This season, we have seen a clear evolution of Atletico Madrid in many aspects of play. The most prominent is the improvement of attacking disposition, mostly when facing an inferior offensive side or one that is ready to give up initiative.
You have heard much about Koke’s new position, which has been the key change to unlocking “Atletico 2.0.” And it is true; the Vallecas midfielder’s move to the middle of the park has allowed Diego Simeone to enter more offensive players in the XI without losing balance and defensive solidity. Los Rojiblancos already were the side with the world’s best defense and they are able now to succeed when seeing much of the ball.
Atletico is a team now that attacks better and with more variety, and this is well-reflected in their forwards’ figures. Antoine Griezmann (currently LaLiga’s top scorer) and Angel Correa have improving their scoring totals with respect to last season at this time, while Fernando Torres presents the same numbers and has been influential as a substitute. At the same time, Kevin Gameiro (3 + 3 in 11 games) has supplied the same amount of goals and assists that Jackson Martinez and Luciano Vietto provided all of last season (although, let’s face it, that’s not terribly difficult to do).
We need to emphasize Yannick Carrasco’a part of this stage show. Simeone has publicly stated that he requested him to shoot more frequently and has expressed his happiness with the new #10’s improvement. In addition to the quick bursts and the imbalance he cause in rival defensive lines, the Belgian winger has already tied his scoring figures from last season with five goals in only 11 games.
There are still some pieces pending placement into this attacking puzzle. Nico Gaitán, probably the most exciting signing of the summer, has not found his spot in the team so far despite his obvious quality. There are few doubts about this incorporation, as the player was a direct request of El Cholo and watching him play even few minutes is enough to know that he has skills that can supply his manager a good amount of new variations when the time is right. But at this point, the best thing is that the team still leaves one with the feeling of being able to get even better.