For a defensive-minded squad like Atlético Madrid, improving their attacking output was a major priority this past summer. Los Rojiblancos allowed the fewest goals in LaLiga last term (22) but also scored 41 goals less than Barcelona (58). The additions of Thomas Lemar and Gelson Martins reflect this outlook, but the club will also require more from Diego Costa.
The 29-year-old joined Atlético this past January, returning to the Spanish capital after a successful stint with the club at the beginning of this decade. Along with Antoine Griezmann, Costa brings immense capabilities to the team’s front-line. However, the numbers have failed to live up to the potential at this point.
After netting three league goals last season in 15 appearances, Costa has yet to score a goal in seven LaLiga fixtures to begin the 2018-19 campaign. With excellent size and strength, the Spanish international has proven to be an effective presence in front of goal in the past but has been unable to get Atlético’s attack producing in the final third. Simeone’s tactics were never the type to deliver massive scoring numbers, but even he would likely be expecting more from Costa.
With an emphasis on defensive positioning and sharp midfield play for the line-up, opportunities do not always arrive in bunches for Costa. While fans may be concerned, there have been promising signs that this trend could change at the Wanda Metropolitano.
Los Colchoneros are unbeaten in their last four LaLiga games, scoring six goals over that period. Costa recorded a wonderful assist to open the scoring in a victory against SD Huesca recently, an opportunity that he easily could have taken himself but instead set up Griezmann for the strike. The former Chelsea forward seems to have good communication with his team-mates, and his first league goal is undoubtedly not far away from materialising soon.
Diego Costa returned to Atlético Madrid to start a new chapter of his career. While the goalscoring numbers have not been at their best, he continues to have a positive impact on the squad and more chances will ultimately lead to more success for him in the opposing half.