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What’s wrong at Atletico Madrid? Ex-Blues strikers not firing and no understanding up front

Atletico Madrid looked like a side to be feared this year when they humiliated rivals Real Madrid in a 10-goal thriller in pre-season.

Diego Costa smashed four past Zinedine Zidane’s ageing side which set the precedent going into the new campaign – Atletico seemed to have figured out the formula for scoring freely and everything was pointing in the right direction.

With Atletico known for having one of the tightest defences in the game, it was just the ruthlessness in front of goal that was missing from their arsenal.

The loss of talisman Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona this summer appears to be taking its toll

The loss of talisman Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona this summer appears to be taking its toll

Following the controversial £108million departure of Antoine Griezmann Catalan giants Barcelona, Atletico acted quickly to bring in his replacement.

Joao Felix, who only cost £5m more than the Frenchman, may be inexperienced but the Portuguese starlet is considerably younger and had a standout year with Benfica last season.

The 19-year-old was lauded for overshadowing Cristiano Ronaldo in the 2-1 pre-season win over Juventus that saw him score both goals in the encounter, but since then, things have stagnated at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Joao Felix started pre-season brightly by scoring a game-wining brace against Juventus

Joao Felix started pre-season brightly by scoring a game-wining brace against Juventus

Costa also smashed four goals past Real Madrid in Atletico's 7-3 thumping during pre-season

Costa also smashed four goals past Real Madrid in Atletico’s 7-3 thumping during pre-season

While Atletico are still keeping pace with La Liga’s top two, their performances have left fans frustrated with three of their last four league games ending as goalless stalemates.

Costa, who was the star of the show in the 7-3 win over Real, is now a shadow of his former self, managing just one goal in eight games this season.

Another Chelsea signing, Alvaro Morata, is also firing blanks and has matched Costa’s total in two fewer games.

And their summer marquee signing has managed to find the back of the net three times – a concerning total considering his hefty price-tag.

However, all three of Atletico's strikers have struggled since the start of the new campaign

However, all three of Atletico’s strikers have struggled since the start of the new campaign

The stats don’t make for good reading, either, with Atletico registering 40 shots on goal so far this campaign, 39 fewer than they had at this stage last year and a staggering 96 fewer than they had during the 2016-17 season.

Those 40 shots have produced just seven goals, their worst tally since the 2003-04 season and the loss of Griezmann appears to be taking its toll.

It’s no secret that Simeone is more defensive-minded than all-out attack, with Atletico’s goals-for tally always a far cry from the total Real and Barcelona post at the end of each season.

Simeone will take responsibility for the lack of goals but his strikers need to start producing

Simeone will take responsibility for the lack of goals but his strikers need to start producing

Their defence has been top-tier for the most part, with Diego Simeone’s men only conceding four times – the joint best in La Liga.

And while the Argentine will take the responsibility for his side’s lack of goals, it will be Costa, Morata and Felix who need to find their shooting boots sooner rather than later.

If they don’t, and the goal drought continues, it could be another season of so near, yet so far for the boys in red and white.

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7559631/Whats-wrong-Atletico-Madrid-Ex-Blues-strikers-not-firing-no-understanding-front.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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