Atlético Madrid’s lack of goals and firepower in attack has been well documented in recent weeks, but they remain in touching distance at the top of La Liga going into the International break.
The rojiblancos got lucky on Sunday, but are now unbeaten in seven and have the best defensive record in Spain. However, the main positive may well be the emergence of our October Player of the Month.
Yannick Carrasco arrived from Monaco in July as a replacement for Arda Turan, but after failing to nail down a starting place during the first few weeks of the season, not many would have expected him to become such an important player already at the Calderón.
Since coming on to help salvage a point in the derby against Real Madrid in the first game of the month, the 22 year-old has seen his stock sky-rocket, and is probably our main outlet and threat in the final third at the moment.
The Belgian international opened his account for Atleti three weeks ago at Real Sociedad, coming off the bench to seal the points late on in a 2-0 win.
He was also then our stand out performer in home wins against Astana and Valencia, scoring a memorable goal in the latter that turned out to be the winner.
The month ended with a disappointing draw away at Deportivo, where Carrasco was again our Man of the Match for the fourth game from five in October. Cholo surprisingly opted to withdraw him after an hour with Atleti 1-0 up, but a late goal from Lucas Pérez denied us all three points.
Fans have already taken the €20m summer signing to their hearts, and voiced their displeasure when he was substituted in the weekend win over Sporting whilst the team were in need of a goal.
That was in stark contrast to the Valencia match, where he received an adoring reception usually only reserved for Fernando Torres for his performance.
Like Arda, he is capable on either side of midfield and links up well with the full-backs. He is also probably our only attacking player able to carry the ball, and looks to have more pace and end product than the Turkish former favourite. Plus, at his age there is still plenty of room to improve.
Special mention has to go to Tiago, who continues to excel in midfield despite being in the Autumn of his career, and Jan Oblak, now stating a serious case to be considered amongst the world’s elite goalkeepers.
Few will begrudge Carrasco the award though given his rapid rise, which saw him earn a recall to the Belgian national team earlier this month. Long may his rampant run of form continue.
How impressed have you been so far with Carrasco? Has he helped soften the blow of Arda’s departure?