“This is my rifle, there are many others but this is mine. My rifle is my best friend and it is my life, I have to master it just as I dominate myself. Without me, my rifle does not work, without my rifle I do not serve either ”. The fragment corresponds to La Chaqueta Metalica, but it could well be useful to illustrate Simeone’s thoughts about Diego Costa.
The coach continues to believe in being able to recover his fetish striker, but since his return to the Metropolitan, the Spanish-Brazilian has not responded with goals or with regularity in his game. In fact, he is now at the worst moment of his career.
It was crazy, perhaps impossible for most elite strikers, but in the past Atletico de Madrid could send Diego Costa against the world and trust that his self-reliance would give him the victory. It didn’t matter the rival, the square or the moment. Lizard’s was going to be a nightmare for the rival behind if it showed a small bit of doubt, made a child fault or gave him space. The ‘9’ mattress was flying backwards, allowed to deploy his team behind the enemy lines and made Simeone’s plan excellent.
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In other words, the Metropolitan’s tank could be thick in the face of goal, but he always gave three things to his teammates: wear for rival defenses, constant mobility through the three rails of attack and depth. However, Diego Costa can no longer give half of what he offered before without asking many things from a team that demands that he continue to be the one that raised him to glory based on terrorizing plants. Koke has been among the hardest hit, as he found in the figure of the Spanish-Brazilian his perfect partner to launch into space.
Diego Costa is not scoring goals, but he is not shooting at goal either. Quite simply, his lack of confidence and physical regularity is so colossal that he who scored 36 goals in his last season as a rojiblanco accumulates 14 goals in 58 games since his return. In the League, their numbers are even more worrisome, since with 7 goals in 41 games, the ‘9’ of Atletico de Madrid scores a goal every 427 minutes of play. If in the 2013/14 season he shot 3.1 shots on goal, last season he produced an average of 1 shot per game and in this, 1.3 per game.
Far are those words of Arsene Wenger about Lizard’s “This boy is an absolute animal. I could dial from any position. ” Nor is he defensively providing that voracious pressure that overwhelmed the rival ball exit or colliding. The ‘9’ of Simeone has not found an optimal level of continuity, regularity or efficiency in the face of goal since his return, although he has left matches – very few, very few – very powerful. Perhaps the first leg against Juventus Allegri in the Wanda Metropolitano would be the zenith of his performance.
It is understandable that the Argentine coach wants to recover his biggest offensive argument, especially when Alvaro Morata has not been able to give him what he was looking for in his ‘9’, but Diego Costa’s situation seems very difficult to trace. With 31 years is in the final stretch of his career, not because of his age, but because every time he shows a higher level of competitive disconnection. The man who justified Simeone’s model is fought with the goal and does not seem to solve it individually.