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Griezmann keeps Atleti hopes alive

The Match
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Nico Gaitan, Atletico Madrid lifeless in bore draw against Qarabag

A dismal, dreary display from Atletico Madrid saw them draw 0-0 away to Qarabag. It leaves their hopes of progressing in the Champions League hanging by a thread with no margin for error in the next three games.

Truth be told, it was a non-event with the club's impotence against sides who sit back and defend there for all to see. It is all well and good playing well against sides who let you play your game, but you need to adapt.

The Azeri outfit had a man sent off and even then Los Rojiblancos could not break them down. January cannot come soon enough.

FK QarabagFK Qarabag
Atletico MadridAtletico Madrid
0
0
FT
Game Details

Positives

Clutching at straws here... a clean sheet.

Negatives

Where to start? No cutting edge, no creativity, and players who just are not good enough for a side with this ambition.

Manager rating out of 10

3 -- A shocker. Diego Simeone started the wrong XI and waited too long to make his substitutions. His decision to switch to a 4-2-3-1 with Antoine Griezmann as a left winger was baffling. Loses a mark for still insisting with Nicolas Gaitan when it is plain for all to see he is rubbish.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Jan Oblak, 6 -- Had almost nothing to do bar take a couple of goal kicks.

DF Sime Vrsaljko, 5 -- Did what was needed at the back but is a shadow of the player he was before injury last season. Appears heavier legged and his delivery lacked any sort of quality.

DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 5 -- Could have scored twice from free headers in the first half. More comfortable than the man next to him.

DF Diego Godin, 4 -- An utterly bizarre evening. Looked to take the initiative but kept giving possession away and appeared flustered under the lightest of pressure. Extremely lucky not to concede a penalty and finished the game as a striker.

DF Filipe Luis, 6 -- Atleti's best outfield performer on the night. The only one even remotely at the races as he tried to make things happen going forward.

MF Nico Gaitan, 2 -- Where do you even start? Not for the first -- and you can bet not for the final -- time in his Atletico career has left fans wondering exactly what he does and what he is good at. Looked like he would struggle for a game at Qarabag.

Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis maneuvers away from Qarabag midfielder Mahir Madatov.

MF Gabi, 6 -- When the skipper has an off night then you know it is not your night. His passing was not its usual crisp self, however he at least tried and showed energy right to the end, almost capitalising on a mistake by the home side's goalkeeper.

MF Saul Niguez, 5 -- Completely anonymous. Never looks his usual threatening self when playing in a central withdrawn role and it showed.

MF Yannick Carrasco, 4 -- Continues to frustrate. Missed a one-on-one after good play from Griezmann. However, truth be told, he never looked like he was going to score. Subbed.

FW Antoine Griezmann, 5 -- Missed a one-on-one that he really should have scored and continues to struggle after a summer in which he was clearly unsettled. Found the back of the net when offside, however his frustration and desperation showed at the death when he skewed horribly wide when alone in the box with the last kick of the game.

FW Kevin Gameiro, 5 -- First start of the season so it would be unfair to be too harsh. Initially linked well with Griezmann, whom he fed for his big chance, however with Qarabag sitting deeper and deeper, it was blatantly obvious his style of play was ill-suited to this kind of match.

Substitutes:

MF Thomas Partey (for Gaitan), 6 -- Brought energy and a presence to the midfield, albeit it was not hard to do more than the man he replaced.

MF Angel Correa (for Carrasco), NR -- Should have been brought on much, much earlier. Always looks to make things happen, and his quick feet and close control might have made the difference if given longer.

FW Fernando Torres (for Gameiro), NR -- Should have had a penalty when pushed in the back, but given the way things were going Los Colchoneros would have probably missed it.

Joseph Walker covers Atletico Madrid for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @Joe_in_espana.

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