New season, same old Atletico Madrid as they ground out a turgid 1-0 victory over local rivals Rayo Vallecano thanks to Antoine Griezmann’s effort.
It looked as if it was going to be one of those frustrating nights for Los Rojiblancos, who huffed and puffed without much success until Griezmann turned in Stefan Savic’s header from close range. Once again they were indebted to Jan Oblak, who pulled off a stunning save to ensure the European Super Cup winners of a first victory of the season.
A win is a win. Good for Griezmann to get back in the goals, while Oblak continues to prove his worth to the side.
That Oblak had to bail the team out for the second consecutive week is something of a worry. Likewise so in Juanfran’s injury.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Diego Simeone picked a side that just about got the job done. However, he’ll be concerned about the amount of chances such a usually watertight defence offered up.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Jan Oblak, 8 — Didn’t have much to do until the final 10 minutes in which Rayo peppered his goal, with one save in particular from Sergio Moreno catching the eye.
DF Juanfran 6 — Was fine before having to leave the pitch after half an hour with an injury. Hopefully it is nothing serious.
DF Stefan Savic, 6 — Looked the sturdier of the centre backs, but that is largely because Diego Godin appears uncomfortable playing next to him. His header set up the goal, but he lost Moreno late on and was bailed out by Oblak.
DF Diego Godin, 6 — See above. Does not look happy playing next to Savic, and you have to wonder why, given the immense partnership and understanding he has with Jose Maria Gimenez, that pairing is not revisited.
DF Lucas Hernandez, 7 — Once again looked the business in a position that theoretically is not his own and is keeping Filipe Luis well out of the team at present. Kept the potentially dangerous Gael Kakuta quiet.
MF Angel Correa, 6 — Looked most likely in the first half and was denied by a good save, however lost influence after the break and was hooked at 1-0.
MF Saul Niguez, 6 — Worked tirelessly, but it just hasn’t happened for him in an offensive sense in the past couple of games as he made the wrong decision on more than one occasion. Does a vital job for the side, though.
MF Rodrigo, 7 — Is looking the part in the “Gabi role” just in front of the back four. Recycles possession quickly and efficiently. Produced an outstanding recovery tackle on Luis Advincula when he threatened to burst through.
MF Thomas Lemar, 7 — Looking lively. His directness and pace give Los Colchoneros something they have desperately lacked over the past couple of seasons. His quality on the ball is there for all to see, and it is interesting to see he has taken over corner duty, too.
FW Antoine Griezmann, 8 — His understanding with Lemar is promising. Worked his socks off, as he always does, and was once again the right man in the right place at the right time to get his side the three points.
FW Diego Costa, 6 — Fought hard, but this is Costa, what else do you expect? Did not have enough space behind a deep Rayo defence to exploit with his all-action style tonight.
Thomas Partey (for Juanfran), 7 — Fast becoming the utility man of this squad. Brought energy and pace to the right-hand flank. Did what little defensive work he had to do with the minimum of fuss.
Koke (for Correa), 6 — Helped settle things down in the middle of the park in the final half-hour.
Gelson (for Griezmann), NR — A willing runner, but with Atleti not looking to attack, he struggled to get involved.