The ten moments that have marked the Atlético League

Atlético finished their qualification for the next Champions League on the penultimate day and with their draw against Real Sociedad they achieved return to finish in the top three ranked for the eighth consecutive season, all complete with Simeone on the bench. However, this has been one of the most complicated campaigns for Cholo, perhaps the most difficult, before achieving the objective. A template with many new faces that experienced constant ups and downs during the season until completing his transition after the break due to coronavirus and now he looks forward to the Champions League.

Blazing start to leadership

Simeone warned that a year of transition was coming from before the season began, but no one seemed to believe it when Atlético was on the third day as leader. The only LaLiga team capable of add the first nine points of the flip, with a miracle against Eibar on the third day after starting losing 0-2 to finish going back in the last moments with a goal from Thomas that placed 3-2. Before João Félix had premiered and had made his second goal, Vitolo, after the achieved against Leganés to add the victory in Butarque. A total of three of the team's five goals scored by substitutes, a keynote from the bench that would be repeated throughout the competition and would be strengthened after confinement. The first of LaLiga did it Morata with a header to defeat Getafe.

Varapalo at the Reale Arena

Atlético appeared at the match against Real Sociedad as leader and with four points ahead of Real Madrid and five against Barcelona. Two teams that had started with more punctures than ever and with an Atlético who was not noticing the casualties of the summer with their new faces very adapted … until they got home from Real Sociedad. After a first half with many offensive players (Lemar, Vitolo, João Félix and Costa starting) but without shots on goal, the Basque team took control of the game and in three minutes they scored the two goals that broke the balance, the second of which was achieved by Monreal knocking out Oblak with his shot and leaving Atleti without his goal to finish the meeting. A hard blow and a first defeat where deficiencies began to be seen to generate danger in the rival goal.

Goalscorer drought

After that first unmarked game, Atlético began to go into a spin and to have a chimera on each arrival to the rival area. Many first parts without finishing and in the second, despite sparking, the lack of definition prevented adding the three points. Despite the 0-2 victory in Mallorca, Atlético chained four of the five games between matchday four and eight without scoring. Although he did not lose against Celta, in the derby against Real Madrid, nor against Valladolid, adding two goals in five games took the lead away and they started a draw streak that was extended against Valencia (1-1).

Penalty in Seville

Atlético visited Sánchez Pizjuán on matchday twelve against a direct rival for the Champions places. The rojiblanco team arrived at the appointment after adding five draws in the previous seven days, equaled 20 points with Sevilla in third place (three from Barça, leader). And again, Atlético jumped onto the pitch in a plumb first half where above Sevilla went ahead with a goal from Mudo Vázquez. However the entry of Diego Costa and Arias at the break they changed the face of the team. Costa himself scored the tying goal, but the VAR canceled it for offside. Yes, the goal of Morata assisted by Arias would go up to the scoreboard. But when Atlético could come back and capture what they were showing in the game, where it was a gale, Diego Costa missed the penalty that would have been the 1-2. One of the team's ills, which had already seen Morata fail against Getafe on the first day and would suffer it again with Trippier against Lokomotiv, prevented the victory and rejoined LaLiga again. The match ended in a controversial play where Koundé prevented the ball from crossing the line between the hand and the body without signaling anything.

Definitive defeat against Barça

Atlético practically said their final goodbye to compete in the League on matchday 15. Barcelona visited the Wanda Metropolitano with a four point advantage over the rojiblancos, that in the case of winning they pressed all the top positions. El Cholo prepared a daring approach, looking to bite Barça to win in the League against a team that has not been defeated since 2010 in the competition. Hermoso had a golden chance but crashed with Ter Stegen. Same case as Morata, who was seen again with the German wall. After a fantastic first half but without goals, in the second, where Atlético asked for Piqué's expulsion, he opted for the Blaugrana side thanks to a great goal from Messi. A defeat that caused Barcelona to leave at seven points.

Athletic Shield / Flag

Lesions are primed with the template

Atlético began to chain injuries to their squad until they had to sweat a fat drop to complete the calls. Without the central holders, with Savic and Giménez out, with Costa and Morata Alternating physical problems, Simeone ran out of the variants that had given him so much revenue from the bench, going to Atleti B to save the charts. In the defeat against Eibar (2-0) the bench was made up of Adán, Hermoso, Lodi, Llorente, Clemente, Riquelme and Camello, all the offensive players (Llorente was playing further back then) of the second team. Without Koke, one of the most painful injuries to the team, Costa or Lemar available. Some ills that dragged on until going to the Santiago Bernabéu (1-0) on matchday 22 without Trippier, Arias, Giménez, Koke, João Félix, Diego Costa or Herrera.

A victory out to breathe

One of Atlético's great ills throughout the season was their meetings as visitors. After winning at Butarque in his first outing and winning again in Mallorca in his third away game, he chained five consecutive draws away from Wanda Metropolitano. Until reaching Benito Villamarín, where the entry of Correa changed the game to return the three visitor points. The Argentine scored a minute after entering the field dribbling Joel and assisted Morata to put the 0-2 against Betis. In the last second Bartra would cut distances. A visitor victory in the middle of a winning streak (with the Champions and Super Cup five chained) that was finally a mirage, since Atlético would not win again until after the pandemic in El Sadar. Five other away games with the inability to emerge victorious.

Return from confinement

Atlético came to a halt due to the coronavirus health crisis in full euphoria after Eliminate Liverpool in the Champions League in a magical way, but occupying sixth place in the League after drawing against Espanyol and Sevilla. With Barça, Madrid, Seville, Getafe and Real Sociedad ahead in the table, the option to terminate the League with Atlético outside the maximum European competition was reached from LaLiga. However, the health guarantee allowed to resume the competition and Simeone returned with a clear objective, to make the most of his squad, rotating before the number of games in a row, to grab the Champions positions as soon as possible.

The best level of the season

And with more than five rotations between matches, Atlético reached cruising speed. A draw at San Mamés gave way to a streak of four consecutive victories (Osasuna, Valladolid, Levante and Alavés), until taking third place on matchday 30 after defeating the pucelano team and expanding distances with the punctures especially from Getafe and Real Sociedad. But in addition to the streak, several players until the secondary moment began to step forward. The best version of the Savic, Giménez and Arias course back and the Llorente and Carrasco boom in attack. The '14' went from one point resource to the fittest player up front and the Belgian showed why Cholo had guaranteed his return in January. Diego Costa was also recovering sensations.

Champions certified

Thus, with the results accompanying the good feelings on the return to competition, Atlético achieved the mathematical classification for the Champions League with their victory against Betis on matchday 36. A triumph of merit, after two goals canceled by the VAR and playing 40 minutes with a footballer less for the direct red of Hermoso. The victory culminated in a goal by Costa taking advantage of a fantastic ball from Carrasco after a foul that he himself had caused and Atlético secured the goal with a two-day lead. Something that seemed very complicated before the break, was finally achieved comfortably, with eight consecutive days installed in the position. The victory in Getafe with goals from Llorente and Thomas allowed a draw against Real Sociedad to serve to close third place, the position that corresponds by budget and that supposes an economic reinforcement. Now Atlético can focus on the Champions League after achieving what they worked so hard during the break and with a streak of 18 straight games without losing and scoring in all of them, something that choked for more than half a season.