We have now arrived at the climax of the 2016/2017 season. At this point, it is not about getting your money’s worth of entertainment value. It is strictly about results. Results, results, results- results. It’s all that matters. From this point on, Luis Enrique and his men take each game as a final, as each victory goes a long way in the bigger picture. And because this was a win secured away from home, regardless of the opposition, Lucho’s men must take pride that they secured the result, and ensured maximum points were taken.
This tie was the first real acid test of the 2016/2017 season. In Atlético, we faced our conquerors from a season ago; The team that famously stopped the MSN in last season’s UEFA Champions League semi-final. This tie gave us a look into what the takeaways of that encounter were. And with flying colours, Luis Enrique passed the test.
The wonderful thing about the beginning of a New Year is that it offers one a very real chance to reflect on past events and work towards improving oneself, both in character and behaviour. In fact, the start of a new year has proved to be so synonymous with self-reflection and betterment that the first question on everyone’s lips post the customary midnight firework display is always one and the same: “What are your resolutions for this year?”. In other words, through what means are you aiming to advance yourself in terms of both characteristics and personality.
And so 2017 has begun. What was meant to be a promising start to the season has now become a rather interesting start to the season. Let us make one thing very clear: this match is not, and was not, doomsday. The truth is, there is still a second leg to be played at Camp Nou, where an MSN explosion is likely. However, this match exposed weaknesses and chinks in Luis Enrique’s armour that have existed since last season’s UEFA Champions League Quarter Final.