Arsene Wenger has revealed his admiration for striker Diego Costa.
Atletico Madrid are a team who had reason to be angry and thankful for Arsenal. The fact the Gunners qualified safely meant the Spaniards were displaced as a top seed in the Champions League rankings.
While surely frustrating at first, as it happens, they will have been thankful to avoid a group containing Dortmund, Napoli and Marseille - paired instead with Porto, Austria Vienna, and Zenit.
Similar to the Gunners, after two games Atletico top their group with maximum points, highlighted by a superb 2-1 come from behind win away to Porto last game out.
Their impressive form has seen them labelled title contenders in Spain, but they are also being touted for European success, described by Arsene Wenger as one of 10 teams who can win the Champions League.
Arsenal manager Wenger believes the form of Diego Costa gives Atletico a wildcard which can propel them to success. He told Eurosport:
"For me, Atletico Madrid can be a surprise package: they can do the same as Borussia Dortmund did last year. Even if they have lost Falcao, they have a good defence and a very good goalkeeper.
"They have got really good midfield players and of course they have Diego Costa – and this guy is an absolute animal. He would be able to score from anywhere.
"They are a good team with their strength spread equally across all departments. In my opinion they are a candidate to win this competition outright."
Costa, 25, is the man of the moment in Spain, wanted by the country to transfer his international eligibility to play for them rather than Brazil.
The forward was wanted by Liverpool in the summer but spurned their advances to sign a new deal with Atletico Madrid, and has gone onto score a phenomenal 10 goals in his opening eight games.
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