Each international break is time for Simeone to give his systems and tactical variations a turn in this complicated but productive start to the season. And during these two weeks without competition, Cholo can strive to promote a combination that was lethal in the last league game against Barcelona, since Lemar and João Félix have stayed in Madrid and have the return of the Champions League and the visit of Liverpool in their sights.
From the connection between the French and the Portuguese the two goals of the rojiblanco team were born to send Barcelona to the canvas, with Luis Suárez as a third part of the equation that, emulating the great Phil Jackson, we could call the formation of Simeone’s offensive triangle. Cholo sought to harm Barça with very fast transitions in attack and with João Félix as a capital piece, granting him ownership once his sanction in the league competition ended and after having been the first change to come back to Milan.
The last substitution at San Siro had been that of a Lemar that was already decisive in Italy with the penultimate pass of Griezmann’s goal and causing the penalty that Suárez converted to get three fundamental points. And back to eleven, he added a fantastic goal to overcome Ter Stegen and an assist of many carats to Suárez in a version of French that increasingly adds more relevance in the face of rival doors. If against Barça De Paul had started the game outlined to the left sector and Lemar to the right, after a few minutes of the meeting Cholo had the system changed, bringing the Frenchman closer to Carrasco and a João Félix with full freedom of movement and with a habitual taste to become strong in that left-handed sector where he can dribble towards his most skilled leg.
And with that concentration of talented players on the left, Atlético drove Mingueza, Araujo, Piqué, Nico or Busquets crazy, causing discussions within the Blaugrana team itself that did not know how to stop the bleeding. Carrasco finds Lemar from the left, who yields first inside the area for João Félix to try the shot by touching the post. Hermoso receives, looks inside for João Félix, who with a magical control of his back wins the space against Araujo and yields for a Suárez that finds with great quality Lemar’s uncheck between the back of the Uruguayan center-back, Nico and Mingueza. Golazo of the ’11’. Minutes later it is João Félix who first receives a pass from Carrasco from the left and it is left perfect when Suárez’s uncheck between Araujo and Piqué and he finishes touching the stick.
Again, just before half-time Lemar receives inside near his own area, looking for João Félix from behind, going down to receive to leave a huge hole behind Araujo, who is accompanying him. The Portuguese controls the ball, appreciates the Frenchman’s unchecking with a devilish speed and he gives the ball to a Suárez with complete calm in the definition and that at his second great opportunity he would not forgive. Two goals and three plays with very fast combinations between Lemar, João Félix and Suárez, who showed perfect harmony in the triangulation and win integers to become the offensive trident that tries to hurt Klopp’s Liverpool. In the second half it was the Portuguese who failed to score the third after a great drop from the Uruguayan falling to the left profile.
Although Simeone has many variants. Griezmann has to add gallons, after returning to leave a great version with France and retaliate with his goal in Milan that gives him wings to mentally free himself. The ‘8’ has his ideal position behind the striker, with that freedom of movement that João Félix showed. But they do not have to be incompatible. What’s more, the presence of Benzema and Mbappé in France provokes a version of Griezmann as a football generator closer to the center of the field in a facet that Simeone has been looking for for a long time. And although the return to the French club has reduced the role of Correa, doomed to add minutes on the right wing after his spectacular last months up front, the Argentine can also point to that triangle as a second striker or as the most advanced piece, thanks to his good back game to stop his face or to stop turn with maneuvers that dislodge any defender.
Lemar, João Félix and Suárez understand each other, They managed the times against Barça to perfection and found a way to harm the rival by taking advantage of it and without showing mercy in a very good first half of Atlético. With Carrasco always adding on the left, Simeone has a trident that combines the speed and ability to break lines of Lemar with the quality and vision of João Félix and the voracity of Suárez near the area. An offensive triangle of a high level and with many pieces to exchange, but that has won points after its great exhibition against Barcelona.