Griezmann at the double as Atlético claim vital first win

Koke and Correa also on target as rojiblancos beat Celta 4-0 at Balaídos

Atleti ran riot in the second half

Atleti ran riot in the second half

Atlético Madrid returned to winning ways in rampant fashion on Saturday afternoon, winning 4-0 against Celta Vigo at Balaídos thanks to an impressive second half showing.

Koke broke the deadlock shortly after the break, before a double from Antoine Griezmann and Ángel Correa’s late strike secured a result that puts a message out to the rest of La Liga following our poor start to the season.

Simeone had taken criticism from some for his negative approach in the first two games against Alavés and Leganés, but opted for more firepower with his line-up in Galicia going for three attackers rather than two.

However, it took a while for his changes to have the desired effect with a first half similar to the ones we produced before the international break.

Celta had the better of the opening 45 minutes and could’ve gone into the break in front, with Josep Señé and Theo Bongonda both squandering one-on-one opportunities having gotten in behind the Atleti backline.

The rojiblancos looked sloppy, and must’ve been given quite the talking to by Simeone during the interval as they looked a completely different side in the second half, with a renewed hunger and sense of enthusiasm.

Eight minutes after coming back out, Koke put the visitors into the lead after a wonderful cross from Antoine Griezmann, finishing at the back post after Celta had switched off.

That was a sign of things to come, and Eduardo Berizzo’s side were fortunate not to fall further behind when Yannick Carrasco rounded the ‘keeper and was sent to ground by Hugo Mallo, only to see the referee wave play on.

Substitute Kevin Gameiro then inexplicably hit the post with the goal gaping, but his compatriot Griezmann made no mistake shortly after with a fine header from Saúl’s excellent right-footed cross.

Griezmann struck again with a similar headed effort ten minutes from the end, before Ángel Correa completed the scoring with an emphatic finish at the back post after good work from Koke and Gameiro.

It was a result and performance that had been a long time coming for Cholo’s men, providing a much needed morale boost ahead of the start of the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Atleti will travel to PSV with a spring in their step on the back of this win, and will then look to make up ground at the top of La Liga as quickly as possible – starting at home to Sporting Gijón next Saturday.

Player ratings

Jan Oblak – 6

Wasn’t called into action too often, but made some good catches and was alert when needed to be.

Juanfran – 6

Started sloppily like many others in the team, but improved in the second half and assisted Griezmann’s second goal with an excellent cross.

Diego Godín – 7

Won all of the aerial battles and made sure the defence stayed secure as the team went on attack in the second half.

Stefan Savic – 7

Like Godín, he was attentive at all times and made some important challenges and interceptions. Looks to have cemented his status as first choice.

Filipe Luís – 7

Our most impressive performer so far this season. Great outlet on the ball once again and provided a useful outlet in attack in the second half.

Gabi – 7

Much better than in the opening two matches. Went about his job quietly but held the midfield and got through a lot of work against a tough opponent.

Koke – 7

Carried his international form into this match, covering a lot of ground and claiming a deserved goal and assist. When he plays, the team plays.

Saúl Ñíguez – 7

So mature for his age, providing a great physical presence and using the ball so well. Wonderful skill and assist for the second goal.

Yannick Carrasco – 6

Worked hard as usual and looked the make things happen, but didn’t have much luck. Hugely unfortunate not to win a penalty in the second half.

Antoine Griezmann – 8 (Man of the match)

Quiet in the first half, but proved his worth after the break with two trademark goals and a delightful assist. Responded well to backlash from his comments after the Leganés match.

Fernando Torres – 5

Pretty ineffective for the most part. Made some good runs but wasn’t really the match for him, team picked up when Gameiro came on.

Subs

Kevin Gameiro – 7

Putting his miss aside, this was a real positive performance from Gameiro. Caused problems with his pace and skill and was involved in the third and fourth goal.

Ángel Correa – 7

Picked up his usual needless booking, but opened his account for the season with a confident finish at the back post – the type he may have snatched at in the past.

Tiago – 6

Not overly involved, but made a crucial late block to deny Rossi a consolation goal for Celta. Still defying his years at 35.

What did you make of the performance today? Do you agree with our ratings?


  • Usavicente Calderon

    I completely disagree on Corrasco. For the entire first half, he was the only player on the field. He didn’t score but the team let him down. How can you give Tiago a 6 and Corrasco a 6. WRONG! Gameiro should have no higher than a 6 because he missed an easy goal. That type of goal is why they brought him on. But since we won by 4 goals, it will be over looked.

    Glad we won with authority. Correa should start playing in every game. Fine don’t start him, but he needs to be on the field more. I think we all said this last year. Real M. only beat Celta 2-1. That should give us more confidence. The scoring has started and now it won’t stop. Griezmann talked the talk last week after the game, glad he showed up and proved a point. My question is, should Griezmann be the Captain?

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    When Grizi scored a hat-trick at San Mames he wasn’t benched again (benching him wasn’t just a mistake, it was a crime), now after this away 4-0 win, would it be the end of the 4 CMs ?!
    4 CMs against Alaves & Leganes was also a crime, each of them had only one shot on Oblak’s goal, Celta also had one shot on target today, so let’s stop being cowards .

    By the way, this is the first time we score 4 goals away since that game at San Mames when Simeone was “forced” to start with Grizi because Mandzukic was suspended !

    The other good thing than starting with “only” 3 CMs was that we kept looking for more goals and didn’t sit back and defend the 1-0 .

    However, we shouldn’t get so excited, there are still several things that I’m not happy about, like not giving any minute to Gaitan, and starting with Torres instead of Gameiro, and you know I’m one of Torres’s biggest fans, but Gameiro should be the starter, he is younger, more in-shape and he needs to build confidence, we can’t let him end up like Jackson while we are under a transfer ban, because then our first choice striker next season will be Borre !
    I believe in Gameiro, and I will not judge him by his first 3 games or by the easy chance he missed today, which was probably because the big pressure he is under .
    I also don’t like that Correa is getting only 20 minutes, and not even every game, and I don’t like that Saul is getting 90 minutes every game, even if I’m the only man on earth who isn’t amazed by him .

    And let’s put some points in perspective : Celta have lost all their 3 games, and today they looked very submissive, the game could have ended 5-0 or 6-0 .
    And 3 of our 4 goals came from long crosses, that’s fine, but in other games when the opponent park the bus, like Alaves and Leganes, crosses will probably not work, we need other solutions, we need a plan B and a plan C, Gaitan and Correa can offer those solutions, but they need to play a lot of minutes .

    Last thing : last season I kept asking to give Savic more chances, now I’m asking to give Gimenez more chances, I know that El Cholo likes to stabilize his back 4, but rotation is not a choice, you have to rotate, to keep some players fit and fresh, and to keep others happy and in-form .

  • Kris

    Seriously hope Gimenez starts at PSV. I wanted Savic to start over Gimenez some games last season, but Gimenez is faster and stronger than Savic and he is more suitable for games where we are the ones playing, and not the ones being played. Against Barca, Bayern, start Savic. But against Celta, PSV where there are threats of counter attacks when everybody else is playing up top- play J.M.G.

    But, I guess we’ll always find something to complain about. Just as long as the players are happy, I am happy.

    BTW, Barca just lost against Deportivo Alaves at the Camp Nou. At least we tied. lol. Force to be reckon with. Our Theo Hernandez played for Alaves against Barcelona at left-back and got some HUGE experience playing against some of the finest footballers in the world.

    Santos Borre also played well for Villarreal winning a penalty and setting up a fine assist. Borre is gonna turn out good for us.

    Good day today.

  • Kris

    Unfortunately, that’s not how things work at Atletico in terms of captaincy. Generally, it’s the players who have been at the club the longest.

    But, Griezmann is already captain in every other way. A leader on the field. Game changer. I am really in favor of Griezmann not having to track back as much as he does right now to conserve energy for him to be able to come up with magical plays later on in the game. He is totally capable, and we might be able to see the best of him if he maintains a high level of energy throughout the match. But, that’s never going to happen with Griezmann. He loves running and he loves being the hardest working motherfucker on the pitch. He also makes the smartest runs, and his positioning is spot on! Nobody is as good as him in those aspects of the game except for maybe Suarez.

    In the Simeone era, have we had a footballer as good as Griezmann that has such an overall impact on the team? I love this guy and want him to continue playing for us for the rest of his career. Or at least for this season and the next, pleeeeeeeease!!

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    If we are demanding more minutes for Gimenez then what will we do about Lucas ?!
    I don’t think Josema was happy after being benched for three games, and I hate to lose such a great player .
    It’s a tough task to keep all players happy and at the same time keep the team intact and keep winning games and titles, but some coaches maneged to achieve that, like sir Alex .

    I liked Theo very much in the preseason, I think he is even more promising than his brother .
    One of the greatest times for our academy .

    I’m not sure though about Borre, didn’t convince me in the preseason, in the second leg against Monaco he was trending worldwide on twitter, because he made a horrible game, according to them, I didn’t watch the game .
    However, some people liked him in other games that I didn’t watch either, but to be honest, I can’t be impartial with him, I just don’t like Mendes’s players, they are either flops, or good but don’t stay too long .

    Oli scored tonight by the way, he looked very happy, which made me very happy, and Jota made his debut, so yeah, not a bad day .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Seniority is a factor when choosing the captain, at Atleti and at most other teams, but it’s not the only factor, that would be Egypt, the national team and most of the clubs, if the second GK who plays only 5 games a season started a game and he was at the club before Aboutrika or Ahmad Hassan, then he is their captain .
    In the first 6 official games under our new national team manager Hector Cuper, we had 6 different captains, he was still searching for his best team and using many players since we have a young team and a new generation, and didn’t appoint a captain, not sure if he didn’t try to pick someone, like Salah or El Neny or if he wasn’t allowed to .
    And as a result, our national team is a bunch of great talents but without a leadership, without a character, because our coach has weak personality, something that makes me appreciate Simeone even more .
    Anyway, Koke, our third captain wasn’t the most senior when he was picked, Mario had more seniority, Torres has much more seniority but Koke is still the 3rd captain after Torres has comeback .

    And I don’t know why did you say “unfortunately”, I don’t want Grizi to become a captain right now, I think it will be a burden above of what he already has, and he doesn’t need an armband to be the team’s leader, or to feel appreciated .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Great point about Grizi’s positioning man, I think people don’t talk enough about that, and I think he is even better than Suarez in that aspect, he is always at the right place and the right time, look at his second goal against Germany in the EURO, his first goal against Malaga and against Depor away in 2014/15, and many other goals.
    In the corners, throw-ins (Gamez throw-ins) and free-kicks, the second ball always goes to him, I don’t know how ?!!

    And my answer to your question is no, we didn’t have a better player than Grizi in the Simeone era, not even Falcao who scored 70 goals in 90 games, because he had Arda, Diego Ribas, Diego Costa, Adrian at his peak, a younger Gabi and a younger Tiago, while Grizi played in front of 4 CMs, played next to slow Mandzukic, to Jackson and Vietto, to not so great Version of Torres, played a whole season without Filipe, but yet he kept scoring goals left and right and leading us to victory after another.

    And that’s coming from someone who can be so harsh, who doesn’t like Carrasco and not a big fan of Saul, so it should mean something.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Just watched Oliver’s goal, it was a shot from Otavinho that hit Oli in the back and made a deflection, but it was put under his name !!
    Still, a goal is a goal, isn’t it ?!

  • Dawa

    I don’t think griezmann should be the captain. He is, doubtless, one of the most influential player in our team and a leader on the pitch. But I’m already resigned to the fact that he will probably leave for another club. One where his chances of securing trophies are easier. And I think it’s important to have stability in a team, especially in terms of captains. I love Gabi. And he’ll probably be our captain for next season as well. Besides Koke should be our next long term captain. He’s a great player and also a youth academy product. I think he will stick with atletico through thick and thin.

  • AndersAT

    I agree. If Grizi stays for a long time then perhaps. I like that the captain is a midfielder who is always close to the controversial situations. Furthermore, I don’t think captaincy should depend on who is the best player on the team (although the captain should be a certain starter). I think Koke fits the bill for the next long term starter.

  • AndersAT

    Yeah good day. But I too can complain a little.

    This match were great for us because Celta want to attack like maniacs. And let’s face it, in the second half Celta also defended like maniacs. We know we can beat teams like that. But we still need to turn up the heat against defensive teams.

    And this attacker business still nags me. Maybe Gameiro will come good, but man what a miss! Is he really better than Correa? And it was extremely risky business to sell Borja with that transferban. Now we have to rely on Gameiro and Correa until January 2018 (in reality summer 2018, where the good players are on the market). Perhaps Borre but is he that good, let’s hope so.

    And I totally agree, we should use Gimenez, and I think we will. The season is long. I just hope Lucas gets some chances as well.

  • Motborgare

    I think Savic and Godín makes a better central pairing. Yes, Gimenez might be faster but Savic is smarter. I feel more at ease when Savic is playing. Gimenez is still too young and he makes alot of rash decisions which is also the reason he has to use his pace to make up for his errors in the earlier moment.

    I agree the 4 CM´s is way to defensive for a club like Atlético against teams we should be beating offensively. I can buy the excuse for playing cautiously againt teams like Bayern in the CL, but not in primera.

    I am pretty sure Borre won’t be heading our attack next year. He is going to be loaned out another 1-2 seasons, unless we have serious injuries or have a shortage of players during the transfer ban due to weird decisions to sell players and make money by Caminero and the board. I believe Correa is much closer to flanking Griezmann with Gaitan supporting them next year.

    I also think Gamineiro needs more time. Anyone who has been at the Calderón knows that it is an intense atmosphere and supporters are supporting you 100% but also breathing down your neck and pressuring you to make rash decisions. That feeling i think is carries by new players all the time.

    Playing for Simeone can’t be that easy straight from the start. He is very strict, passionate and demanding. As a palyer i can believe that there is always a fear of making a mistake in front of Cholos piercing leadership.

  • Kris

    Gameiro will come good man. Even if he doesn’t score, his pace, his runs, and his ability to create space helps a ton. This allows others to score, if he isn’t scoring. But, I believe that Gameiro will score. The chance that he created Saturday on that miss, there was some help to it with a possible deflection and a total misread, but he was able to create that chance and came inches away from scoring. Other failed attackers weren’t even able to come close to scoring, he has multiple times. He’s a professional footballer in the highest level; just playing with top players like Griezmann, Filipe, Godin, Gaitan makes you better than you actually are. He will score, but we can’t denounce him after one or two games. Give him till November.

  • Kris

    I think it’s that you don’t like Mendes’ player rather than Borre actually not being good. From his first appearance for Atleti, his positioning has been great for a forward. He’s not clinical, I get that – but I also get that he is just 20 years old and has just moved from wayyy across the world. It takes time to adjust. But for me, it’s clear that he is a good forward from day one, and has the potential to be a great forward — like his compatriot “El Tigre”. ahh. the memories…

  • Kris

    A goal is a goal. Won’t be long until Oliver starts being mentioned in the transfer market. He’s such a good midfielder, just not suitable for Simeone’s team…

  • Kris

    I noticed as soon as Cholo started playing him as the secondary striker that Griezmann always pops up at the right place at the right time. He isn’t as pacy as Gareth Bale, nor is he as skillful as Neymar, but what he has on both of them is his ability to play smart, direct football. His positioning and runs (off the ball) are the best attributes of his game, and I can argue that he’s better at that than the best player in the world – Messi. Griezmann is a smart guy, he plays to his strengths rather than focusing on his weaknesses and it just makes him look like a fantastic footballer overall.

    Also helps that he NEVER gets injured. He’s a fucking machine man. Look at his wikipedia stats, even at La Real. He’s never played less than 35 games a season in his entire professional career! Fucking impressive.

  • AndersAT

    Yeah you are probably right. He looks more dangerous than both Jackson and Vietto, and he also seems more dangerous than Torres right now.

    But watching Costa keep scoring for a mediocre Chelsea just makes me even more sorry that we couldn’t secure him. Costa/Griezman would have been so good together I think.

    But what the fuck, Gameiro will probably start scoring, and hopefully we will forget everything about that ugly beast 🙂