Joao Felix and Diego Costa fail to find an understanding
In the 0-0 draw against Celta in the Metropolitano, the two forwards passed the ball between them just once, a statistic that has reached its nadir.
What started to brightly in pre-season has now all-but disintegrated with Diego Costa and Joao Félix failing to strike up a meaningful partnership up front for Atlético Madrid.
Before the season proper, the Portuguese, a 126-million-euro summer acquisition from Benfica, teed up Costa with three assists in warm-up games and the Spain striker found the net five times in six friendlies. But that has not translated to LaLiga and the connection between the two appears to have been switched off.
Félix was substituted after 69 minutes against Celta and during that time only found Costa once. The striker didn’t return the favour at all, not providing a single pass for his strike partner in Diego Simeone’s 4-4-2 formation.
Félix and Costa a personal challenge for Simeone
On other occasions there has been slightly more success, if not on the scoring of goals front. In the 2-0 defeat at Anoeta the two combined nine times but did not trouble the opposition keeper. The only time the two have combined to good effect was in the comeback victory against Levante, when Félix provided the assist for Costa to make it 2-2.
“It’s a personal challenge; he has time, the season is long and the team needs him,” Simeone said of Costa, who has been sidelined competitively for some time after incurring an eight-game ban for insulting referee Gil Manzano last season.
With Álvaro Morata sidelined, Félix and Costa have chipped in one goal and two assists between them in 10 games across all competitions. Therein lies Simeone’s challenge, with Mallorca away up next before the Madrid derby against Real on 28 September.
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