Barcelona are no longer unbeaten in La Liga this season and will finish the weekend in ninth place thanks to a 2-0 loss to Atlético Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano. Barça were second-best in every department for 90 minutes, and Ronald Koeman was once again destroyed by his opposing manager as Barça’s crisis gets worse.
Barça made a solid start to the game, with a narrow 4-2-3-1 formation with five midfielders that gave them the advantage in midfield and exploited some gaps in the Atlético defense. But Diego Simeone quickly spotted the problem and made a formation change just 12 minutes in, with Thomas Lemar leaving the attack and joining the midfield.
Atlético instantly changed the game in their favor, denying spaces centrally and forcing Barça to attack down the wings without any wingers. Naturally the Blaugrana struggled, and Atlético started to dominate and got two goals to show for it.
The first came in a complete breakdown of Barça’s individual marking, and Luis Suárez was all alone in the middle to pick up a perfect pass to find Thomas Lemar for the opener. And just before halftime, Memphis Depay lost a ball that launched an Atlético counter and Lemar returned the favor, giving Suárez the ball in acres of space and the Uruguayan found the back of the net against his former club.
At halftime, Barça were being thoroughly outcoached and outplayed by Simeone’s Atlético and things promised to get even worse in the second half.
The second half was a painful watch. Sergi Roberto came on at halftime and did absolutely nothing, and Barça passed the ball to death without creating any dangerous chances. Barça only looked somewhat good in attack for a brief period after the introduction of Ansu Fati, but Atlético quickly stopped the Prince’s momentum and simply cruised to end of the game without going through any trouble.
The final whistle came to end another depressing loss for a Barça team that looks lost and disorganized. But the man responsible for that is going to stick around, according to the president. So prepare, Barça fans. More of this is coming.
Atlético: Oblak; Savic, Giménez, Hermoso (Felipe 81’); Llorente, De Paul (Trippier 46’), Koke, Lemar, Carrasco (Lodi 81’); Suárez (Griezmann 72’), Félix (Correa 72’)
Goals: Lemar (23’), Suárez (44’)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza (L. De Jong 75’), Araujo, Piqué, Dest (Lenglet 86’); Nico (Roberto 46’), Busquets; De Jong, Coutinho (Fati 64’), Gavi (75’); Memphis