Atletico Madrid are flying in La Liga this season as they have won six of their opening eight league games and remain undefeated in the decision.
Saturday’s 1-0 win over Barcelona was their first statement win of the season as they thoroughly deserved the three points against the Catalan giants and kept another clean sheet – no side in Europe’s top five leagues have conceded fewer than Atleti’s two goals.
A report in Marca has now outlined how Los Rojiblancos have evolved this season in comparison to previous seasons, and firstly points to the fact that this is a more ambitious side.
Luis Suarez’s arrival from Barcelona has helped change the style of the side in attack but his absence in the win against his former club show that the change in approach goes beyond solely the Uruguayan.
They are playing with less emphasis on vertical attacks and instead now have greater speed in their attacks and one who are now prepared to take more risks in the final third.
The change in roles of players is also notable – Marcos Llorente has been transformed into a genuine threat in attack as an advanced midfielder, while similar changes in roles is seen throughout the side.
Vitolo has been given greater prominence as a wide player while Saul Niguez has also played a similar role at times, while Yannick Carrasco took that to another level against the Blaugrana – playing as a de facto wing-back who provided easier and swifter exits in transitional phases of play.
The improvement in individuals is not limited to Llorente and Carrasco, but also the likes of Mario Hermoso and Hector Herrera – fringe players in previous years but now playing starring roles.
Joao Felix is now arguably the best player in La Liga, while full trust has been given to Kieran Trippier and Angel Correa – who were selected despite dips in form – and now have the full trust of the boss, it is argued.