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Atlético Madrid, the most solid defense of Europe analyzed

15 May 2018
Atlético Madrid has the opportunity to win the Europa League for the third time in history. Whereas Atleti are record-holders in playing the Champions League finals most often without winning (three times), both Europa League finals the team ever played were won. In 2010 Atleti won the tournament for the first time, led by Quique Sánchez Flores. Fulham were defeated in the finals by 2-1. The second manager winning a European prize with Atlético Madrid was Diego Simeone. In 2012 Athletic Bilbao were defeated by 3-0. With a clean sheet in the final of 2012 and one conceded goal in 2010, Remiqz took a closer look at the most solid back line in Europe.






Most solid back line in La Liga

The team concedes only incidentally more than one goal in a game. In La Liga, Atlético Madrid have been the team conceding the least amount of goals for three years in a row with respectively 18, 27 and 20 goals conceded. In this year’s Europa League campaign only four goals were conceded in eight games. Only against Copenhagen (1-1), Lokomotiv Moscow (1-5), Sporting CP (1-0) and Arsenal (1-1) the highly-valued goalkeeper Jan Oblak was beaten. Atlético Madrid are famous for the fact that the entire team participates in defending, inspired by their fanatic manager Simeone.

On the other hand, Atleti’s opponents produce on average 13 goal attempts per game ranking the team in 28th place in this season’s Europa League. Turning to other defensive indicators, Atlético Madrid rank 16th in terms of ball interceptions and fifth when it comes to successful tackles. These are remarkable statistics for the team conceding the least goals in the previous seasons. This is an additional reason to take a closer look at goalkeeper Jan Oblak.

Oblak: savior of Atleti in the quarter- and semi-finals

In the games against Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, Sporting CP and Arsenal, Atleti conceded 3.75 shots on targets per game and the most remarkable of these are the away games against Sporting CP and Arsenal. In these games, Oblak had to process seven and eight shots on target respectively. Both games resulted in one conceded goal implying that Oblak saved his team a reasonable amount of times in the quarter- and semi-finals.

Based on EPI, Oblak belongs to the top 10 of the best keepers in the world. Comparing Oblak to Yohann Pelé, the goalkeeper of Marseille that will most likely play tonight, we observe an immense difference in quality as Pelé ranks only 127th in this ranking. In case Atlético Madrid manage to win their third Europa League final, it is probably due to their solid defense.