Jan Oblak (8.5): The best goalkeeper in Europe showed his class today against Real Madrid with numerous crucial saves that kept his team in the match. The most notable stop came on 65 minutes, when Oblak denied Marco Asensio one-on-one.
Juanfran (8): The veteran had a very solid performance — he really got up for this game. He rarely ventures forward as much as he used to, but still looked sharp enough on the ball.
Diego Godín (7.5): The captain was solid for the most part, though he erred in giving the ball away to Asensio on 70 minutes — which could have become a serious problem if not for a Giménez intervention.
José Giménez (8.5): Early on, there was not much for Josema and the other defenders to do, but he made himself known in the second half. He made an excellent sliding block on Karim Benzema among others and kept up in an intense match that isn’t kind to those recovering from muscular injuries. Undoubtedly one of the best players on the pitch and bailed out Godín on a couple occasions.
Filipe Luis (7.5): Definitely the livelier fullback, but lacked that cutting edge he once had in the final third. It still seems to me like Filipe is a half-step behind the pace, whatever the cause.
Rodri (9): Rarely do we see a young player join (or re-join) a club and immediately force himself into the first team as a starter. Rodri was a vital acquisition, more so with the departure of Gabi, and there was perhaps no one better suited to take on that challenge. Rodri lurked in front of the defense and completed 95 percent of his passes as he showcased sound decision-making with and without the ball. Nikola Kalinić replaced him as Atlético Madrid chased the winner.
Saúl (8): The Spaniard started positively with a stinging shot inside three minutes that required a save. After that, he did well enough to circulate the ball but was not so dangerous going forward. Saúl also made Sergio Ramos bleed during an aerial collision, which will likely improve his already-lofty standing among Atlético supporters.
Thomas Lemar (7.5): Productive evening from Thomas Lemar, who looked lively in wide areas and was able to release the ball quickly when in possession. He was the first player replaced, with Ángel Correa coming on around the hour.
Koke (7.5): As a consequence of situation, Koke again found himself on the wing, unable to influence the match as he could from the center. His passing was sloppy compared to his high standards, and offered very little to link Atlético’s midfield to a sluggish strike force. The 26-year-old still made two key passes and three tackles though, as he buzzed around with energy.
Antoine Griezmann (7): Atlético’s number seven has not been at his sharpest in LaLiga so far, but he started brightly Saturday as he took on an audacious bicycle kick that went wide. Griezmann had the first big chance of the match 17 minutes in, when he was put through one-on-one with Thibaut Courtois — but the Belgian came out on top, making a save with his head.
Diego Costa (5): Costa got a 36th minute shot on target from a tight angle, but Courtois denied him and Simeone took him off on 68 minutes. Costa isn’t himself right now, even as a concerted effort has been made to get him the ball over the past week. It speaks volumes that he was removed from a 0-0 derbi with 20 minutes left.
Ángel Correa (5): It’s tough to have a bad sub appearance, but Correa was not very good when he came on chiefly because he could not influence the game in the slightest. Cholo shifted him around the pitch but he could not find a rhythm. Most notable moment was a dumb foul which yielded a dangerous free kick.
Thomas Partey (7): Thomas was not quite as good shielding the back four as Rodri and was not able to get on the ball in attacking situations either. Overall fairly ineffectual and needed to pass the ball out of defense a little quicker.
Nikola Kalinić (n/a): Didn’t have much time and the ball mostly just bounced off him when punted in his general direction.
Mattress Maker of the Match vs Club Brugge:
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