The Manchester City – Atlético de Madrid knockout faces two teams that represent two opposite playing ideas: the ball possession football style of Pep Guardiola versus the conservative approach of Cholo Simeone.

City are the favorites, but Atlético have way more chances than people actually might think. In fact, this is the kind of knockout where Simeone’s team performs their highest level, as they feel more comfortable on the field when they are not required to take the lead.

They will be able to fall back and look for counterattacks led by top players in the attacking area: Griezmann and João Félix will be the ones in charge to finish the transitions that Atlético will constantly be trying to do in the 180 minutes.

“With our characteristics and the way we have been playing for years, we will try to keep competing the way we want to”

Cholo Simeone in press conference

On the other hand, Guardiola’s Manchester City, with their well-known formula, will have to dominate the game through the ball possession with the challenge to find gaps between Atlético’s defensive wall. It will not be an easy task, but Guardiola is used to these kind of scenarios.

“Atlético do not lock themselves down just like that, you might lock them down because you can prevent them from escaping their own box if you press them the right way, but they will also press you on your half if they can”

Pep Guardiola in press conference

Simeone already beat Guardiola back in 2016 against Bayern Munich in a knockout where Atlético were able to survive the perfect playing style.

Now they face each other again, from two similar positions compared to that occasion, in a battle between two playing approaches that people dare to identify as ‘the good and bad’ of this sport.

The winner of this Manchester City – Atlético de Madrid will claim their style in front of the entire world’s eyes.

Main image: José Manuel Calviño.

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