Can Diego Simeone lead Atletico Madrid to a stunning league and cup double?by Jack Kitson / 04 May 2016, 10:45Tweet
Atletico Madrid remain on course for a stunning league and cup double after booking their spot in the Champions League Final. Diego Simeone's men dug deep to pip Bayern Munich on goal difference, and subsequently keep alive their dreams of hoisting the European Cup for the first time in their history.
The Diego Simeone Effect
In the last few years Simeone has established himself as one of the best managers in the world. El Cholo's collective brand of high-intensity, tenacious, and ruthlessly effective football may not always be easy on the eye, but it simply has to be admired, and is immensely difficult to breakdown, let alone beat.
The fiery Argentina has won numerous plaudits for successfully shattering the Barca-Real duopoly that dominated Spanish football for oh so many years. Instead he has bullishly forced his club into the party, forming a trilogy, and has flourished in the process, winning La Liga, Copa del Rey, Supercopa de Espana, Europa League, and the UEFA Super Cup since taking charge back in 2011.
Diego Simeone's record at Atletico Madrid... pic.twitter.com/tdvcYZWvSo— BenchWarmers (@BeWarmers) May 3, 2016
Echoes of 2013/14
The current campaign echoes that of the 2013/14 edition, which saw Atletico in contention for both the La Liga and Champions League double. On that occasion Los Colchoneros went on to win their first league title in 18 years - after drawing at Barcelona on the final day - while the club came within minutes of European glory a week later, only for fierce rivals Real Madrid to equalise at the death, before storming to a 4-1 victory in extra-time.
Second La Liga title in three years?
Barca reclaimed the La Liga crown last season, and were seemingly on course to triumph again this term, only for an astonishingly unexpected four game blip - during which they picked up just one point - to allow both Madrid clubs to vigorously storm back into the mix.
Spain's title race is now tantalizingly poised, with Barca and Atletico both locked on 85 points - although the Catalan club hold a vastly superior goal difference - while Real are right on their heels, just one point behind in 3rd.
Of course anything can happen in the final two games, but in truth it's difficult to see league leaders Barca slipping up at home to Espanyol (14th) or away to Granada (16th), however you can bet your life that Atletico will be there to take advantage if Luis Enrique's men do suffer any late jitters.
La Liga Odds
- Barcelona @ 2/7 with William Hill
- Atletico Madrid @ 5/1 with Betfair
- Real Madrid @ 10/1 with Bet365
Champions League glory?
Atletico arguably have a far greater chance of triumphing in the Champions League for the first time. Twice the Spanish club have been beaten in the final (2013/14 & 1973/74), but they have a cracking chance to make it third time lucky after ousting Bayern in the last-four.
Atletico will now contest either their neighbours Real in a repeat of the 2013/14 showcase spectacle, or alternatively lock horns with Man City: if the latter occurs then Europe will crown new champions for the first time since Chelsea reached the summit in 2012.
Champions League Odds
- Atletico Madrid @ evens with Paddy Power
- Real Madrid @ 6/4 with Bet365
- Man City @ 13/2 with Sky Bet
Diego Simeone ;) pic.twitter.com/WQ1ZerSjxJ— Avanti Ultras (@Avanti_Ultras_) May 3, 2016