As Atletico Madrid on Saturday made light work of in-form Cadiz in LaLiga, Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente and Luis Suarez were on goal.
As they stretched their unbeaten streak to 23 LaLiga matches by thrashing Cadiz 4-0 at Wanda Metropolitano, Atletico Madrid climbed to the top of the table.
The team of Diego Simeone, the only unbeaten side left in the top flight of Spain, made easy work of opponents who had won their last four away games without conceding, and the star was Joao Felix.
With the assistance of the woeful Cadiz goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma, in the 22nd minute, as Joao Felix and Marcos Llorente hit, Atleti raced into a two-goal lead.
Joao Felix then doubled his tally with a thumping 90-minute strike after teeding up Luis Suarez for a third after the break to round off a resounding performance ahead of Atleti ‘s clash with Barcelona in 14 days ‘ time.
Within eight minutes, Atleti had the lead — Jeremias fumbling Koke’s free-kick to Llorente, whose cross Joao Felix headed home.
When he flapped at another cross, Jeremias’ surprising start continued, with Juan Cala then coming close to scoring his own goal, and Atleti did not have to wait long for their second.
Llorente chose to shoot from a close angle, and Jeremias failed to respond, allowing the ball at his nearest post to pass through.
Just after the half-hour mark, Jeremias palmed a cross straight to Saul Niguez, but the midfielder’s tap-in was disallowed for offside, while Suarez went close twice.
However, after latching onto Joao Felix’s through ball, Suarez had his goal six minutes into the second half, drilling in through Jeremias, with the goal provided after a VAR check overturned an initial offside decision.
Just before the hour, Jan Oblak had his first save to make, getting down to the deflected shot of Jairo Izquierdo.
Another replacement for Cadiz, Jon Ander Garrido, forced Oblak into a fine halt, while the impressive run away from Cadiz had crumbled.
And there was still time for the emphatic second by Joao Felix, which was brilliantly set up by Angel Correa.
What does that imply? Running Atleti moves on
Without suffering a loss, Atleti ‘s run dates back to a February derby defeat to Real Madrid. It’s their best-ever unbeaten LaLiga stint and the longest current stretch of any team in the top-five leagues in Europe.
This win put them ahead of Real Sociedad, who have played a game more and whose fixture on Sunday could well be called off due to a glut of positive coronavirus tests having reached their opponents Granada.
City rivals Madrid and Villarreal, who are both playing on Sunday, will triumph over Atleti.
Joao Felix On fire
It was an outstanding display by Joao Felix, who scored twice and gained an assist for the goal of Suarez as well as creating a high chance for the game.
In three of his last four starts, the Portugal international has scored doubles, with his second season with Atletico being even more promising than his first.
Llorente is flourishing as well. He is now a robust, all-action attacking choice, initially brought in as a holding player and, since the beginning of 2020, only Lionel Messi (five) has scored and assisted on more occasions in the same game than the four he managed.
The Horror Show of Jeremias sets the tone
In his previous five LaLiga appearances prior to Saturday’s clash, Cadiz’s goalkeeper had conceded only once, but during an abysmal first-half showing, Jeremias showed none of that sort.
He was a persistent liability from crosses, having cost his side to Joao Felix’s opener, and could have done even better with his effort to keep out Llorente’s shot. In total, out of seven shots on goal, he made just three saves.
Opta’s Main Facts:
— In his last four games in all competitions, Joao Felix has scored six times, as many as he recorded in his previous 26 matches.
— In 46 outings for the club, this was Joao Felix’s first headed goal for Atletico.
— For the fourth time in all competitions, Llorente scored and assisted in the same game for Atletico, although this was the first time he had done so as a starter.
— No Atletico player has more assists than Correa (seven) in all competitions in 2020, although Suarez has scored on goal this season with five of his eight league attempts.
— In their last 11 meetings against Cadiz in LaLiga (W7 D4), after their 2-0 loss at Ramon de Carranza in March 1989, Atletico are unbeaten.
And what is next?
On November 21, after the international break, In-form Atleti invited Ronald Koeman’s Barca to Wanda Metropolitano for a major clash, with Cadiz in action at home against Real Sociedad a day later.