Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Atletico players have been a solid bunch in the defence.
Atletico players have been a solid bunch in the defence.

Defence helps push the charge of Falcao and Atletico Madrid

Falcao's goals make news, but Atletico have conceded fewer goals than Barcelona and scored more than Real Madrid.

Radamel Falcao deserves the headlines and superlatives, but Atletico Madrid's stunning start to the season is about more than the Colombian star.

Diego Simeone, the coach, likes his teams to play like he did. He was a tough midfielder who hassled opponents and didn't give them time on the ball.

He has successfully got Atletico replicating his style while instilling an indomitable belief lacking in generations of previous sides at the Vicente Calderon. Atletico always had enough talent in their teams, but seldom enough belief to excel in the league.

The first thing Simeone did when he arrived last December was to organise the defence. The ensuing stability means Diego Godin and Miranda have been two ever present defenders, while Juanfran, Filipe and the goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois have missed just one game this season.

The stability of a settled back four provides the bedrock for attacking stars like Falcao to excel. Falcao's goals make news, but Atletico have conceded fewer goals than Barcelona and scored more than Real Madrid.

In beating Osasuna at the weekend, Atletico set a club record of 23 games unbeaten. They have won their past 12 games in all competitions and head the table alongside Barcelona with eight wins and a draw from their nine league games.

They are still eight points clear of Real Madrid, whom they meet at the start of December. Atletico have a terrible record in derbies. Is that about to change?

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Mitchell Johnson of Kings XI Punjab bowling in the IPL match against Rajasthan Royals at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah on Sunday. Pawan Singh / The National / April 20, 2014

IPL Day 5 action in Sharjah

Images from the fifth day of the Indian Premier League in the UAE on Sunday, with Kings XI Punjab beating Rajasthan Royals by seven wickets with eight balls remaining.

 Raheem Sterling of Liverpool scores the opening goal against Norwich City on Sunday at Carrow Road. Michael Regan / Getty Images / April 20, 2014

In pictures: Sterling, Suarez inch Liverpool closer to title

Raheem Sterling, with a double, and Luis Suarez accounted for all three goals in Liverpool’s 3-2 away win over Norwich City on Sunday, leaving them five points up on Chelsea with three left to play.

 Manager Matt Williams benching star Bryce Harper, above, may have sent the wrong message to the rest of the Washington Nationals. Mike Ehrmann / AFP

Benching Harper sends Williams’s right message the wrong way

Matt Williams, the Washington Nationals manager, made the biggest move of his 18-game tenure on Saturday, benching rising star Bryce Harper for his “lack of hustle”.

 Arsenal's Lukas Podolski celebrates his second goal during the Premier League match against Hull City at The KC Stadium in Hull, England, on April 20, 2014. Lynne Cameron / AP Photo

Arsenal maintain push for top-four finish with victory at Hull

Hull could end up in Europe regardless of the FA Cup final result if Arsenal finish in the Uefa Champions League places

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Stanislas Wawrinka turned away fellow Swiss Roger Federer with a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 victory at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 20, 2014. Julian Finney / Getty Images

Wawrinka backhands Federer aside at Monte Carlo Masters

Stanislas Wawrinka won the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time after rallying to beat Roger Federer 4-6, 7-6, 6-2 in a rare all-Swiss final.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National