Prized, lethal and ruthless are three adjectives which spring to mind when asked to describe Falcao. Is he world-class? Absolutely, definitely, positively, ridiculously. Take a look at this stat for this season: he scores with roughly every third shot. Falcao provides so much for Atletico Madrid that Gerard Pique recently described the side as ‘Falcao’s team.’
However, whilst the strength which the Colombian provides his side with cannot be undervalued, it would be unfair - and arguably stupid - to flippantly disregard the talent which resides within the bowels of the Vicente Calderon stadium as nothing more than servants hurrying to meet their striker’s needs.
Manager Diego Simeone has overseen a revolution in Madrid following his arrival last season. There are cautious yet hopeful murmurs that his team are becoming challengers to the Barcelona/Real Madrid monopoly and, after their Europa League success last year, they are becoming ever more feared. Simeone once said a manager must ‘pay close attention to the characteristics his team have, and make the most of those’ in order to achieve glory. Atlético’s strengths lie in the pace with which they can attack, and therefore Simeone has created a counter-attacking outfit, a more direct team than the traditional La Liga heavyweights, which utilises the prowess of the wingers and full-backs to create chances.
Raul Garcia, Arda Turan, Adrian and Cristian Rodriguez have all been utilised effectively in the wide midfield role so far this season. As the team breaks down the wings, they are used as a prime outlet in order to feed Falcao the chances which he so efficiently devours. In addition to this, they can also drift inside in order to create more outlets through the centre of the park as well as creating room for the roaming full-backs.
Juanfran and Filipe Luis are the men who benefit from this; they provide extra width and overload the opposition’s defence by interacting with the aforementioned players and are effectively the team’s wingers when Garcia et al take up a more central role. Juanfran has this season directly created three goals and been pivotal in adding to the attacking dimensions of his team, whilst Filipe Luis also has an important part to play.
Two holding midfielders usually operate in front of the defence. Call them what you will – anchormen, water-carriers – they are the guardians of the defence, employed to protect the middle of the park. By breaking down any growing attacks they give Atletico greater security, and because of that these two players (usually Mario Suarez and Gabi) launch their team’s counter-attacks as the men who most often regain possession of the ball.
Add to this equation the likes of Diego Costa, Koke, Emre and Tiago, as well as the central defensive partnership of Miranda and Diego Godin, and your sum is one of incomprehensible quality.
Atlético are a vicious team; they are merciless, refusing to allow any team a reprise when they make a mistake. These characteristics have been forged by the players named above and make them formidable opponents.
Yes, Falcao is the focal point of the Atlético Madrid team, the movie-star of the squad if you will, but that does not mean that his supporting actors should be ignored or devalued. Without the help of the players surrounding him, the striker would be unable to do what makes him so great.
A successful team is not created by just one player. For Atlético to have had success on the European stage, to be challenging as they currently are in La Liga, they cannot simply rely on just one player. Last night, they overcame Getafe 2-0, neither of the goals coming courtesy of their Colombian weapon. Indeed, Falcao played very well, but the fact he did not get on the scoresheet and Los Colchoneros were still able to earn three points speak volumes for my argument.
Although Falcao has cast his team-mates into a light shadow, they should still be – and are - very much visible.
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- nikdieta said: It’s a great piece about a good football team, the only mistake I saw was the word “Columbian” Falcao is a Colombian, not a columbian, keep up the good work! Sincerely, me, a proud colombian :D
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