Player ratings: Atleti snap Sociedad unbeaten streak

We analyse the performance in Tuesday night's win over La Real

Saúl impressed against the Basque side

Saúl impressed against the Basque side

Los Colchoneros built on their win at the Santiago Bernabéu at the weekend by hosting Real Sociedad and beating them 3-0.

As soon as Saúl’s shot in the opening minutes went over the right post, you thought it was going to be another night where chances came and none are executed.

However, after Koke’s low-cross to Luciano Vietto resulted in a Diego Reyes own goal early in the first half, there was a feeling things would change at the Vicente Calderon and they did.

Saúl and Antoine Griezmann both scored in the second half, and things looked grim for Real Sociedad who were left with the near impossible task of coming back against the best defense in Europe.

They didn’t even come close and as a result the rojiblancos snapped their five game unbeaten streak.

Read on to see how we rated the players:

Jan Oblak – 5

If you feel as though Jan Oblak has the easiest goalkeeper job in Spain, you’re not alone. The Slovenian faced no shots from the visitors as his outfield players were always controlling the spaces on the pitch.

Juanfran – 7

The Spaniard controls his flank in a two-way manner that is truly underrated in world football. He’s been consistent throughout the season and his opponent’s on Tuesday night surely noticed. He was a threat throughout with great movement and even offered some decent footwork for all to see:

Diego Godín – 6

Two missed chances in the penalty area in the first half will hurt the Uruguayan in our ranking. Although a center-back’s first and foremost responsibility is to keep balls out of the back of the net, Godín is still expected to score from set-pieces. Other than the offensive slip-ups, he was good at the back until Lucas Hernández came in for him in the 55th minute.

José Giménez – 6 

Let’s be honest, Atleti weren’t tested too much and Oblak wasn’t the only one who had to do little work. Giménez benefitted from his team’s efforts on the offensive and did a good job on quiet night. He looked comfortable keeping the line organized after Godín came off.

Filipe Luís – 7

The Brazilian fullback had a good night. He defended well, and offered up great creative chances around the penalty area. In the 80th minute he displayed some Samba skills only to see Vietto fail to capitalize on his creation.

Koke – 7 

He’s an engine room tactician through and through and although he may have gotten lucky on his low-cross that bounced off Diego Reyes, it was the good look that counts. Koke worked hard all game and was involved in building up plays all over the pitch.

Gabi – 6 

The Captain is a staple on the club’s hard working ethos and showed the Calderon why on Tuesday. He looked great in this particular midfield selection.

Augusto Fernández – 6 

He’s been outstanding for Atleti, and his return to the lineup after injury was a blessing for Simeone. Tactically he’s brilliant and knows how to join the attack. Sociedad were really stretched out in the middle, and he’s a huge reason why.

Saúl – 7 (Man of the match)

The highly touted Spaniard showed his brilliance when he scored a one-touch beauty off a Vietto chip-pass to start the second half with a bang. He was aggressive until the final whistle blew and showed that he is improving his attacking qualities.

Antoine Griezmann – 6 

Our go-to hitman had an average night other than his perfect execution on his penalty kick. The Frenchmen should be glad his team found a way to add goals to the scoreboard.

Luciano Vietto – 7

Vietto’s assist on Saúl’s goal was a beauty and showed his vision, especially since he had to pass back to the top of the penalty area on the play. Excellent movement on the night.


Lucas Hernández – 5

The junior player was subbed in after his side were already up 2-0. Simeone made a good decision to give the 20 year-old time to play. He wasn’t really tested but looked confident in his defensive readings.

Ángel Correa – 5

The Argentine came on for Griezmann and didn’t really impact the game as he usually does. Nothing special from the South American.

Óliver Torres – 6

Tactically he may be a ways off from his more regular midfield teammates, but it is his ability to create and join attacks that sets him apart. Real Sociedad were at times left scrambling trying to cover the 21 year-old.

Do you agree with our ratings? Who was your man of the match?

  • Kris

    Bitter I only got to see this match in bits in the second half, but that’s okay. Glad we won the match, and from what I’ve read it was a dominant match from Atleti.
    Augusto seems to become even more important with every match he plays. The way he creates space sitting deep and moves the ball forward from the deep allows us to play a bit more attack.
    It’s doing great damage to start Saul in the wings, he HAS to play in the center of the pitch and run up and down the field(even though, that’s what he seems to be doing now in the free “winger” role) and score goals that way. A box-to-box midfielder with his strength and space, although he definitely has a lot to improve in his passing.
    I don’t understand why the fuck Oliver doesn’t get more minutes man, he’s so brilliant. Even more so now that he seems to get more and more involved in attacks than before – he’s actually trying to make shit happen more than he’s done before. And his ability to hold the ball. But then I guess I do understand why, he’s more offensive than he is defensive as a midfielder and Simeone HAS to have four CMs in the field at once, smh.
    Man, those little clips of Juanfran and Filipe made me realize why Simeone makes even his strikers defend. If his full backs run up and down the field the WHOLE match — to defend and to attack, why can’t the other players? That’s probably what goes through Simeone’s head.
    I would love for one of you guys to analyze deeply the defensive structure and pressing, and the ability to regroup quickly in Atleti’s game

  • Carlo Valladares

    Thanks Kris, glad you liked my piece. Yes, our midfield played their best game of the season today, or at least one of them. I agree about Oliver, he’s such a threat on the offensive, he needs to play more. But I understand that Simeone wants midfielders to all be tactically sound.

    Yeah, I had to add my Vines of Filipe and Juanfran, they were great. Listen, i’ll be doing in-depth stuff like that in the near future. Follow me on TWitter if you can – @C_V_News and keep reading AtleticoFans!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    All our players are underappreciated by Spanish Madrid-Catalan media and global Messi-Ronaldo media, but some of our players are underappreciated even by many of our own fans, like Juanfran .
    He never receives the same appreciation Filipe gets although they are a mirror image .
    Beside, Juanfran did not leave us for a year for more money, and he did got offers .

  • AaX

    Atleti runs almost 10 km more than any other team every game. Combine that with unrelenting disciplined focus every minute of the 90 to maintain a 2 defensive walls of 4 players together near and tight, everybody have to be either a Maradona or Messi to be able to pass through (as how Di Maria did that night). But it now seems that even Messi also wasn’t as successful.

    In this tight formation, every moment an opportunity to win the ball arises, (mind you Atleti’s is one of the quickest in reaction), 2 Atleti players will pounce in while the others will anticipate to cover. There is a higher rate of winning the ball back in this way and this is usually how our counter attacking moves are launched. Everytime one got beaten there will immediately be two players come in to recover the ball or the space while the shape of the team not compromised.

    The formation is based on 2 inexhaustible wing backs (Juanfran, Filepe) covered by 2 defensive mids when going into attack, (Gabi and Augusto). The other two remaining mids (Koke and Saul) become free attacking mid whom are not particularly assigned to either wings. They can be anywhere.(And Saul is good positioning into the box) This adds more unpredictability to the attack.

    Offensively, One of the two forward (Torres) runs to open up space in the opponents half and one of them (Griezmann) tracks down to defend and to link up with the midfield when an attack is launched.

    And finally, the Central Defences will anticipate and quickly sweep of any possible break created by the opponent’s forwards which are usually steered off to either the left or right flank because of the presence of the def mids in the centre, best exemplified by Godin.

    The key attribute of this team is their hardworking attitude of unrelenting intense and focus defending a tightly formed walls of 4 Defenders and 4 Midfielders side by side of each other. The remaining two Forwards are SOLELY there cause all manner of problems to the opponents.

    So far, This is the best analysis I can give based on the 4-4-2 or 4-2-2-2 formation.
    It seems to me this formation best suit our abilities and current style of play.


  • AaX

    MY CURRENT RATINGS OF LA LIGA TOP 5 (Out of 5 Stars) :

    Defense ; 4 Stars Midfield : 4 Attack : 5
    Tactical : 4

    Atletico de Madrid
    Defense : 5 STARS Midfield : 4 Attack : 3
    Tactical ; 3.5

    Real Madrid
    Defense : 3.5 Midfield : 4 Attack : 4.5
    Tactical : 3.5

    Defence : 4.5 Midfield : 3.5 Attack : 3.5
    Tactical : 4

    Defence : 3.5 Midfield : 4 Attack : 3.5
    Tactical : 4

  • Urban

    Augusto turns out to be an insipired signing. He slotted in perfectly. I also loved Vietto yesterday. Great movement, holding on to the ball, assist. Now he only has to find the back of the net.

    Saul is showing that he can be a world class player and a key person for us. It is amazing we are betting on the young lads.

  • Carlo Valladares

    Thanks Kris, glad you liked my piece. Yes, our midfield played their best game of the season today, or at least one of them. I agree about Oliver, he’s such a threat on the offensive, he needs to play more. But I understand that Simeone wants midfielders to all be tactically sound.

    Yeah, I had to add my Vines of Filipe and Juanfran, they were great. Listen, i’ll be doing in-depth stuff like that in the near future. Follow me on TWitter if you can – @C_V_News and keep reading AtleticoFans!

  • Ringo

    I think Juanfran and Filipe get the same level of appreciation, Juanfran even more since last season, perhaps, with his ever growing level.

    And I’m still convinced Filipe didn’t do it for the money, even if Chelsea is of a lower level (which could be debatable, though). Juanfran just realized what he really wanted sooner, which can be a very hard thing to know about yourself.
    In a way, his sabbatical strengthened Filipe’s love for this club. That’s how it seems to me, at least.

    All in all I think we should be very happy about possibly having the best wingback couple in the world. Both showing some excellent dribbling yesterday, too. And who gives a heck about that media. They’re subjective and pretty useless when you think about it. Atleti doesn’t need them. Focusing on them will just piss you off, and who needs that, right 🙂

  • Ringo

    The showings against Real and La Real were kind of showing the positive sides of Simeone’s tactics. Griezmann seemed to have more freedom to do his thing, as well. Although he didn’t score, I think he was actually playing one of his better games, losing the ball less than he did the previous months and finding his teammates more.

    Although again he worked very hard, I thought Vietto was pretty off. He sees where to run, but he’s still a little clumsy in his touches and oftentimes doesn’t seem to understand some of the other players. Especially Griezmann seemed put off by this two or three times. In the second half he was improving, but outside of his assist, he doesn’t look around him as much as could be useful.

    Correa on the other hand, though, seemed more composed than before. He seems to become more part of the team and its tactics, making less mistakes by rushing into things. His dribbling wasn’t on his own top levels, but it looks like the next few percent of improvement skillwise will mean a lot of improvement in the effectivity department. Same for Óliver, I think. His offensive positioning was pretty solid already, but seems to be improving and his defensive positioning even more so. Soon might be less dependent on a 4-3-3esque formation to be on a high level. With Simeone on the wheel, that might prove essential.

    Hope to see more of them in the coming months and I would be very surprised if they won’t improve on their amount of minutes in the coming season. Although they seem to be proving otherwise, Gabi, Koke and Saúl’s lung capacities arent infinite.

  • Ringo

    You’d think with your deep analysis of our tactical game, combined with our 3star attack and 2nd place on the league table (aka results), that our tactical rating would be way higher haha

  • Usavicente Calderon

    Too bad Augusto earned an unneeded yellow. We were up 3 – 0. No need to foul like that. But I agree. Augusto was a brilliant signing. He fits the system perfectly. Time to give Saul the raise he wants and deserves. Atletico need to keep him.

  • Usavicente Calderon

    Carlo Valladare: thanks for giving the extra love to Filipe and JuanFran. Over the last two games, they completely deserve it. I think the return of Filipe only makes both Filipe and JuanFran better. Maybe the powers at be should invent a new position called “Defensive Winger.” They are killing it like they did in 2013-2014. With their threat of bringing the ball successfully down, opens up the middle. Too much for defenses to cover. Atletico should start scoring more.

  • Kris

    Yes, I enjoyed your “debut” piece on Gimenez and Saul.

    This website over the years has had several different writers, they all do a very good job with the routine posts but I haven’t really seen very many in-depth posts. Especially on tactics. I realize the writers on this site are just writing here because of their love for Atleti, and sometimes, if it’s not too much to ask for, I think many people on this website would enjoy insightful posts.

    Also, not sure if you’re familiar with this but one ex-contributor by the name of Martin Rosenow on this site would regularly publish a piece a day after each match called “The Red and White Aftermath” or “El Dia Despues”. This included reactions after the match, some good numbers, quotes, and all that good stuff. It was a popular weekly piece.
    Check out the last ‘Aftermath’ Rosenow did:

    I can’t follow you on Twitter, but I am always going to be on AtleticoFans.

  • Kris

    Thanks. I think Vietto isn’t going to be the great focal player we need, although I think he can definitely play as a ‘false 9.’ He can score goals, he scored plenty at Villarreal. He just needs to position himself better and get used to the idea that he’s not going to be fed the ball as much as he would be elsewhere as a striker. Which sucks for a striker, but he’s 22, and he has great room for improvement and adaptation, whereas Jackson…
    His holdup and buildup play is pretty good, he just lacks chemistry with the other players. How do you get that? Through more playing time, which he is clearly lacking atm. If Cholo did some more attacking routines during training, we might actually become better. I am not too worried about Vietto though; he has four or five assists and three goals. All that matters is he’s contributing to the team. I think Vietto is really going to start hitting the numbers next season and don’t be surprised if he starts bagging some towards the end of this season. He needs minutes and to not let the frustration get to him. I really hope he doesn’t leave after this season, I really believe he can become a great.

  • AaX

    The rating is down to some of Simeone’s decisions or shall I say indecisions.

  • AaX

    Actually that perfectly describes Juanfran. He was a Winger in Osasuna (I think) before Simeone transformed him to Wing Back, but I’d say it’s Juanfran positive spirit and professionalism that made him what he is today and will continue on to be, Spain’s right back as one of the best in the World. Filipe is just starting to get back to his best because this what happened when you are put on the bench for a WHOLE Season. You need at least half a season to regain back your game and now he looks Increasingly Confident.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    To be fair, Manzano was the first to play Juanfran as a right back .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I really really hope that Vietto won’t be judged by his number of goals at the end of this season, he is doing every thing else, and I’m sure the goals will come with the factors you mentioned : adaptation, chemistry with his teammates, more minutes (he played only 1174 out of 3600, 32 %) and let me add : more muscles and more character, sometimes I feel he gets bullied by defenders, maybe he should learn from Correa and becomes a little dirty ?!!

  • Chewie

    I don’t think muscle is the problem. Look at Griezmann and Correa, even Saul, though he’s taller. You can even remember the younger Aguero. Vietto just isn’t tough. I too feel that he gets bullied too easily, but when it comes to toughness, he’s in the right hands, so I’d just wait and watch him transform into a real hombre under Simeone’s, Burgos’s and El Profe’s guidance.

  • Othman

    You are right, but this is exactly what I responded to you when we were talking about Jackson,, you gave me stats, I told you we should also look at what he is doing during the game, plus adaptation period.
    I am happy to see you using those argument now.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Look, I never denied that Jackson was doing a lot of work to help the team, but you must never forget that he is 8 years older than Vietto, 15 million more expensive than him, and until he left he got more chances than all of our other strikers but yet his numbers was the worst .

    I can be patient on Vietto, Correa, Borja, even Torres who cost practically nothing and is paid half of Jackson’s salary, and -on paper- he was our third choice striker .

    I don’t have even 1 % doubt that the club did the right thing selling Jackson to Guangzhou, where he hasn’t scored any goals yet after 3 games, where he played all the 270 minutes .

  • Carpetano

    Well, if Filipe didn’t move to Chelsea only for the money, then how come the Brazilian refused the improved contract Atleti offered to him after the CL-final?

  • Ringo

    A new/another challenge perhaps in the other ‘best league in the world,’ perhaps? That he declined a pay raise here, which would probably have him close to a Chelsealike salary, actually proves that even more, I’d think.

    If it was only for the money, he would have gladly stayed on the London bench, stacking up his account doing nothing. Or he would have moved to one of the rich Chinese, Emirate, Qatari, American, whatever, clubs.

    It’s not that weird people want to join one of the BPL top sides (not considering this season lol), I’d definitely consider such a move, as well, and Atleti is my favorite team by far, easily. Some people want more than just one adventure, even if such dreams are misjudged, like was the case with Filipe.

    One of my favorite sides of our management is that they don’t force players to stay if they want the taste of another pie. Yes, he left our left wing weakened, but a relationship has two sides, not just the club and Filipe is allowed to venture into his dreams when he has the opportunity to do so.

    I am extremely happy that he came back, though. Siqueira was okay, but Filipe is on a whole other level, even if he always needs quite some time to adjust.

  • Ringo

    I had faith in Jackson, but sadly that didn’t come through. I hope he starts finding his way soon. He seemed like a nice guy. Maybe something outside of football is bothering him… who knows. You don’t lose all of your skills out of nowhere.