Player ratings: Torres secures the points at San Mamés

Our analysis as Atleti win another crucial match in race for the La Liga title

Torres scored the winner, but who was our man of the match?

Torres scored the winner, but who was our man of the match?

Atlético Madrid kept their nerve and grinded out a huge 1-0 win at San Mamés on Wednesday, as Fernando Torres’ well taken first half goal earned all three points against Athletic Bilbao.

It was Torres’ fifth goal in as many matches, and one that ensures that the rojiblancos remain level on points with leaders Barcelona heading into the final four games of the season.

Read on to see our player ratings:

Jan Oblak – 7

Really had to be alert tonight against a team who love to play the ball into the box and put pressure on the goalkeeper. He came through in style, taking a number of crosses and making smart saves to make sure of the win.

Juanfran – 7

I’m not sure there has been a game this season where Juanfran has failed to defend brilliantly and get forward at every opportunity. Tonight was no different, his consistency is unparalleled.

Diego Godín – N/A

Forced off inside ten minutes with a hamstring injury. Was able to walk off the pitch and watch from the bench, but is a serious doubt now for both matches against Bayern. Should be scanned tomorrow.

Stefan Savic – 7

Showed that he is a more than capable replacement for Godín alongside Lucas, neither of whom put a foot wrong all night against a physical Athletic side. Just have to hope he can stay fit now…

Filipe Luís – 8

Had a really good game particularly in defence,enjoying a lively battle with De Marcos in which he came out on top. Carries the ball so well and wins countless tackles, and is looking better with every game after a subdued start to the season.

Augusto Fernández – 7

Replaced Gabi with minimal fuss. Moved the ball well, and has an uncanny habit of being in the right place at the right time, winning tackles and making important interceptions. Could have a big role to play in coming weeks.

Koke – 7

Took over the armband after Godín went off, although was slightly quieter than he has been in recent weeks. Still, did a good job of helping us manage to game and play out time, using his physical and technical qualities to his advantage.

Saúl Ñíguez – 7

Wasn’t too involved in the first half, but was brilliant in the second. Does so much good work off the ball that goes unnoticed, and wins an incredible amount of aerial duels. Del Bosque would be mad not to take him to the Euro’s.

Thomas Partey – 6

It was a big call for Simeone to put him in the team, and it just about paid off. Involved in the goal, but was sloppy in possession at times. Athletic fans not happy as he looked to put the ball in the net with Iraizoz down injured, but it didn’t affect the match.

Antoine Griezmann – 6

Quiet for his standards, but claims an assist with a delightfully weighted ball over the top which Torres headed home. His work-rate and runs off the ball occupied the Athletic defence, although he couldn’t threaten their goal himself.

Fernando Torres – 7

Makes such a difference to have a quality striker leading the line, and in his current form, Torres is more than that. Took his goal superbly and was involved throughout. Has cemented his place in the starting XI now.


Lucas Hernández – 8 (Man of the match)

Came on for Godín early on, and put in a performance reminiscent of the Uruguayan. San Mamés is a tough place to play but was un-phased, showing experience beyond his years with a faultless showing. Always decisive and reads the game so well, huge prospect.

Yannick Carrasco – 6

Came on to add a threat on the counter, but was kept at arms length by the home side for most of his time on the pitch. Did have two good chances to kill the game, the first of which was well saved by Iraizoz, the second he inadvertently spooned over the top.

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

  • Nick Lawley

    MOTM was Filipe Luis for me. Such a hard working performance!

  • Karlp

    Always tight and scrappy games against Bilbao, despite that I think the team plays well.

    Although we mostly defend, we were always in control of the game.

    MOTM Augusto, slowly becoming one of my favorite Atleti man.

    Very good play also from Lucas, Savic, and Filipe.

    I always know that Savic is really good, so my expectation is always high for him, but Lucas really exceeds my expectation in this game.

    Have to give a shout-out for Torres also, 1 clear chance and 1 goal. Very efficient and very happy for him.

    On another note, in a game where we defend deep like this, I hope we have 1 player that dribbles really good like Isco so we can build-up a counter attack better. Carrasco although have a good pace, don’t have a good control on the ball yet. I know player like Isco doesn’t come cheap. However, it’s not good that our best dribbler besides Griezmann is our left back.

    Also, I think Tomas has a real potential. However in some games I think he is not ready enough for this level of play. Maybe another loan for him will be good. He is also the kind of player that needs a bit of space, like Yaya Toure.

  • thericeking

    this match has shown me we are pretty bad at throw-ins.

  • nandes

    barça got that morale boosting win they so badly needed, can’t see any of the other teams troubling them now – maybe sporting and granada if they go all out to avoid relegation. but still, partido a partido.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Yeah, I thought that two, until I had a closer look at this gesture on Barca’s bench tonight, they were clearly talking about our game, and they didn’t seem happy about the result, although they were already leading 4-0 .

    In weeks 36 & 37 of 2013/14, the big three played 7 games (Real had a delayed one and played it between those two weeks) and they didn’t win a single one .
    And none of those 7 games was -on paper- a difficult one :
    Levante 2-0 Atleti – Atleti 1-1 Malaga
    Barca 2-2 Getafe – Elche 0-0 Barca
    RM 2-2 Valencia – Valladolid 1-1 RM – Celta 2-0 RM

    It is not over yet .

  • Kris

    Lol 0-1 ?

  • 21st clean sheet. I knew after we scored that Simeone would hit default and sit back. Our defensive form is great.

  • Koke

    Yeah, it’s such a bummer that they got their confidence back at their lowest point. The thing is though, I don’t think anything changed – all of their weaknesses are still there in full, one win won’t change that. The only weakness that was eliminated in this match was their low confidence.

    If Depor had taken their chances early in the game they might have tied or won. Barca crumble at the very first ounce of adversity. Such embarrassing mentality. The remainder of this season is frustrating, because our future isn’t really in our hands as much as it is in Barca’s. All we can do is win, win, win, win, win, and hope. If Barca wins all their remaining games then there’s nothing we can do but call it a good fight.

    Anyway, I have a feeling Espanyol might have something to say about the title race. They HATE barca, more than any team besides Real Madrid, and always go from average players to superhumans in the derby. Imagine them relishing the thought of stealing the Liga away from their arch rivals… that might be a game to watch

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Few days ago Chewie said that the toughest game for Barca is the one against Gijon, and I said no, it’s the one in Riazor, it’s a very difficult stadium, Real Madrid had a
    17-games non-winning streak there .
    Yeah, a streak that ended a decade ago ! while in their last game there they also scored 8 goals .. what the hell was I thinking ?!!

    That was embarrassing, and it could be more embarrassing if Gjion succeeded to get at least a point from Camp Nou, because I also said it will never happen and they will get thrashed … let’s all wish that I will get embarrassed .

    It will be a very awkward situation for Halilovic if he played, and that’s why I’m on the English FA side in banning loanees from playing against their parent clubs .

  • BlasiusMagnus

    3 things i loved about this match:

    1. torres scoring once again
    2. lucas hernandez
    3. koke wearing the captain armband

  • Karlp

    Just read that Saul 40% ownership was also sold, like Koke’s 30%.
    I dont understand the management. Hope both never left

  • atleti10

    Awful business.

    It makes no sense at all. The only positive is that it forces us to hold onto both Saul and Koke. I can honestly see the two of them retiring at Atletico. In which I case it would be fantastic business, theres no middle ground.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    That’s how much we were desperate for cash three or four years ago, and it wasn’t too much cash actually, 3 million for 30 % of Koke’s rights, 1.5 million for 40 % Saul’s rights, and I remember reading in MARCA in 2012 that we sold 25 % of Oliver’s rights to one of Jorge Mendes’s companies for 5 million (if that number is true it means that Oli was the most promising one of the three, which he was, and I think he still is) .

    Gil Marin said in an interview that he got a second mortgage on his house and pumped the money into the club .
    And do you remember when we had no shirt sponsor in 2011/12 ?! or when the club offered to put the fans photos on the numbers on the players shirts for 5 Euro per photo ?!
    That how bad our financial situation was, but I still believe we shouldn’t sold any of our players rights .
    We got couple of millions, but if we sold those players, those investment funds will get tens of millions, and if we didn’t sell any of them they will still get a lot of money according to some conditions in the contracts, like if they renewed with us two or three times, or if we rejected an offer that pleases those funds .

    That’s why those funds should be banned, they do not help the clubs as Javier Tebas -who is defending them very strongly- keep saying .

    Gil Marin sold big shares of the rights of very promising players for very few millions, but he spent 10 million on John Heitinga, 10 million on Sinama-Pongolle (while we already had Forlan & Aguero), 2 million on the shitty Grégory Coupet, and the list is long .

    Gil should buy back those rights immediately, because the longer he waits the higher we will pay those thieves .

  • Karlp

    O the old days… The president clearly isn’t the smartest tool 🙁
    And now the words are Oliver will be used as a make bargain for Bakambu. Please just use Vietto, not Oliver. Or just loan Oliver.