Home La Liga Atletico Madrid Can Atletico be the dark horses this year?

Can Atletico be the dark horses this year?

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For many years, Atletico Madrid have been the ‘poor relations’ of the capital rivals Real, troubled by financial difficulties, and having a shadow casted over them by the bitter rivals. 

Now however, Atletico have come out of the shadows of uncertainty, and are playing their best football for almost two decades. 

And they are now on course for a remarkable first La Liga title for 18 years, after some brilliant team performances. 

That coupled with a first ever Champions League semi final appearance. 

Madrid will go into the hat as under-dogs, with Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Real Madrid all possibly awaiting them, however, going on current form, they could quite possibly be the dark horses this season. 

Backed well financially, Atletico can boast a team of talent, with Diego Costa smashing home goal after goal this season, with Costa smashing home 25 League goals in La Liga. 

Alongside Costa, Atletico have proven goal-scorer in David Villa, who is perhaps the bargain of the season, having signed from Barcelona on a free transfer in the summer, and has gone on to recapture his brilliant goal scoring ability.

Costa has been a target for English Premier League clubs, and history may repeat itself, as Atletico have already lost both Fernando Torres and Sergio Aguero in the past few years. 

Other than Costa and Villa, Madrid can boast a stong hearted squad, with midfielder Koke also key to their current run of form. 

Koke said following the midweek quarter final win over Barcelona. 

“With these fans behind us, it is very hard for us to lose a match here,” said Koke, who scored after five minutes. 

The Vicente Calderon has been a fortress this season, with Atletico losing just once at home, in a Kings Cup game at home to Real Madrid. 

Manager Diego Simeone has also been a major factor in Madrid’s rise, having guided the club from relegation candidates in the December of 2011, to Champions League semi finalists in just three years. 

Simeone has got the best out of a limited transfer kitty compered with both Barcelona and Real Madrid, bringing in the likes of David Villa, Diego Costa, and Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. 

Courtois had gone from rotting in Chelsea’s reserves behind Petr Cech, to one of the most highly rated goalkeepers in Europe, having spent the last three years on loan in Spain, replacing David De Gea in 2011. 

Many think Chelsea would be foolish to let the Belgium international leave, with Petr Cech coming towards the end in a few years, with Courtois himself stating that he wants to be number one, if he returns to Stamford Bridge. 

By Ben Readon 

@BenReardon1


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