After an eventful, but scoreless Madrid derby, I’m here to lay down some player ratings from the match! With Marcelo out injured, Nacho came in to cover his tracks again. Casemiro, Kroos and Modrić made up the midfield with Asensio, Bale and Benzema ahead of them. Let’s get straight to it:
Thibaut Courtois — 8.5 Another clean-sheet for the team, and another clean-sheet for Courtois. This was the best performance that I have seen from him during his short Madrid career. Provided a string of vital saves that helped Real Madrid stay in the game at times. Two one on one’s in particular were world class stops, even if one did smack him right in the face. Distribution looked good enough, as well as his handling and catching throughout. Excellent game from the tall Belgian. Man of the match for me.
Dani Carvajal — 8: First game back from a minor injury, and I was pretty impressed with how he did. You can really see how positionally sound he is at full back when Nacho is playing the other side. Did make some silly challenges here and there, and got booked - but defensively Dani was switched on else wise. One of the best outfield players tonight if not the best.
Raphaël Varane — 7.5 I probably type out the same thing most of times I see Varane play. Same old, same old. He played a very solid game, and did his job. He almost scored the winner right at the end. I say almost... It was pretty far wide but my heart still skipped a beat.
Sergio Ramos — 7.5: A much better game from Ramos compared to the last time I was on ratings. I don’t know if that’s because he received a rollocking after his positional antics against Espanyol, or that he just wouldn’t do that in a big game. Saw plenty of strong challenges, although he did pick up a yellow card if that comes as a shock to anyone. Earned a cut just above his eye after colliding into the back of Saul’s head.
Nacho — 7.5: Not the best full back in the world. Doesn’t have to be. I actually really liked Nacho today and hope that some of you are with me. Defensively he brought what he always brings to the table, but offensively in this game he was notably positive, taking on his man out-wide multiple times. He also put a stop to one key Atlético attack with a great interception.
Casemiro — 6.5: Was man of the match for me last time out, but this time he didn’t make too much of an impression. Whilst he was defensively present as always, going forwards he lacked much creativity. Two of his shots were too high to mention, with one of them being a questionable decision to allow him to take direct free-kicks. Still, he takes away a respectable 6.5 for his contributions.
Toni Kroos — 8: Another one of Madrid’s better players today. Played an important role with his passing, and on another day would have gotten himself a few assists. Kept Atlético working by moving the ball around the pitch, playing a major factor in the later stages of the game. What else can I say? Toni Kroos is a great footballer!
Luka Modrić — 6.5: A tired performance from the main man Luka today. Had some nice touches and passes at times, and looked an important figure when he reached the final third - but his influence on the game wasn’t up to his usual standards.
Marcos Asensio — 5.5: Didn’t really go Asensio’s way tonight. Was kept quiet reasonably easily, and the big chances he did get he squandered. Actually had to check twice to make sure he hadn’t been substituted he was that oblivious towards the end.
Gareth Bale — 6: Started quite sharply, swaying the Atlético defence with a few flicks, but that settled down quite quickly. Came very close to scoring off the back of a quality Toni Kroos free-kick, but ended up having to come off at half time due to a reported groin injury. We can only collectively hope that it won’t be anything serious...
Karim Benzema — 5.5: Another poor showing from Benzema. Failed to become a significant threat, and although he worked hard did not contribute much to the overall play. Had me screaming to bring Mariano on by half time. It’s very important that this doesn’t become a trend for Karim. It would be one that we’ve seen before.
Dani Ceballos — 8: A brilliant game from the Spaniard, who’s personal season just gets better and better. Was given a stroke of luck when Bale had to come off at half time, but took it all in his stride showcasing his immense energy from the get-go. If he had played the whole game he probably would have been man of the match, and if he keeps progressing then Real Madrid will have an unbelievable player on their hands...
Lucas Vázquez — 4.5: The wrong substitution at the wrong time. As I said earlier I was screaming out for Mariano to come on, but not one brain cell even considered Lucas Vázquez as a necessary change. Again - offered width, little else.
Vinícius Júnior — 6: The right substitution at the wrong time. The 18 year old came on in the 88th minute to make his Real Madrid debut and become Real Madrid’s youngest Brazilian in La Liga. All well and good, except for the fact that this gave him 2 minutes to do absolutely everything. Although he was involved a decent amount during his game time, it simply was not enough time to demonstrate anything. It is a good thing that his debut is out of the way now though, and hopefully this is the first of many appearances to come this season...
Not the best result, but not a bad one by any means. The performance towards the end was encouraging, but it was a predictably frustrating anti-climatic night against one of the best defensive teams on the planet. Disagree with any ratings? Let me know in the comments, and we can discuss it (as soon as I wake up tomorrow that is)!