Jan Oblak, GK: 8.5
Stellar once more. Made two outstanding saves in the dying moments — one from teenage striker Sergio Moreno at point-blank range — to preserve the clean sheet.
Juanfran, RB: 5
Targeted throughout the first half and could not hold up. Juanfran had to come off on 35 minutes with a calf injury that will likely keep him out for a few weeks. It’s the third muscular injury he’s suffered since March.
Stefan Savić, CB: 7.5
Surprisingly kept his place after a so-so display at Valencia and rewarded Diego Simeone’s faith with a steady evening (seven clearances, three interceptions). Savić also assisted Antoine Griezmann’s goal with a clever knockdown from a Thomas Lemar corner.
Diego Godín, CB: 7
A much better performance than Monday at Mestalla. Godín made no tackles and no clearances, but his four interceptions tied for the team high and he wasn’t caught out of position once.
Lucas Hernández, LB: 7
Really enjoyed seeing Lucas play in a more advanced position, where his blinding speed created some pretty fun foot races with Luis Advíncula. He did leave a little too much space on occasion, but defended smartly overall.
Rodri, CM: 6
Rodri completed 91 percent of his passes on Saturday, but he looked a bit uncomfortable at times. He seemed a tad unsure about where to pass and struggled to keep things ticking — Atlético Madrid had just 46 percent possession and Rayo Vallecano controlled the tempo for much of the evening. Everyone needs to adjust to Rodri and his skillset just like Rodri needs to adjust to his new (and old, in a couple cases) teammates.
Saúl Ñíguez, CM: 7.25
He still took too many touches in his own half, but Saúl got forward enough to attempt three shots and he made a game-high 10 tackles (with only one foul). Hopefully with Rodri’s help he can begin to push forward more consistently.
Ángel Correa, RM: 6.5
A live wire in the first half as he twisted his way into good positions. Correa has matured and his decision-making generally has improved, but the end product — whether it’s a goal, an assist or even a key pass — just isn’t always there. He faded after the opening half hour and was substituted after Atlético went ahead.
Thomas Lemar, LM: 7.25
Has all the ingredients to become a key player in this team before long. Lemar was nominally a left winger but operated well through the middle, and he completed 86 percent of his passes. Most impressively/importantly, the France international ran the hard yards and made four interceptions.
Antoine Griezmann, FW: 7
Griezmann opened his account for 2018/19 with a simple tap-in from Savić’s headed knockdown. It was a good moment for Grizi, who was again pretty quiet save that one individual moment (much like he was against Valencia on Monday).
Diego Costa, FW: 5
No shots, no key passes and his teammates couldn’t find him in dangerous positions — Costa often had to drift to a wing to pick up the ball rather than bulldoze straight ahead to the goal. Frustrating night for the big man, who needs to re-establish connections with Correa and Griezmann while forging a new one with Lemar.
Thomas Partey, RB: 6.5
Entered for Juanfran in the 36th minute. A shame that he is already playing out of position, but Thomas held his own as ever. He played an important role in shutting down left back Álex Moreno, who had a field day against Juanfran.
Koke, RM: 5.5
Entered for Correa in the 66th minute. Koke’s presence alone made the midfield more cohesive even as he wasn’t at his best. He picked up a needless yellow card in the final minutes as Rayo pushed for an equalizer.
Gelson Martins, FW: N/A
Entered for Griezmann in the 76th minute. Ostensibly brought on as a counterattacking outlet, but he’s not a forward. And as Rayo had almost all the ball in the final 10 minutes, Gelson barely got a touch.
Mattress Maker of the Match against Rayo:
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