When the La Liga season began, Atletico were the early season title favourites as they ticked over and won games in their usual workmanlike fashion while their rivals had stuttering starts to the season.
Right now all that has changed for Diego Simeone’s men.
They slumped to third in La Liga when they drew against Valladolid over the weekend. They played out a goalless draw at the Estadio José Zorrilla over the weekend. Already it was their third 0-0 draw of the season after drawing blanks against Celta Vigo and Real Madrid.
Atletico, not known to be a team that creates a lot of chances, are in kind of a funk at the moment and while it is not all bad, they may face very big issues going forward.
Where the goals will come from is one of the main questions.
They lost their top scorer in Antoine Griezmann last season to Barcelona this summer and in turn, purchased teenage sensation, Joao Felix from Benfica for a club-record fee of 126 million euros. He was the only attacker they bought.
Diego Costa, who arrived for his second spell at the club in 2017 from Chelsea has not hit the ground running with his goal return. As per whoscored, he has only scored 13 goals in 52 matches since returning and has scored just once in six games so far this season. A poor goal return for a once prolific forward.
Alvaro Morata has not been devoid of issues either.
So far, he has only scored once in five league games and he doesn’t look like he will give Antoine Griezman-like numbers which nobody expects from him anyways.
The Frenchman does deserve some credit for how phenomenal he was playing for Atletico Madrid.
He consistently exceeded his XG ratings every season although there has been a decline in that stat the past two seasons according to Understat.
Coming back to the main topic, their last option is Joao Felix, a 19-year-old who was signed with Atletico for such a huge sum of money with just one season of professional top-flight football under his belt.
He will most likely score double-digit goals this season but his assist totals depend on the finishing of his teammates which, at the moment is not reliable.
He has played predominantly behind the striker this season for Atletico with a license to roam and create chances and already he hs scored twice this season but he shouldn’t be relied upon to score goals consistently as he continues to grow into his lofty price tag.
Early season super-sub Vitolo has also seen the goals dry up dor him in recent weeks in La Liga.
Either way, Atletico Madrid need their forwards to produce the goals they need to get over the line in games especially at the moment with Barcelona and Real Madrid returning to form or they risk falling further off the pace and miss their best shot at a title since 2014.