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4 winners and 0 losers from Barcelona’s 1-0 La Liga victory against Atlético Madrid

Barça are back to winning ways thanks to a crucial victory at home

FC Barcelona v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona restored their 11-point lead at the top of the La Liga table and retained their overwhelming favorite status in the title race thanks to a crucial 1-0 win over Atlético Madrid on Sunday afternoon. Barça played their best game in over a month, created (and missed) some huge chances and survived a late blitz from the Colchoneros to get back on track and contine their chase for the trophy.

Here are the winners and losers from Sunday’s action.

Note: Applying the labels “winners” and “losers” is not intended to be a judgment on the talent or character of any of these players. It’s just a simple way to grade their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.


Winners

FC Barcelona v Atletico de Madrid - LaLiga Santander Photo by Silvestre Szpylma/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Raphinha: The Brazilian might have just played his best 90 minutes for Barça in this one, considering the importance of the game and the level of the opposition. Raphinha was incisive and decisive every time he had the ball, aggressive and creative with his dribbling and involved in everything good Barça did all game. He assisted Ferran Torres’ winner, was unlucky not to score himself in the second half, and should have gotten a tap-in if not for Robert Lewandowski’s poor decision to go for goal himself instead of passing it to his wide-open teammate. Raphinha was La Liga’s choice for “MVP of the Game” and it’s hard to disagree. A very good afternoon for a player in desperate need of one.

Frenkie De Jong: How good does it feel to have a world-class midfielder again? How sweet it is to watch Frenkie not even have a 10 out of 10 performance but still run the show with his quick passing, timely ball carries, and excellent vision and instincts both with and without the ball. The Dutchman is a delight to watch and he’s now fully comfortable in his own skin with a clearly defined role and a great impact on the team’s attacking health. And again, he didn’t even play that well. Once the rust is gone, Frenkie will be fully back.

Ronald Araujo: Another monster defensive performance from Barça’s beast, who outmuscled everyone who came close to him and won seemingly every important aerial duel. His passing was a little inconsistent but his job is to dominate at the back, and he once again did that to perfection.

Marc-André ter Stegen: Two massive, point-blank reflex saves from MATS to keep Antoine Griezmann from scoring against his former club once in each half. Big German Makes Big Saves. Again.

Losers

NOBODY! A first for this column, but I genuinely did not think anybody’s stock went down after today’s game. Lewandowski’s selfish miss in the second half nearly landed him on this side of the bracket, but his overall performance was good enough to not make it fair to judge his entire game on a single play. Barça played well against one of the toughest teams in the league and will be even better once Pedri and De Jong are fully back to peak fitness. No reason to be pessimistic today.

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