Luis Suarez was the decisive player for Atletico Madrid last season as they won La Liga. The Uruguayan scored 21 goals for Los Rojiblancos and brought a real grit, drive and hunger to Atletico’s dressing room. But right now, the veteran marksman is living his worst moment since joining the club from Barcelona, note Marca.
He was taken off before the hour mark against Sevilla at the Sanchez-Pizjuan last night, and reacted furiously to the decision. Atletico went on to lose the game 2-1, a real blow to their already slim hopes of retaining the league title. His reaction isn’t really a problem – that’s just part and parcel of the 35-year-old’s competitive character. But all is not well with him.
Suarez hasn’t scored a goal in La Liga for five consecutive games, and that’s a real problem when you consider that his age and physical condition limits his contribution to general play. Scoring goals is what he’s at Atletico for, so when he’s not able to do that frustrations are always going to boil over. Suarez lives for goals.
There’s also the issue of his future. Suarez is determined to make it to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – if Uruguay, who are struggling throughout qualification, can make it, of course. But Atletico won’t renew his soon-to-expire deal until the end of the season, to gauge then what kind of physical condition he’s in. With Matheus Cunha breathing down his neck, the pressure’s on.
Suarez is aging but he is lacking service. Joao Felix and Renan Lodi are young players that should be getting much more minutes but aren’t.
Apparently Simeone thinks that there are defensive weaknesses to their game? What happens when you are incapable of maintaining any presence in the offensive zone? Re-visit the 1st-half of the last Champion’s League game versus Porto to see how a team with a much smaller budget dominates Atletico.
4-4-2 has been their forte and when they had that wonderful first 20 games last year they were in that formation with Joao getting plenty of minutes and establishing chemistry with Suarez while offensive impetus was provided from the fullbacks Lodi and Trippier.
Hermoso provides nothing. Carrasco is a beast against lesser opponents who is simply awful against stronger competition. There are plenty of tools here but Simeone has to overcome his reluctance to play young, offensive-minded players.