AF Pow-wow: Why Atleti will (won’t) win La Liga

Our writers discuss los Rojiblancos chances of ending Spain's duopoly

Both meetings last season finished 1-0 to the home team

Coming off the Sack of the Bernabéu in May, fantastic performances in La Liga and two gutsy efforts over European colossus Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup, why can’t Atlético supporters expect a legitimate shot at the league title throughout the course of the season?

Our tribe of Indios share their thoughts on the matter:

Robel: It looks like we don’t have to expend as much as energy to win games this season as we did last season. It’s only against Barça that we really had to dig deep, but otherwise we’ve had fairly comfortable games, even against Sevilla where we never really got into trouble, even if they did control midfield.

If we can keep up this high level, we’ll definitely win more games and not fatigue as early as we did last season. I can easily see us exceed last season’s point total and reduce the gap between us and the big two in La Liga. But I don’t expect us to get close enough for a title challenge, much as I would love one.

Arthur: The league is a tough one. I would never downplay any team that is competing in it. Having said that, it’s still clear we have a minuscule chance of winning it. You simply can’t compete with what seem to be unlimited budgets.

But, while Madrid and Barcelona spend more than triple our budget on one player, Atleti never give up. Gabi recently said, “We replace money with hard work, sacrifice and a unified locker room,” and though I agree with Gabi’s statement, sadly, it’s not enough to win the league. But, hell! It’s enough to give a fight, to bite the big two, and to slow them down just a bit while we creep closer. Even though the league isn’t ours, and it probably won’t be for many years, Atlético won’t make it easy for anyone. Enhorabuena to the 2013/14 La Liga winner, regardless of who it is, I know I’ll be proud of my team’s accomplishments.

Gert: We depend too much on the results of the ‘Big Two’. Last year proved that. Years ago, we could have easily won the league with the same amount of points. Barcelona and Real Madrid are almost flawless. We need them to slip up, and not slip up a single time ourselves. With Champions League coming this season, our squad will definitely try to put more effort in that competition as well.

Simeone might need to rotate a bit more, as I think we were lucky last year not to have had many injuries. Also, money is an issue of course. Atleti spent nearly nothing on transfers compared to Real and Barça. But, we have Cholo, a fighting spirit and, above all, we have a team. So, anything’s possible.

Susanne: Cholo Simeone was right by saying that La Liga is a league of only two teams and that Atlético won’t be able to compete for La Liga. I think everyone who follows the Spanish league knows that, even if some people still don’t want to admit it. The thing is, due to the big difference between the teams in La Liga, you need way more wins than in other European leagues. Just look at last season’s final table.

Barcelona only lost twice in the league last season. Due to this fact, Atlético would have to build up a team that will beat every other side of La Liga and win against Real and Barcelona. With our financial background (don’t forget about the huge tax gap) and our directors doing strange things with the little money we have, it’s just not possible for us to put together that type of squad. To compete with the Big Two, you would not only need 11 class players but, also, a decent set of fringe players that ensure that rotation does not result in a drop in quality. Yes, we have a team and we have improved a lot, but as happy as I am for the positive effect Cholo Simeone has on the club, there is nothing else we can do than try to close the gap and wait until the LFP realises that a league of two is not what the people want to see.

Ricky: I love this statement from José Luis Pasqués, Simeone’s press officer and close confidante: “When we win it’s victory, when we lose it’s a lesson learned.” Atleti are that good student getting better and better year-after-year. Will it be enough to truly compete neck-and-neck with the Big Two? In my opinion, not yet. Will we be there anytime soon? If we are able to secure Simeone’s tenure for many seasons, if the club prioritises sports objectives over personal and third party ones, if the club owners look away from their own past and focus on sound investments in players and shrinking the debt…too many ifs, right?

Martin: None of the reasoning and arguments made by my colleagues matter at all. Don’t even waste your time reading them. Oh, you already did? Whoops. Probably should have placed this at the top. Now, let me explain why none of their opinions matter.

Back in May, days after we won the Copa del Rey, I arrived early at the futsal court I play at twice a week. I was with a friend, Sam, and we were taking shots on the mini goals we play with. They’re so small that ‘Mono’ Burgos would be guaranteed a clean sheet every time if he sat in front of them facing the net.

I was on the opposite side of the court, roughly 40 yards out, and told Sam, “Hey man, if I make this shot from here, Atleti win the title next season.” Sam acknowledged, nodded and uttered a decisive, “Okay.”

I took a few steps back, breathed in, focussed, breathed out and proceeded to strike the ball, which took a slightly curling path through the air before settling on its direct course into the net.

You’re welcome Atléticos.

  • Jeronamo

    Lol @Martin.

    We do have the spirit to compete but spirit can only do so much. If we want to win the league or even consider it we first have to do something about our financial situation and sadly that’s gonna take some time yet. However I do believe that we can make 3rd place ours during that waiting period

  • piserakos

    yes we should put martin’s topic first… agree with you mate…!!! let’s be realistic our goal is to be better than last year!!!(that will be 2nd place or put even more pressure at the big 2) if a miracle happed?? we are going to celebrate… aupa aleti

  • EC

    Looks like Spurs have officially signed Erikson then.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    will Martin, if you scored that goal so why not Atleti win the league?!

    maybe Ronaldo get injured and sidelined for six months !
    maybe Messi goes to jail for tax fraud !!

    but if that didn’t happen, we have no chance

    wining the league has nothing to do with us,
    I believe Atleti can reach 80 points, maybe a little more .. which can give you the title or at least the second place in any 38-games football league on the earth

    but not in Spain, in which for 2 consecutive seasons the champion reached 100 point
    in fact I’m still waiting the day that a team in La Liga reach 100 point and NOT win the title, because there is another team reached 101 !!

    it can easily happens, 38 X 3 = 114 possible points
    and with that huge difference between Real & Barca and the other teams, losing 14 points in the whole season is actually too much,

    except for Atleti, all La Liga teams this season are weaker than the last season, all of them have sold their best players and replaced them with very ordinary players, and we could say the same thing about Atleti if we didn’t sign Villa!

    Robel said that we had comfortable game against Sevilla (in Sánchez-Pizjuán) .. since when that happens ?!
    it was always a hell for us there

    but after all, when I remember what we did to Chelsea, to Real, and to Barca in the last two weeks I sometimes find myself saying : why not ?!
    surprises happen, injuries happen, suspensions happen, refereeing errors happen

    miracles happen !

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    by the way:
    I don’t know what does “Pow-wow” mean, so I googled it and I found two results:

    1-and old chatting program

    2-a gathering of North America’s Native people “Los Indios”

    so which one is it ?! or does it mean something else ?!

  • kris

    After what we did to Barca and Real and Chelsea in FINALS, it is possible that we can gain more points than Barca and Real and other Liga teams.. Whatever happens,, I just fell this in my mind and my heart that Atleti are gonna have a much more successful season than last, grabbing a couple of titles and trophies..

    @Ahmad, Well,, yehh,, it’s a gather of Indians and, it could be a chatting program,, ahha.. I am not quite sure.. Or it could be used as an onomoteopia,, LOL.

  • kris

    Okay,, according to Terra Sports, Toby has signed for Atleti and he has made it “official” through some newspaper called The Telegraaf…. Again,, BS or true??


  • kris

    One more signing Deportes Terra reports we are close to is of Guilavogui.. They state on their website that this deal will cost us somewhere near 10 million euros… Not so sure if this is true,, ahha.. We already have Saul returning next season,, and I think we have enough DMs for this season.. But if this is true,,, then I believe that Oliver will be our one and only creative mid when Simeone switches to 4-2-3-1.. A great season awaits guys…


  • starvs

    Stupid not to get Capoue who is awesome, and not much older, and could def contribute right now, for about the same price.

    But this kid got some potential apparently, so we shall see…very likely wont even happen anyway

  • pantic#10

    Mario (with Koke and Villa) with the Selecion! Bravo Mario, keep up the good work 😉