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.
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.
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?