The rojiblancos face what may be the most important month on their way to reaching the League and Champions League.
As of today, Atlético de Madrid faces a crucial month for its aspirations, both in the League and in the Champions League. Eight games, one every four days, until next March 21. Just as it sounds. Without anesthesia. And what happens in that stretch of the calendar depends, to a large extent, the season of a team that has had to struggle, not only against the overload of matches, but also against the casualties, predictable in many cases, given the planning to which the pandemic has forced.
The first touchstone is Levante. There is not much to add to what has already been commented on a team that was able, in the Ciutat de València, to tie the leader and score a goal against a Atlético de Madrid, which was called “the wall of Europe” . A deserved nickname, without a doubt: in the first 14 league games, Oblak had only conceded 5 goals. Ten days later he has 14 goals against.
After the match against Levante, it will be the turn of the Champions League first leg against Chelsea. Then it will be time to dispute the three points against Villarreal and, later, it will be called a rebutto because it will be time for the derby. Atlético-Real Madrid takes on a special dimension this season, as the distance between the two is not so significant that either of the two rivals relax.
Athletic and Getafe will be the next two rivals before traveling to Bucharest for the return leg against Chelsea. Alavés will remain at home.
INJURED AND INFECTED, THE GREAT LACRA
Since the league started, Simeone has not been able to count on his entire squad. Either due to injury, or due to covid infection, the reality is that he has not had all his troops at his disposal at any time of the season.
There have been 16 injuries that, although the figure is far from the 38 of Real Madrid or the 25 of Barça, it is not negligible. The number of infected has been 8 since September, not counting the coach himself.
Even with such a panorama, Atlético de Madrid has been able to maintain its leadership in the League and continue its path in the Champions League without major shocks and without raising doubts about its regularity, which, for Madrid or Barcelona, have been a constant. The team has not only known how to adapt to the circumstances, but has responded in a more than remarkable way to all the changes to which the sum of difficulties has led it. And the response has been so positive that, beyond staying ahead of the classification at six points and with one game less than its immediate pursuer, the coaching staff has been able to recover players who seemed definitely discarded, until just a few months ago. .
So next month could be decisive, yes. But at the club, and by extension in the squad, it is considered that there is not much to think about in the medium term and that the objective is to go, how could it be otherwise … match by match.