When Diego Costa collided with the post against Getafe, he showed the commitment many Barcelona fans feel is lacking from their side. The Copa Del Rey now becomes massive...
Real Madrid (Iron Man), Barcelona (Thor) and Atletico Madrid (Captain America) all assembled to win their La Liga matches this weekend. It goes on and on...
Until recently, every time Atlético Madrid took to the pitch there is a feeling of euphoria and fear amongst their fans. However, now that is not just a sensation deep in the bones of the Rojiblanco supporters but one now experienced by about 80% of the football supporting public in Spain, who are now fully on board the tooting Atleti express.
Such rapture stems from seeing the fruits of the immense job that Diego Simeone has done in turning Atlético Madrid from a rambling mess of a club into a lean, mean fighting machine that is now a force to be reckoned with in both Spain and Europe. This is a side that has won 11 of their 12 games in La Liga, beating Real Madrid along the way, and rattled Barcelona on two occasions in the Spanish Super Cup.
Atlético have already won their Champions League group after four wins from matches, scoring 12 goals and conceding just two. Only Bayern Munich share such a record. The club's Argentinean coach now has the luxury of fielding fringe members of the squad, although every single player in the Atleti camp is made to feel wanted and part of the team's current success. If ever there was an outfit where there is no 'I' in team it is at the Vicente Calderón.
The fear is how far this incredible run, one that sees Atlético with their noses way in front of Real Madrid and nuzzled just behind Barcelona, can carry on. There was jolt when the side suffered the rare sensation of being outmuscled and outrun by an opponent with defeat at Espanyol in the middle of October.
Simeone's side responded with a 3-0 away victory at Austria Vienna followed by the 5-0 battering of Betis, as if trying to purge the setback out of the side's system. The reaction shows the mental strength that is at the core of the club's current success. Atlético have not lost back-to-back matches in La Liga since April 2012.
Of course, the performance of footballers who are going above and beyond the call of duty week after week are also worthy of note, from the 19 league goals by the forward pair of Diego Costa and David Villa to the assists of the revelatory Koke, not forgetting to the constant elbows and vigilance at the back from Diego Godín and Miranda, every player in the Atlético team is playing a part. As well as a Diego Costa strike in the midweek Champions League win against their Austrian opponents, Miranda, Raul García and full-back Filipe also contributed to the goal tally.
The energy levels required by Diego Simeone to keep his team keeping on are extraordinary. The mantra of the Atlético coach is to forget the match just gone and play the next as if it is the final game of the season. "I've always said we need to go match-by-match, step-by-step, always with desire and humility," said Simeone after Wednesday's European win.
It is a shame that the Argentinean manager was overlooked in terms of the shortlist for the FIFA manager of the year awards, especially when José Mourinho made the grade, the coach he defeated in May's Copa del Rey final in the Santiago Bernabeu, one of the many high points of Simeone's reign so far.
Rather than holding a sense of fear over Atlético's run, the best approach might be to simply embrace the present and take pride in an incredible group of professionals performing to the maximum for the supporters, the coach and themselves. If Simeone himself says that he never looks beyond the next game, then that sounds like a fine philosophy.
That next clash is an away trip to fourth-placed Villarreal, a side with similar enthusiasm for the game to Atlético but perhaps lacking the brutal efficiency and imperious will-to-win of the Rojiblancos. Even if Atleti fail to prevail in El Madrigal and the team start to slide, it should not take anything away from a group of players completely reborn under a remarkable regime.
Tim Stannard - follow him on Twitter