Watching Atlético Madrid right now is akin to watching the "Game of Thrones"-based "South Park" trilogy where George R.R. Martin keeps saying this to a dejected Butters:
"Don't worry, they're coming, they're on their way."
Atleti's return to the Champions League on Wednesday night didn't go so well. After Diego Simeone's men dominated early and notched a goal through Ángel Correa, Benfica struck twice against the run of play on either side of halftime to secure the three points. Despite some impressive attacking play from the hosts, Benfica's counters conspired with poor defending to hand Simeone his first-ever Champions League home loss. The rojiblancos are now second in the group with a tricky trip to Kazakhstan slated for next month. But despite the bad luck, optimism can be taken from this loss, deflating as it was. For example: the trident might finally be working.
Ratings (stats per WhoScored):
Jan Oblak, GK: 5
Oblak conceded twice, but not much can be said for those goals on his part. Nico Gaitán's opener came through a poor headed clearance from Diego Godín, and Filipe Luis' failure to clear led to 18-year-old Goncalo Guedes slotting home the winner from a tough angle.
Juanfran, RB: 4
Juanfran was very much involved in the buildup to Atlético's only goal, as his ball into the box deflected off Antoine Griezmann and over to Correa. Otherwise, Juanfran was pinned outside the final third and found himself unable to do much damage in attack or in defense. I'm not one for speculation, but hopefully Wednesday's malaise doesn't carry over for the Spanish international.
Diego Godín, CB: 5
Poor game for the rock-steady Godín. The Uruguayan was out of position on a few occasions (e.g., the winner), was not influential through the air and looked...well...uneasy? What?
José Maria Giménez, CB: 5
Joséma was able to play balls out of defense fairly well, but also had moments in the first half where he mistimed tackles and misjudged play. Bad time for his form to dip, especially considering his countryman Godín also had a difficult game.
Filipe Luís, LB: 6
Filipe again shouldered the load down the wings and linked up well with Correa a few times. He also cleared a sure goal off the line in the first half after Oblak had wandered out. Unfortunately, that would be Filipe's sole defensive highlight for the evening. Could have cleared the Gaitán ball that found its way to Guedes for the match-winner.
Gabi, RM: 7
The captain started this game on the right side and led all players with 91 touches. Much-improved from Saturday's loss at Villarreal. He had a couple dangerous set-piece opportunities, fired off six key passes and was much more aggressive (not to mention successful) in winning the ball for his side.
Tiago, CM: 7
Like Gabi, a much better performance. The Portuguese's long balls were crisper, his positioning in front of the back four was great and he generally didn't put a foot wrong. Automatic selection for Sunday.
Óliver Torres, LM: 4
I'm just going to repeat myself from Saturday. Óliver is really struggling to influence play, despite his best efforts. He's good, he's talented, but he's very young, hasn't trained with the first team that long and right now looks out of his depth. Once Koke comes back, Óliver should be on the bench, and Cholo will have to go from there.
Ángel Correa, FW: 8.5
Correa was devastating in his first start for Atlético and looked like he had been in the team for five years. The 20-year-old scored a right-footed peach of a goal 23 minutes in for one of his three shots on target and seven shots overall. He was a threat to create magic every time he had the ball and every time he took on his marking. Cholo curiously substituted him 15 minutes from time, and he now has a very interesting selection question for Sunday, as Correa continues to prove without a doubt that he belongs.
Jackson Martínez, FW: 6
Jackson's best game in an Atlético shirt. The Colombian played all 90 minutes and was everywhere in the first half, narrowly missing several good opportunities. Jackson disappeared somewhat in the second half, which dings his rating, but very encouraging signs nonetheless as he was able to find space consistently in the first 45.
Antoine Griezmann, FW: 6.5
Griezmann got the assist on the Correa goal and was a more dangerous roaming threat than he was against Villarreal. He popped up in various places in the center or on the right and tried to create trouble wherever the team needed it. Griezmann still is seeking a balance between creator and lethal finisher; he scored a brace last time out against Galatasaray but could only manage one shot Wednesday. However, his six key passes led all players.
Saúl Ñíguez, LM: 5
Saúl came on for Óliver just after the hour. He's still not a winger. Impressively, however, he managed to win five aerial duels in less than half an hour.
Luciano Vietto, FW: 4
Vietto entered for Griezmann with 20 minutes to go and stayed on the periphery of play. Sooner than later, in one role or another, he has to produce.
Fernando Torres, FW: 4
El Niño had a chance almost instantly after he was shuffled on for Correa, but not much else otherwise. It's okay, though. Sunday in El Derbi would be a perfect day for him to get his 100th goal.