The season is still young, but it already looks like the Champions League may be Atletico Madrid’s best chance of success this season.
Diego Simeone’s side are 11/1 to lift the trophy, despite winning just one of their opening four games in La Liga.
They’re sitting ninth, seven points behind league leaders Barcelona. They’re also five points behind second-placed Real Madrid.
The Colchoneros have only had one tough match on paper – away to Valencia, where they drew 1-1. But they’ve already lost to Celta Vigo and dropped points at home to Eibar.
What’s gone wrong?
Their slow start has been a real surprise. They managed to keep hold of star striker Antoine Griezmann this summer and brought in genuine quality.
Thomas Lemar and Gelson Martins add creativity and skill on the flanks. Rodri gives them the option to control possession in midfield too.
One issue this term has been Simeone’s experimentation. The club’s success in recent years has been built on a rock-solid defence in a 4-4-2 formation. He’s tried out a 4-3-3 this term to add another string to their bow.
Everyone knows exactly what to do in the team’s usual set-up. It’s going to take some time for them to learn something new.
Reasons to believe
But if Atletico can get back to their best, they’ve got the talent and experience to follow last year’s Europa League triumph with the big one.
They lost to Real Madrid twice in the Final in recent years. This year the showpiece match takes place at their home ground. Will that give them the motivation they need?
They’ve got arguably the best defence in Europe, a superb midfield and a deadly strike force in Griezmann and Diego Costa. No one will fancy taking them on over two legs either.
Now they have the chance to kick-start their season started away to Monaco tonight. Atleti are 3/4 to win in France.
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All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication