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Atlético 1-0 Espanyol: Player Ratings

Atleti solidify second place in La Liga but lose Tiago in the process

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Jan Oblak, GK: 6

Sometimes forgot he was on the pitch. Oblak did not face a single shot on target in one of the easiest clean sheets he'll ever collect.

Juanfran, RB: 7

Good to have this guy back. Juanfran stepped back into the team fully recovered and didn't miss a beat. The Spanish international slyly sauntered forward - even into the box at the end of the first half - and had little to do in defense. Just another day at the office for one of Europe's finest fullbacks.

Diego Godín, CB: 7

Godín took the captain's band Saturday in Gabi's absence. The faraón didn't put a foot wrong (zero fouls) and handled the little danger that came at him with ease. Espanyol forward Felipe Caicedo was pinned to midfield for the majority of the contest, and on-loan starlet Marco Asensio was not able to create much for him or anyone else. Godín also got a couple headers in off set pieces; he's getting closer to actually putting one in by the game.

José Giménez, CB: 7

The young Uruguayan is back in form. Giménez was not challenged much and was afforded ample opportunity to be aggressive and bomb forward - at one point, drawing a foul and a booking on Álvaro González.

Filipe Luís, LB: 8

Controlling, assured performance out of the Brazilian on Saturday. Filipe did basically whatever he wanted on the left. He sat back and pinged short passes in the final third and even drifted into the box a few times. What's more, he shut down Espanyol's leading scorer Hernán Pérez; the winger managed a single shot in 90 minutes.

Óliver Torres, RM: 8

Óliver played a season-high 75 minutes in what was by far his best game since returning to Atlético. The cantanero set up the game's only goal with a splendid low cross which Antoine Griezmann duly turned in past the far post. His control, creativity and first touch were key to Atleti's best attacking spells on the night, and his defensive awareness allowed him to break quickly once he won the ball and lead counters. Hopefully he gives Simeone a selection headache moving forward.

Tiago, CM: N/A

Full-length post on Tiago coming soon. Suffice it to say, we are very sad.

Saúl Ñíguez, CM: 7

Important day for the canterano on two fronts. First, Saúl played a safe, effective game shielding the back four. He ventured forward only sporadically, but definitely did enough on the night. Second, the injury to Tiago means Saúl will be given a great opportunity to nail down a spot in Atlético's midfield - whether that is in the center remains to be seen, but expect him to have a much more pronounced role from here on out.

Koke, LM/CM: 7

Koke moved to the middle after Tiago departed, and like the match against Real Betis was particularly active in the final third. Hit the post late as Atlético tried to kill the game. Koke's passing, intelligence and ability to cover anywhere on the pitch will remain essential as he likely stays in the center of the park with Tiago out for an extended period. Needs to get his set piece delivery back to 2013-14 levels, however.

Antoine Griezmann, FW: 8

Another winner for Griezmann, who tucked in Óliver's low cross in the third minute. Played all 90 minutes after his substitution midweek against Galatasaray. His talismanic qualities were on display again; got touches all over the pitch and found a great balance between distributing and shooting.

Luciano Vietto, FW: 7

Vietto's first start since September was a step forward for the young Argentine as he regains form following a bout with appendicitis. He didn't score or even have a great chance, but his movement was slippery and he looks to have a decent understanding with Griezmann. Promising stuff from the lad, should only improve from here.

Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, LM: 7

Came on for Tiago in the 32nd minute. Looked fully recovered from the knock he suffered midweek and caused lots of problems for Espanyol right-back and captain Javi López. Not very accurate with his shot, but then that's not what he was signed to do.

Thomas Partey, CM: 7

Came on for Vietto in the 57th minute. Thomas spent last season on loan at Almería, and the 22-year-old Ghanaian made his Atlético debut on Saturday after signing for the club in 2011. He looked very comfortable and at ease for a debutante and even had a chance to open his Atleti account late on, but his curling effort from outside the box was saved by Espanyol keeper Pau.

Fernando Torres, FW: 5

Came on for Óliver in the 74th minute. Had a great chance late where he cut in from the left wing and uncorked a curling shot that ended up wide of the far post. Still waiting on #100.