Atletico Madrid eyeing golden season at the top of the summit

Atletico Madrid may struggle to compete for the La Liga title this season, but Diego Simeone has built a side capable of mixing it with anyone they cross paths with. With two cup competitions remaining, the ingredients are there for an historic season.

We’re entering the business end of the campaign, the period of two to three months where titles are decided and legends are forged into each club’s personal Mount Rushmore. It’s a mountain that Simeone is already on, and Antoine Griezmann is having himself carved onto, but there’s nothing he would like more than to crown it with a Champions League title.

Naturally, the chances are they do not win it, but there are sufficient ingredients present to make it possible. While Liverpool fans get their Carabao Cup Final Tickets, they will not be able to think about success in Europe’s premier competition. Out of the picture, there are few of the unbeatable beasts in the competition that have traditionally conditioned their chances in recent years.

Reigning champions Manchester City are naturally favourites, but ultimately are looking to do something that only one other side has done in history. And Simeone has proven he has Carlo Ancelotti’s number this season.

Beyond that, there are no teams that should strike a dark level of pessimism into the Metropolitano crowd. Many have tipped Inter as the dark horses to go one better this season, but Los Rojiblancos were well in the game against the Nerazzurri in Milan, and by no means should overturning a one-goal deficit be seen as mission impossible.

Outside of Inter, City and Real Madrid, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain posture as prime candidates to lift the title, but they too are beatable over two legs. Ultimately, going deep in Europe will be uncharted territory for Mikel Arteta at Arsenal, and few of their stars have experienced a deep run. PSG and Luis Enrique do have plenty of experience in Europe, but the Asturian is building a new side, and just whenever their collapses seem more distant in the memory, they appear to strike again.

Ironically for Simeone, it is his defence that will likely be the biggest obstacle to their success, with goals leaking in away from home. If he can mould together a solid unit, and rely on the best form of Jan Oblak for around six weeks, then Atletico Madrid have a realistic shot at getting to Wembley.

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