Celta Vigo vs. Atletico Madrid: Winners and Losers from La Liga

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2016

Celta Vigo vs. Atletico Madrid: Winners and Losers from La Liga

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    MIGUEL RIOPA/Getty Images

    Atletico Madrid went to the top of La Liga on Sunday night after seeing off Celta Vigo at a sodden Balaidos.

    Antoine Griezmann and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco got the goals as the Rojiblancos succeeded where Barcelona did not, negotiating a tricky away test in Vigo well.

    Here are the winners and losers from Atletico's 2-0 win, which puts them two points clear of Barcelona, having played one game more than the Catalans.

Winners: Celta Vigo's Groundstaff

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    Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

    This match could easily never have happened. Even on the morning of the game, it was still in doubt.

    Heavy rain in Galicia meant nobody was sure if Atletico would even have the chance to go back top of La Liga after Barcelona beat Granada on Saturday.

    An AS report read: "There were murmurings of the match being suspended on Friday due to the downpours. The area surrounding the stadium, the dressing rooms and ticket booths were all submerged in water."

    But the staff at Celta Vigo worked hard to make sure the match went on, and although the pitch was not in great condition, at least it was playable under the circumstances.

    There was slipping and sliding and by the end, fans were sheltering at the back of stands because of a huge burst of rain.

    They may have got wet and muddy, but with this win, Atletico won't care.

Losers: Celta Vigo's Fans

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    Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

    Not only did they get soaked, but they had to watch as their team struggled against Atletico manager Diego Simeone's mean defence.

    With Nolito still out because of a hamstring injury, the team are struggling to fire and have lost their last three La Liga matches without scoring a single goal.

    They went down, 2-0, in Malaga on January 2, and before that they suffered a 1-0 home defeat by Bilbao's Athletic Club.

    Atletico have only let in eight La Liga goals all season and that didn't look like it was changing here, as Celta huffed and puffed but came nowhere near blowing the house down.

    At least they should see a few goals when Cadiz come calling in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, with Atletico already three goals to the good.

Winner: Augusto Fernandez

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    MIGUEL RIOPA/Getty Images

    Celta Vigo fans weren't happy when the defensive midfielder moved to Atletico Madrid at the start of January.

    He started the game for his new side back at Balaidos and received a mixed reception from supporters.

    Per AS, of the fans in the stands: "Some cheered, some booed, some applauded, some whistled."

    "When his name was announced pre-match there was mostly cheering, but during the game he was subjected to a fair amount of whistling and booing, which dominated when he was taken off for Carrasco in the second half."

    However, his performance was impressive and it's clear that Celta miss the midfield heavyweight. Without him, the squad is less formidable and may struggle to continue their good form from the first half of the season.

    Augusto, however, is going to enjoy his second half of the season as he fights for the title with Diego Simeone and his men.

Loser: Koke

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    Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

    Many believed this was the year Koke would take La Liga by storm, but he is still struggling to find his individual best.

    It's not like he's playing terribly, but Simeone will believe he can get more out of the talented midfielder.

    His set-piece delivery was poor here and, apart from a fine pass which resulted in Atletico Madrid opening the lead through Antoine Griezmann, he didn't offer too much else.

    Atletico are top of the league at the halfway point and it is promising for them that they are managing this while a key player like Koke is still not playing to the standards he has shown before.

    He should find that form again and the sooner he can do so, the better.

Winner: Antoine Griezmann

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    Lalo R. Villar/Associated Press

    Not only does Antoine Griezmann score a lot of goals, he also scores important ones.

    By opening the scoring here, Griezmann has scored more winning goals than any other player in La Liga this season, with seven. Those are the goals that matter.

    He has also managed to net six of Atletico's last 11 goals in the competition, something that helps keep the team going strong when the strikers paired with him are having trouble scoring.

    Jackson Martinez, Luciano Vietto and Fernando Torres are all struggling, but the French forward is helping shoulder the weight.

    Griezmann showed good awareness to come alive at the back post, firing home after Vietto played the ball across to him.

    What's more, he's modest too. Per AS, he said: "The credit belongs to everyone, for everything we’re doing well. At the back and up front we’re doing well. We need to continue like this."