Football Features

“They were probably laughing at Koeman” – Luis Suárez settles his score as Atletico Madrid blow Barcelona away

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:26, 2 October 2021

In a one-sided night of football, Atlético Madrid gave Barcelona an absolute kicking at the Wanda Metropolitano.

This was the first game at the Wanda with a near 100% fan capacity and it was a real party atmosphere as the defending champions both celebrated their title by dominating a misfiring Barcelona with under-fire manager sat suspended in the stands looking utterly ineffectual as his team floundered around the pitch looking as un-coached as a random Sunday League side.

Here’s how the players rated at Wanda Metropolitano:


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Atlético Madrid

Jan Oblak – 7 – Rock solid. Whenever he had to do anything, he did it well.

Stefan Savic – 6 – Defended well but did struggle at times against the movement of Memphis.

José Gimenez – 8 – Rock solid at the heart of defence. Repelled everything Barcelona threw at Atleti with a game-high 9 clearances.

Mario Hermoso – 7 – Defended his flank well, winning the ball back nicely.

Koke – 8 – Battled brilliantly ahead of his defence. Devoured Sergio Busquets and anyone else who tried him.

Marcos Llorente – 7 – Should have destroyed Barcelona with his runs but only managed it a couple of times.

Rodrigo de Paul – 5 – Didn’t influence the game at all. Subbed at half=time.

Thomas Lemar – 8 – A superb burst into the box and finish to give Atleti the lead. Then played a huge part in the second-goal with a great run and cross for Suárez to score. Barcelona couldn’t live with him.

Yannick Carrasco – 7 – Played well.

Joao Felix – 8 – Tormented Barcelona and if he was being defended by anyone other than Ronald Araujo he would have presided over an absolute demolition in the first-half. As it is, he only produced the two goals for Atleti. First his magical touch to escape Araujo allowed him to play it to Suárez who found Lemar, then in the second-goal he repeated the trick but this time played it to Lemar who found Suárez.

Luis Suárez – 8 – Didn’t really play well but in classic Suárez fashion still walked away with a goal and an assist, meaning he has now scored against all 31 La Liga sides that he has faced. His celebration was muted but then he raised his hands to his ear to mimic a phone call, perhaps a message to Ronald Koeman who sacked him via a phone call? The Uruguayan said he was reminding his friends that he has the same number, but then said it was something between him and his children, which was probably just them laughing at Koeman. A night of vindication for the Uruguayan.

Substitutes:

Kieran Trippier (for De Paul 46′) – 5 – Added little.

Antoine Griezmann (for Suárez 72′) – 5 – Pressed well but missed two good chances to score on the break.

Angel Correa (for Joao Felix 72′) – 5 – Couldn’t influence the game.

Renan Lodi (for Carrasco 81′) – n/a – Came on late.

Felipe (for Hermoso 81′) – n/a – Came on late.


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Barcelona

Marc-André Ter Stegen – 6 – Did well against Atleti’s counters and crosses. Could do nothing about either goal.

Oscar Mingueza – 5 – One of Barcelona’s most athletic centre-backs was wasted as a wing-back. Offered nothing in attack and was far too high up help in defence. A baffling use of a great talent.

Ronald Araujo – 5 – Barcelona’s best defender was, for some reason, tasked with man-marking Joao Felix. He did a good job for the most part but the risk was, of course, that if Felix could get the ball beyond him then it was open season on the decaying Piqué. And, well, the two times Joao Felix escaped Araujo’s clutches guess what happened? Both Atleti goals. Second-half he was playing like a normal defender and was much better as a result, but his struggles in Koeman’s anti-formation first-half cost Barcelona the game.

Gerard Piqué – 3 – Piqué was spared the ravages of the Benfica game with an early sub but there was no such mercy at the Wanda Metropolitano and Piqué bore the full brunt of the Atleti counters. Then the system in the first-half left him criminally exposed, but at the same time he made several baffling decisions such as not moving to Lemar on the first goal or retreating to the line instead of confronting the panicking Suárez before the Uruguayan’s goal. This performance should retire Piqué as a starter for major games.

Sergino Dest – 6 – Looked very bright and positive in attack. Defended higher up with the press rather than tracking back.

Sergio Busquets – 4 – Caught flat-footed on Atleti’s first goal and was nowhere to be seen on the second. Like everyone, picked up second-half but still lacked his usual influence on proceedings and was shown up by team-mates. Can only thrive in a 3-5-2 these days.

Nico Gonzalez – 5 – Was bright in possession and worked hard. Let Lemar run off him for the opening goal.

Frenkie De Jong – 6 – Lost in the shuffle playing ridiculously high up the pitch, but perked up immensely in the second-half.

Coutinho – 4 – Useless. Wasted Barcelona’s best chance of the game with a pathetic shot.

Gavi – 6 – Really bright (relatively) all game. Never stopped battling and fighting, showing more heart and intelligence than a lot of his more senior team-mates. His call-up to the Spanish national team was perfectly earned, this boy is special.

Memphis Depay – 5 – Some nice runs, but ultimately what could he do? His service was an absolute joke.

Substitutes:

Sergi Roberto (for Nico 46′) – 5 – Did change the rhythm of the game by allowing Koeman to switch to a sensible formation.

Ansu Fati (for Coutinho 64′) – 6 – Looked so positive when in possession, trying desperately to make something happen.

Riqui Puig (for Gavi 75′) – 6 – Added some thrust and intention. Looked good.

Luuk de Jong (for Mingueza 75′) – 4 – Somehow made the team worse.

Clement Lenglet (for Dest 86′) – n/a – Came on late.