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Llorente shining, Costa goal... 10 keys to Atletico Madrid's current happiness

  /  autty

Atletico Madrid have been one of the most productive teams in LaLiga Santander since the league resumed and are fighting on both a domestic and continental front, yet with matches set to come thick and fast, we have pinpointed 10 keys to the club's current happiness.

1. Champions League qualification is in their own hands

Prior to the stoppage in competition, Atleti were sat in sixth place and in danger of missing out on the fiscal promised land that is the Champions League. A resilient Getafe and confident Sevilla looked likely to take one of if not both of the remaining spots, but Los Rojiblancos' form has catapulted them into a position of strength.

The equation now is simple, if the club win all their remaining matches they will be in the Champions League next term, and that level of control of their own destiny is a vast improvement on their situation a couple of months ago.

2. They keep winning

Failing to win at Estadio San Mames left Atleti with a poor return in their last 11 matches where they only took 25 points from 42. Now though, back-to-back victories against Real Valladolid, Osasuna and Levante have put them back on the right track and shown the attacking capabilities they have.

3. The goals keep coming

Attacking flair isn't something you usually associate with Simeone's teams, but in the last three matches they have scored seven goals and conceded none. This run has shown the new-found balance within the team as they now focus on securing third place.

4. An 11-match unbeaten run

Prior to the pandemic hitting Europe, Atleti were on a seven-match unbeaten run, albeit with a lot of draws, but with four further games without defeat since the restart they are now an 11-matches without tasting defeat. This is the second time this term they have reached such a milestone.

5. Jan Oblak is as good as ever

Despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's suggestions that David de Gea is still the best goalkeeper in the world, few would suggest that there is anyone better than Jan Oblak. The Slovenian is on course for another Zamora Trophy and has been as good as ever since returning to action.

He has been ably supported by the defenders in front of him, with Jose Gimenez and Stefan Savic building an almost impenetrable wall before him. He recently earned his 100th clean sheet with the Madrid club and there will be more added to that this term.

6. Simeone has options on the bench

Aside from Felipe and Sime Vrsaljko, Diego Simeone has near enough a full squad and that is something of a rarity for the former River Plate coach.

After battling constant injuries earlier in the season, the Argentine now has options on the bench and is actually having trouble picking which five players to bring on under the new regulations.

7. A number of players have rediscovered their best form

Jose Gimenez, Santiago Arias and Yannick Carrasco were all question marks before the break. Could they be consistent enough for Atleti? The resounding answer has been yes with all three performing impressively since the restart.

8. Marcos Llorente's emergence as a utility star

Few ever expected to see Llorente play as a centre-forward, but the reality is that it may well have saved his career at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

His goalscoring heroics at Anfield set the tone and he has gone from strength to strength, even taking that confidence to the right of midfield since Diego Costa's return.

9. Costa is scoring once again

Injuries looked to have brought Costa's season to a premature close, but like so many in LaLiga Santander, the pandemic has allowed him extra time to recover.

Since setting foot back onto the pitch, a return of two goals in four matches has equalled his paltry return from the first stage of the campaign. If he can stay fit, Atleti have a serious abundance of talent in attack, as well as it taking the pressure of Joao Felix.

10. They've got physical superiority over most

Professor Ortega has long been heralded as the mastermind behind Atletico Madrid's success, or shall we saw the engine behind it. His work on the training ground has allowed Los Colchoneros' players to be fitter than most in the league and it's showing through.

After just a few weeks training the group seem to be at the fitness levels they held before the break, and whilst rotation is helping, the lack of new injuries show the club's progress on this front.