Diego Simeone has been Atletico’s coach since 2011, low-risk style of play based in the 4-4-2 formation. The transition into this shape came in as soon as Simeone took over. Previously, Atletico played in a 4-2-3-1. Under Simeone, the team’s plan was clear, they played on the counter, quick attacks and with a strong low-block.

This style was continued in the following seasons and Simeone strengthened his defensive blocks by playing with natural central players in wide positions, the centre-backs not taking risks staying central and the midfield players with the task of tracking back deeper runs. This is how Simeone used the hard work of his players to make it as effective as possible.

In 2020 Simeone decides to start the change to the 3-5-2 shape. However, it’s important to understand that the core of these defensive tactics stayed the same. Against teams that are strong in possession or have quick players who are able to create chances, you can see Simeone refer to a 6-at-the-back system. One midfielder drops beside the centre-backs, forming with four centre-backs and two wing-backs.

In attack, any discussion about Diego Simeone’s tactical evolution has to start with Mario Hermoso, playing as an inverted midfielder in possession to prevent against the counter, being an excellent passer, breaking lines. This solved the problem Rodri and Partey left behind when they moved to England.

Griezmann’s role being a player with a lot of mobility, dropping down to receive, drifting wide, generating superiorities everywhere to progress the ball. In addition, he’s one of the best defensive forwards in world football. The diversity of forwards, players like Depay playing with his back to goal and many finishing resources, mixing it with players like Morata who attack space, so that attacking transitions continue to be a strength of the team.

The back 3 allows Simeone not to play with a defensive midfielder, being able to have more possession and control the pace of the game, in addition to playing with wing-backs, being a wider team that generates more chances on the flanks.

This season Simeone has taken all this to another level. More possession with short passes before throwing a long ball, being a more patient team.

Simeone will seek to win the league with this change of style to once again be one of the best coaches in the world.

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