but that has also been one of the ones that has added the most in recent weeks. With the low price of Suárez and the injury of Griezmann, it is time to punch the table for the Portuguese. Wedge, meanwhile, keeps adding, although it is the fifth option.
It is difficult to ensure who Atlético’s starting forward is and what it will be like in the coming months. Probably the last of Luis Suárez, who ends his contract in June and is already receiving proposals from other leagues. Simeone, thus, debates week after week between meritocracy, hierarchies, the circumstances of the rival and what injuries and sanctions allow him. Is a hot potato for the technician, who wants to be fair, although he has sometimes assumed that it has not been (especially with Correa), and he needs to find the best solution for Atleti to get out of the hole.