July 23, 2024 | 10:28

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Athletic LaLiga champion… in the first half

Athletic Bilbao dominates the first parts of LaLiga 2023-24

Jeickson Sulbaran

May 8, 2024 | 11:30 a.m.

In a hypothetical classification based solely on the results of the first half of the LaLiga matches of the 2023-24 season

Athletic Bilbao would be at the top, surpassing giants like Real Madrid and Barcelona. This phenomenon highlights the capacity of Valverde's team to start the meetings with an intensity and efficiency that is not reflected in the rest of the teams in the competition.

Since the start of the season, Athletic have shown a remarkable ability to control the pace of the game and dominate their opponents during the first 45 minutes. This initial strength is crucial, considering that many matches are defined in the initial phases. However, the team has not managed to maintain this superiority in the second halves, where its performance tends to decline significantly.

The impact of Athletic's initial strategy on the standings would be considerable

Placing them above Real Madrid by four points in an alternative table that only considered the first half. This detail not only highlights Athletic's effectiveness at the beginning of games but also underlines the importance of a good start from the locker room.

Athletic Bilbao dominates the first parts of LaLiga 2023-24

Despite the brilliant performance in the first half, Athletic faces the challenge of maintaining its level in the second half of the matches. Real Madrid, current LaLiga champion, has done exactly the opposite, displaying an impressive ability to come back in the second half, a skill that has allowed them to secure the league title with a series of exciting and decisive comebacks.

The contrast in playing styles between Athletic and Real Madrid is notable. While Athletic dominates from the start, Madrid builds its victories in the final stages of the game, which speaks of the depth and experience of his squad, as well as the strategy of his coach, Carlo Ancelotti, who tactically adjusts the team to exploit the opponent's weaknesses at the right moment.

This dichotomy between first- and second-half performances offers a window into the psychology of professional football and the importance of adaptability and mental toughness. Furthermore, it highlights how teams can be shaped and transformed during the break, something Ancelotti has handled masterfully.

Regarding local performance, Real Madrid continues to be the most solid team in its stadium, the Santiago Bernabéu, where they have not lost a game this season, drawing only twice. Atlético de Madrid has also shown considerable strength at home, which has been essential to remain at the top of the table.

Athletic's ability to maintain their early dominance and turn those results into complete victories will be crucial to their future aspirations. The challenge for Valverde and his coaching staff is to adjust the team's physical condition and strategy to maintain intensity throughout the match.

Meanwhile, in the broader context of European football, teams such as Bayer Leverkusen, Inter Milan, PSG and PSV They have shown consistency in both the first and second halves, leading their respective leagues from start to finish. This phenomenon contrasts with the situation in the Premier League and Primeira Liga, where surprising changes in the standings have been observed in the second half, demonstrating that the ability to adapt can be as critical as a good start.

At Athletic Bilbao he could learn a lot from these examples to improve his performance in the second half and become a real contender for the title. The key is to combine their initial dominance with a sustained ability to adapt and compete until the end of the game.

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