A first defeat of the season doesn’t normally signal panic stations. It is the manner in which the blaugrana lost this one as well as in Lisbon that will weigh heavily against Ronald Koeman. Let’s see, a 4-5-1 formation had Barca playing like the Barca of old in the opening stages of the first half dominating the ball. Atleti coach Simeone then had Lemar drop into midfield forcing Barca to play wide.
The away side had no real great wingers this affected them a lot. They also don’t have real man markers in their team. Luis Suarez exploited this , finding space and setting up Lemar for the opener. The out of sorts Memphis Depay lost the ball just before half time sparking the counter that led to Los Colchoneros’s second goal. That man again Lemar finding Suarez who duly bit the hand that used to feed him.
It was not all gloomy for Barca, they had 79 percent ball possession and outpassed Atleti by 2 to 1 ratio. The passes however were not penetrative at all. Lively sub Ansu Fati was competently dealt with in the second half. No team is more adept at playing without the ball like Atleti. Joao Felix has taken time but he is becoming a key part of Atletico’s attacking strength. A real coup for Barcelona was their ability to keep Coutinho’s services given their financial position. The Brazilian looked most likely to score but didn’t have the accuracy in his shots.