Atletico Madrid: Full Report Card for Every Position for August
Atletico Madrid are unbeaten at the start of their title defence, but are yet to look anywhere near convincing in the league.
With their main competitors Barcelona and Real Madrid strengthening heavily in the summer transfer window, they face an unbelievably tough task to retain the championship.
Diego Simeone prefers to work with a small group of players, loaning out a number of those that are either earmarked for future success but not quite ready, or aren't good enough to compete for a place.
As the transfer deadline approached, they added Torino winger Alessio Cerci to their squad.
Here's how the squad rated in the month of August.
Miguel Angel Moya
Former Getafe shot-stopper Miguel Angel Moya has been Diego Simeone's first choice goalkeeper since replacing the superb Thibaut Courtois last month.
He has conceded only two goals in four matches, while there was little he could do to stop James Rodriguez's deflected finish when his side played Real Madrid, or Abraham's nicely weighted effort for Eibar.
Atletico's solid defence means he has yet to be fully tested, despite back-to-back games with Real Madrid in the Supercopa.
Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira claims that Atletico have tried to sell former player Jan Oblak back to the club after an injury-hit couple of months according to Marca, via Football Espana.
"It was a surprise that Oblak fled again but life takes many turns and we have been offered the player back," Vieira was quoted as saying.
Los Rojiblancos history with bringing through good young goalkeepers means he should be given an opportunity in the long-term.
Opponents don't come much fiercer than Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez, but converted winger Juanfran dealt with both of them admirably.
Of course neither Real player was at their best for different reasons, although he can still take confidence from his performances.
Full-back Jesus Gamez signed a three-year contract when he signed for Atletico at the start of August, having spent his entire career at Malaga.
He hasn't featured for the side to date, but his experience will be helpful to the squad.
The only regular change to Atleti's back four has come at left-back, following the sale of Filipe Luis to Chelsea.
Guilherme Siqueira has started three out of the four matches and slotted into the role seamlessly.
His previous La Liga experience combined with his European credentials with Benfica makes him the perfect long-term replacement.
On loan from Zenit Saint Petersburg, Argentine Cristian Ansaldi made his debut for the final 30 minutes at the Bernabeu.
He was then given a starting berth against Rayo Vallecano in the league.
Ansaldi can play on either side of the defence and has spent the last six years in Russia.
Arguably the best performer of the month, Brazilian Joao Miranda has been showing his country why he should have been included in the national squad for the World Cup.
He has helped his team to keep two clean sheets and scored a header against Eibar from a corner.
Diego Godin continually organises Atleti's resilience, and the Uruguayan has been another solid defensive worker.
His partnership with Miranda is one of the best in Europe and makes them formidable competitors for each tournament they enter.
It's an uphill task to dislodge either Miranda or Godin, but Jose Gimenez will be called upon with the amount of games the club has to play.
The talented youngster will get much more game time this year after Toby Alderweireld was surprisingly loaned out to Southampton.
Holding midfielder Mario Suarez has been displaying his tough tackling tendencies with three yellow cards already.
His competitive nature will need to be curbed slightly if he wants to avoid unnecessary suspensions.
Tiago's contract expired in the summer, but he decided to sign a new one a month later, despite interest from elsewhere, via The Independent.
His playing time will be limited over the next two years, but as he showed in the second leg versus Real Madrid he can still do a job for El Cholo's men.
Club captain Gabi has led by example, completing more passes and key passes than anyone else in the team, via Whoscored.com.
It was from his free-kick that Mario Mandzukic headed in the side's second against Eibar.
The 19 year-old Saul Niguez has appeared off the bench three times already this season and even started against Real Madrid, after a successful loan period at Rayo Vallecano last term.
Due to the fact he can also fill in at centre-back, that's likely to continue for the foreseeable future as he clearly has the backing of his manager.
French international Antoine Griezmann has already appeared in both a central attacking position and out wide.
His pace will be crucial to Atletico's style of play, and he'll be an important component to their counter attacks throughout the campaign.
Turkish international Arda Turan is currently out injured after sustaining a problem in his right thigh during training, via Atletico Madrid's official website.
It was a huge disappointment for Arda, after a summer of rest due to his country not qualifying for the World Cup.
Flying winger Cristian Rodriguez has been on the pitch for just over ten minutes so far, which will be of some concern with Arda out of contention.
This is his time to make an impact, but Simeone appears to see him more as a bit-part player.
Playmaker Koke has started the season well after he was one of the few to gain the confidence of national team coach Vicente del Bosque in the summer.
His flexibility is important to Atleti and his precision passing has seen him provide two assists already.
Spaniard Raul Garcia grabbed the equaliser with minutes remaining at the Bernabeu, as he continued his trend of important goals.
His ability to play in behind a striker or alongside a more established forward is a useful tactical tool for Simeone.
It's two goals for Mario Mandzukic since his move from Bayern Munich, and the Croatian's aerial presence has been a continual problem for opposing defences.
You get the sense there's more to come from the striker, and maybe he isn't fully fit as he hasn't completed the full 90 minutes in any of his matches.
Mexican Raul Jimenez offers a completely different kind of threat, as he uses his pace to get in behind defences.
There will be an adaptation period to the league, and as his partnership with Mandzukic is unlikely to convene every week it may take time to reach fruition.
Diego Simeone's team might not be firing on all cylinders, but they haven't tasted defeat, and are still trying to integrate a number of important players.
After the heights of last season, it's inevitable that criticism will eventually come his way.
Although, he knows that he can still keep this club competitive despite their financial predicament.
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