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Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla Complete Review
Introduction (formations, tactics, and problems)-

Today both teams used formations very similar to the 4-4-2 but distinctly different. Sevilla’s version was probably the closest to the 4-4-2. It was more of a 4-2-2-2 with Perroti and Navas used as more advanced wingers. Atletico Madrid used what can only be described as a 4-4-2/ 4-3-3 hybrid. They had Koke and Garcia ascarilleros and functioning deeper as a Defensive Mid they had Tiago. Further up, they had Reyes as an advanced winger who cut inside. Even though these changes seem small they had a huge effect on who controlled what areas on the field.

Sevilla and Atletico came into the game with the ambition to attack they both had different ways of going about it. Sevilla focused more on getting the balls to their wingers to create; while Atletico focused hitting ball down the middle for their attacking players to run onto.

A major problem that both teams faced was the narrow pitch. It meant that both team would need to find another way of getting crosses in, because the chances of a winger going down the byline and getting a cross in was slim to none. Furthermore it threatened to ruin any good wide play from each team.

Each team allowed to play to their own strengths-

Ateltico-
Ateltico had the central mid field advantage because they outnumbered Sevilla in that area. Furthermore Atletico had very fast attacking players such as Reyes and Aguero. Since Sevilla didn’t close down Atletico well enough throughout the match Ateltico’s midfield constantly found time and space to pick out Aguero who was threatening from in behind. Although Aguero and the Atletico deep midfield seemed to be Sevilla’s main threat throughout the match; it was a long pass from Lopez found that Reyes for the goal that seemed to be coming for the whole match.
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LkBOO4zfv0&feature=player_detailpage#t=180s )

Sevilla-
It should have been easy for Atletico to negate Sevilla’s wingers today. They had the pitch advantage which favored their approach passing approach; also the pitch meant that it would be a struggle for Sevilla to play down the flanks. With one false move the Atletico manager gave Sevilla the advantage on the flanks again. He used an extremely narrow team, especially in defense. This reopened the space on the flanks and made it easy for Sevilla to find Navas and Perroti (who threatened all game).
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qCu1pxHdGk&feature=player_detailpage#t=136s ) Atletico Back 4 plus extra midfield player are all located in the penalty box giving Jesus Navas Plenty of time and space to play a ball across for the goal.
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LkBOO4zfv0&feature=player_detailpage#t=133s ) Perroti is giving an awful amount of space to deliver a cross. (see figure 1 also) Both of Sevilla’s wide players combine to create this goal. The most damming piece of evidence that Quique Sanchez Flores got it wrong though was the fact that both Sevilla goals were set up by their wingers.

Defensive Problems-

Sevilla’s Tilting defense-

Early on in the game Sevilla was titling their defense toward the side that Atheltico Madrid attacked on. This was often a problem because the other flank was left opened and it made it easy for Atheltico to exploit the space on the other side by just moving the ball to the other flank. On two occasions Ujfalusi was left open on the right flank but failed to capitalize on the space allotted to him.” (If you want to see this check out the 15th minute of the match or look at figure 2) If these chances were given to another player though the game might have been over as a contest. Later on in the game Sevilla managed to correct it Ujfalusi attacking influence was reduced.

Why both teams needed to use DMs-

If Atheltico used a wide back line and than 2 dm to cover up the minimal spaces in the middle they could of easily stopped Sevilla’s wingers. Instead they often had a narrow back 4 which gave space to Navas and Perroti. They attempted to have Tiago drop back into the back 4 so their fbs could close down Sevilla’s wingers but this left their back line bare and with no protection from runs from midfield. (See Rakatic goal) This is why teams try to stagger their defense with DMs, and why it is so vital that your midfielders track back. To Quique Sanchez credit he did solve the problem late on by having 2 cms stay back and help protect the defense but it was too little too late. Sevilla could have suffocated Aguero and stopped Ateltico’s main method of attack by using a pair of DMS. Atheltico were always threatening to get in behind Sevilla whether it was through the channels or with a simple direct pass to Aguero they always look like they were going to penetrate Sevilla’s backline. By using 2 DMS they could of easily intercepted most of the passes directed at Aguero thus negating his threat from in behind. In addition by using 2 DMS Sevilla could of easily covered the spaces in between the Center back and the fbs and stopped the passes into the channels.

Both teams find the solution to the crossing problem-

Today the Narrow pitch made the traditional method of getting crosses into the box unlikely. Sevilla and Atletico Madrid responded by crossing early instead of trying to go down the byline and deliver a cross. This was a pretty a simple solution to a challenging problem, and the first two goals were created via this method.

Conclusion
This was an entertaining game filled with tactical mistakes, but that’s why we love football. If managers weren’t so bad tactically the goal per game ratios would be low, and football wouldn’t be as entertaining. The second goals from each team were very preventable and obvious from the start. I’m still surprised at the fact that a lot of managers don’t make changes until it’s too late. Ernst Happel, probably 1 of the 2 only true tactical geniuses the game has ever seen, used to make changes early in the game if he thought something would happen.

( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Happel second greatest manager to have ever lived)

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