Despite Atletico Madrid's 1-0 loss to Malaga in the final La Liga match before a short winter break, they sit in second place, level on points with Barcelona. A win would have taken them to the summit over Christmas but the fans should still be content with the position they find themselves in.
Whilst everyone has, as usual, been talking about Real Madrid and Barcelona as the main protagonists, Atleti have moved quietly into contention.
Diego Simeone's side were in the richest vein of form before the defeat at the weekend, having won nine on the trot in all competitions and being unbeaten in the last 15.
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They had stopped their opponents from scoring in nine of those games and only allowed one goal against them in each of the other six.
In Antoine Griezmann the Rojiblancos have one of the form players in the division whilst captain Diego Godin continues to expertly marshal his troops from his central defensive sentry.
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Fernando Torres isn't quite the player that he once was but is still providing a secondary threat in attack when called upon, and Koke continues to boss the midfield ably supported by his colleagues.
With Jose Mourinho having just been sacked by Chelsea, Atleti's hierarchy might well be working overtime to produce a package that will stop their manager from being tempted to transfer to west London and a new Premier League project next summer.
They know at first hand what Simeone brings to the table having watched Atleti destroy the Blues 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on their way to the Champions League final in 2013/14.
Atleti certainly have the measure of Los Blancos and know just what it takes to win at Camp Nou.
Arguably there isn't too much else to worry them with the greatest of respect to the other teams in the league.
After three losses in their opening eight games of the season they have only lost one since - at the weekend to Malaga - form that is every bit as good as their challengers for the title.
Such excellence deserves far more kudos and coverage than it is currently receiving but it is to the players' and management's immense credit that they've not allowed anything to deflect them from their winning habit.
There isn't really a weak link to the side at present and with another transfer window just around the corner, Simeone can strengthen should he feel it necessary.
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