Player ratings: Benfica stun the Vicente Calderón

Correa impresses but Atleti fall to disappointing Champions League defeat

Rojiblancos frustrated in the Calderón

Rojiblancos frustrated in the Calderón

It was a night to forget for Atlético Madrid, as Benfica struck twice on the break to record a smash and grab win and move three points clear at the top of Group C.

Ángel Correa’s debut Champions League goal gave the red and whites an early lead, but they failed to build on a positive start and ended up paying for missed chances.

Read on to see how we rated the team’s performance:

Jan Oblak – 5

Usually so dependable, but did make one mistake in the first half which was nearly punished as he rushed off his line, and perhaps could’ve covered the angle better for the winning goal. Wasn’t called into action too often.

Juanfran – 5

Started well and played his part in Correa’s goal, but left Gaitán in acres of space for the equaliser and didn’t really provide the threat needed whilst chasing the game from the right.

Diego Godín – 5

Rare off night for the Uruguayan, who probably should’ve cleared the ball out of danger for the equaliser. Not quite as assured and was caught out on the break a few times, but provided our only real threat from set pieces.

José María Giménez – 6

Did well in possession and stopped a few potential counter attacks with his large frame. Can’t really be faulted for either goal, this will serve as a good experience for him.

Filipe Luís – 4

Still finding his feet after returning from Chelsea in the summer. Perhaps needs to get up to speed on a physical level too, as he tired towards the end. Crossing very poor, and should’ve cut out the ball for Guedes’ winner.

Tiago – 6

Did his job and helped provide the momentum as Atleti searched for a second half goal, but didn’t really provide anything in an attacking sense. Could do with a rest more often.

Gabi – 6

Very good for the majority of the first half, but his influened dwained as the game went on and he never really took charge of our attempted fightback. Set pieces better than they have been in recent weeks.

Óliver Torres – 5

Two excellent passes in the first half, but at the moment he is only showing his talent in glimpses, rather than making a mark on matches consistently. Would like to see him in a more central role.

Antoine Griezmann – 5

Correa may have impressed in the more forward position, but this impacted on Griezmann’s game as he was shifted out wide. Subbed with 20 minutes to go with no real complaints, very quiet for most of the match.

Ángel Correa – 7 (Man of the match)

Our best performer without a doubt. Constantly involved, and every good move of the match went through him. Great to see him get his goal, and for us, has to be a starter on Sunday.

Jackson Martínez – 5

Just not happening at the moment. He’s making the right moves but is clearly low on confidence. Didn’t look too bad in general play, but really should’ve had a hat-trick with the chances that came his way.


Saúl – 5

Positive to start with, but struggled as time ran out and began misplacing passes and making mistakes. Excellent in the middle, but just don’t feel he is right for the wide position.

Fernando Torres – 5

Tried hard when he came on and managed a shot on target, but with Benfica dropping so far back to defend the goal he had no space to work with or run into. May have more luck in the derby if selected.

Luciano Vietto – N/A

Do you agree with our ratings? What went wrong for Atleti tonight?

  • jdATM

    Spot on about Jackson. Looked better tonight, getting into the right positions. Once he puts a couple of those chances away the confidence will come and the goals will flow. Can’t believe some already writing him off completely.

  • Koke

    Don’t know what to say about Jackson that hasn’t already been said. Obviously, it’s way too early to write him off as a mistake – remember how it took until almost December for Griezmann to start scoring goals? And how he still ended the season as third top scorer behind the aliens Messi and Ronaldo?

    Cholo’s Atleti isn’t an easy team to adapt to. All that being said, Jackson was really frustrating. Vietto hasn’t been up to par either. Hopefully they get better soon before we throw our season away prematurely in the league and CL.

    On the bright side, Griezmann and Correa are really special players. We all knew about Antoine, but I think that Correa has proven game after game so far that he should be an absolute mainstay in the starting 11. The only question is which center forward should accompany him.

    I don’t understand Simeone’s substitutions. He literally took our our three best players in a game we were losing, Griezmann, Correa, and Oliver. Let’s just hope this means they are all starting against Madrid.

    Our midfield isn’t working with Simeone’s choices. I don’t know why he insists, game after game, to play the likes of Saul, Tiago, and Gabi next to each other. What does any one contribute that the other two don’t? They are all defensive and none of them are very capable of incisive dribbling/passes. There should really only ever be ONE or at MOST two of those players on the field at once. Let’s see more of Koke (when fit) and Oliver in the central midfield. Also, Saul should play DM. He is completely lost and ineffective on the wing.

    Lastly, what is going on with our defense? Godin had a shocking game today, hopefully it was just a fluke. Luis, on the other hand, has had a string of poor performances. Simeone better talk some sense into him because fullbacks really play a huge role in our game. What a shame if he ends up being not much more effective than Siquiera, after we spent so much to bring him back.

    And since when are we terrible at set pieces? No, I wasn’t happy when it was our ONLY way of scoring, but just because we’re a more creative side now, I don’t understand how our set piece danger has magically gone away.

    Let’s beat Real Madrid. Our season may depend on it as a turn-around.

  • Kris

    Saul is really good as a DM. Very effective since he’s pretty quick and strong. I don’t know why Simeone insists on playing Saul as a winger all the time, when obviously his natural position is CDM.
    Oliver has also been playing out of his natural position this whole time, hence having little impact on the team. And seems like he isn’t able to adapt to any other positions other than his natural CAM role.
    We should play a 4-3-3. Obviously the three players up top would be Griezmann, Jackson, and Correa. Say what you want about Jackson, but he’s better than Torres and just needs a boost of self-confidence to start scoring again. Honestly so proud of Correa. He’s a real inspiration.

    I don’t like Simeone’s tactics of throwing out forwards when we are losing. How the fuck does that make any sense? How are they going to score without service, especially if all of them are fucking centre forwards who can’t create their own chances?

    Oh, and Filipe honestly sucks this season. One game when he looked world class after that every game he has played has been shit. Lucas should be

    I don’t want Carrasco to turn in to another Cerci… 🙁

    Please let’s get that win against Real Madrid in the weekend!! Please!!! Aupa Atleti!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Agree about patience on Jackson and the need of time to adapt to Simeone’s Atleti, but I disagree about comparing him to Grizi, who -in my opinion- didn’t need a long time to flourish because lack of adaptation, but because he didn’t play much until January .
    The man waited for 20 games until he played his first full 90 minutes, we all remember that game very well, the 1-4 in San Mames, while in 10 of those 20 games he played 35 minutes or less .
    Jackson, on the other hand, got his first full 90 minutes tonight, the 8th game of the season, he played all the 8, starting 5 of them and with an average of 47 minutes per game, and he has done too little .
    As I said before, I would stick with Torres and let Jackson has his chance coming off the bench .

    Godin has been shaky from the beginning of the season and some of the last games of last season, but because he is Godin, many people are avoiding to talke about that, including me .
    He made a couple of horrible mistakes against Sevilla that could have cost us the 3 points, he takes big part of responsibility about Villrreal’s goal and of course the 2 of Benfica tonight .

    I really really wished that I was wrong about Filipe, but sadly, so far, I was right, a deal that should have never happened .
    Good thing that Jorge Mendes was too busy with De Gea in the deadline day and couldn’t seal a deal for Siqueira, whom -like Torres- I would stick with even if he keeps making some mistakes every now and then, even with them he is still better than Filipe .

    Every time we are behind and need to score Simeone takes off all the creative players of the team and send on all the strikers he has on the bench, and every time it doesn’t work, of course !

    I don’t think we can beat Real Madrid, a draw will be a good result for me, but if we lost I wish people don’t start to panic, and I hope I don’t hear “3 defeats in a row” , we already knew that we have a tough schedule, playing all the top 6 of last season in the first 9 weeks, with Galatasaray (away) and Benfica in between .
    We could lose against Barca, Villarreal, Benfica & RM any season, and it wouldn’t be a big problem and we would still be able to fight for titles, it’s just that this season we had to play them in a very short period of time .

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t think Tiago and Gabi should play at the same time. Play one of them along with Saul and we’ll give away the ball way less

  • Parsa

    We don’t need to panic like this, Mostly because this was the first time we played a whole game in Simeone’s era with 4-3-3 shape. This is exactly why not every team in the world can play 4-3-3 in an effective way. The defeat made sense to me. It’s like simple math:

    4-3-3 is not just about the shape, but it’s also about the style. When you are playing with 3 men up front, you have to either press high up to pitch or make a compactness in the middle. When you are pressing from top, your whole team is shifted higher to close the spaces. In this case, You must win the ball back. If your opponent find their way out of the press, you are in big trouble. Benfica did that a lot last night! We weren’t able to make compactness either. Most of the time we were trying to press from the top and that made us tired after just 30 minutes. The thing we missed here was the Resting/Recovery period. Teams like Barcelona make their recovery with possession. They play a static possession football with making simple triangles in order to have a rest. That’s when we get bored of their game as an audience. But for them this is very vital and without it they would be dead just like us every game. We weren’t really interested to have the ball for a long time and therefore not so many triangles were made last night. The majority of the game, Possession % was like 54 to 46. Playing like this while giving your opponent nearly half of the ball is like committing a suicide. You have to at least have nearly two third of the ball in the whole match. Defending in 4-3-3 includes having the ball not just to run for it all the time. You take the ball for yourself and you don’t give permission to your opponent to maneuver, It’s a simple pattern but It’s not really as easy as it sounds. Our problem is not the quality of our players. Our problem is that we are not interested to have the ball. Just give our midfielders like Oliver and Koke freedom to have fun with the ball and then see how magical they can be.

    Even with all of our problems, We could win this game. I think Jackson was really unlucky last night. He found good chances with his great determination and good positioning. He is human and he was frustrated with his scoring drought. That affected him, You just could see this through his face. But we can be positive and take this as a good sign that 4-3-3 just suits him better. We can be a monster in attack and we showed that for about 30 minutes. We can play 4-3-3 but we have to play it in the right way.

    I don’t want to mention Cholo’s weakness in subs and comebacks again. Much has been said. I just don’t understand why he is persisting on using Vietto as a difference maker while he has done simply nothing till now! Carasco has already shown some promise and he really deserves to play much more than this. My Idea for last night was to bring him on as a midfielder. He could have a role similar to what Dimaria had in Real. I don’t think we have to use Vietto like this, We are destroying his confidence too.

    Our next game is Derby and some might say we just can’t lose that game. Well I think we can. This year we’ll have a different Laliga. In my opinion Barcelona and Real will lose more points than usual and that gives us more space to make some mistakes.Losing against Barcelona, Villareal, Benfica and Real in such a tough schedule is not a disaster, Even if 3 of them were at our home. I’m just curious to see how we will play against Real, especially after all of the interesting experiences Simeone has gained since beginning of the season…

  • Urban

    This team is a total work in progress. If we compare our results now with those from the memorable 2013/14 it is easy to see how far off we are now. We need to forget about anything else than the last game.

    Luckily, seeing what Valencia, Sevilla and Galata are doing it is hard to imagine we will not reach CL play-offs and 3rd place in leage and this (as usually) should be our season goals.

    Last season was boring. This one is gonna be frustrating and I dont know what is worse. I expect them both to end in the same manner though.

    Speaking about individual performances, I guess only Gimenez, Correa and Tiago stand out (in this order). Vietto is the biggest disappoitnment, its like playing with a man less when he is on the field. Filipe is also horrible compared to what he used to play in Atleti.

    I think Carrasco could add what we desperately need right now. He should get more minutes.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    If we compared the results with all the 3 full seasons under Simeone, this is actually his worst start of La Liga .
    But we also have to compare the opponents :
    2012-13 : Levante, Athletic, Rayo, Valladolid, Betis & Espanyol (16 pts)
    2013-14 : Sevilla, Rayo, Sociedad, Almería, Valladolid & Osasuna (18 pts)
    2014-15 : Eibar, Real Madrid, Almeria, Sevilla, Rayo & Celta (14 pts)
    In fact, looking at our first 6 opponents this season, I think the 12 points are better than the 14 of last season, because we drew with Rayo, and at home with Celta, while this season we lost against Barca, and at El Madrigal .

    Sevilla & Valencia are struggling, but if we gonna finish with less than 80 points like last season then I will be also worried from Villarreal .
    As I said many times, I think they were better than both Valencia and Sevilla last season, but they lacked the aggression those two had which reached the level of violence and bulliness in some games, they also lacked experience and they were hit very hard by injuries .

    For the CL, I’m not only confident that we will go through to the knock-out stage, but we will do it as the group leaders .
    We will beat Benfica at Estadio da Luz, the game will be in December and then they will see a different Atleti .

  • Rowly

    A few things I feel need to be mentioned…
    Similarly to Jackson Martinez, Aguero has been struggling to score for Man City this season, coincidence that they both played in the Copa America during the summer and haven’t had much of a rest for the 2nd summer in a row?
    Too much chopping & changing of personnel & formations, we need to find our best 11 and soon.
    Stop playing players out of position, Torres & Saul aren’t wide players.
    In my opinion we need to play 4-3-3 to make the most of our squad and get our most effective players on the pitch at the same time. Oblak – Juanfran-Godin-Gimenez-Luis – Koke-Gabi/Tiago-Oliver – Correa-Jackson-Griezmann.

  • Maged Lebda

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  • BKG

    Yes, and rotate the defence throughout by playing Savic and Lucas, and in January put Kranevitter on instead of Gabi/Tiago. Another option is playing 4-3-1-2. Regardless, no more players out of position and bench those playing badly when possible.

  • aileen

    I don`t intend to write Martinez off but for some inexplicable reasons Cholo was taking a risk of loosing another match putting JM in the starting eleven and -moreover keeping him in the pitch for the whole, ineffective game. Moreover he hopes that tired midfielders or a freshly introduced forward would be able to make a miracle or even a couple of miracles in ten minutes.For me it`s a complete chaos difficult to defend when we talk about such an experienced coach

  • I will agree that Carrasco and Lucas should be on the field more often.

  • We have a lot of tough games all next to each other, other than Celta, we should go on a winning spree until the winter break. We should have good form by then and then we start the cycle over and Atleti will dominate the second half of the season. I agree that Barca and Real will lose more games this season then they have in the past.

  • I completely agree with your comments on Jackson. He should have been played like Griezmann was last year. Give Torres more time on the field.

  • I agree, no need to panic, The schedule (minus Celta) should be full of victories after this weekend.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Even Celta is not a big problem, they did thrash Barca, but in the very next game they only got a draw from Eibar .

    Not denying them the credit of beating Barca, but Barca have been very vulnerable defensively with Enrique even last season despite winning the triple .
    Pique has been awful for a couple of seasons, but it seems that he will never leave Barca or La Roja, it’s like he earned a permanent seat like the 5 of the UN because of his good performances many seasons ago !
    Mathieu is not so great, Vermaelen, after many years with Arsenal, was infected with the injury virus and will never be cured, Adriano sits on the bench for long times that affect his performance, and Bartra should have never stayed one more day with them after what Bale did to him in the Cup final, I mean tackle him or grab his shirt or even his shorts, a red card is not worse than conceding a goal in the last 5 minutes of a cup final !
    Bravo is good, bot not a world class, and I really don’t understand what many people see in ter Stegen .

    If Simeone played football against Barca, we could have scored 4 goals just like Sevilla, Athletic & Celta, and just like we did against a very defensively weakened Real Madrid last season .

  • Urban

    Now we are playing Real and I wonder if we are going to make the same mistake of shitting our pants before the game has even started or if we rather actually try to win this. I really really really hope for the latter.

    Considering the difficult moment we are in right now, the derby might be one of the games I describe as “season defining”.

  • Chewie

    Benfica fed us our own medicine – playing wide counter-attacking football and then cleverly defending the score. All the negative sides have been discussed – the chaos in passing, Jackson who doesn’t threaten the goal, the horrible Saul and strange choice of subs, even mistakes by super-reliable Godin and Oblak, and the under-performing Filipe. Plus, the players slipped way too many times – was there something wrong with the pitch? Overall, I just hope we’re not becoming like Arsenal who have a solid team but just can’t transform their quality into wins and trophies.

    On the positive side, Jackson is obviously a very athletically and technically skilled player, Correa is fantastic even during the bad days, and Griezmann is persistent as hell. I think the game in general is improving but bad luck and poor choices take their toll. Has anyone mentioned the referee who should’ve sent Eliseu off?

    Anyway, looking forward to the derby, hope Simeone learns from the last two defeats and plays a more ballsy football.

  • Urban

    Totally agree, with one reservation. When Koke returns he should bench Saul, not Tiago. The trio in the middle should be Tiago, Koke, Oliver.