Match preview: Atlético vs. Granada

Los Rojiblancos will look to put an end to their winless streak in La Liga

atletico madrid striker radamel falcao against granada

Falcao returns to La Liga action following suspension

Atlético welcome Abel Resino back to the Vicente Calderón on Sunday, as they take on the former Rojiblanco goalkeeper and coach’s Granada side at 12:00 CET.

Diego Simeone’s men must shift their focus back to their quest for a Champions League berth, facing off against the last coach to take them there in Resino.

With Málaga defeating Levante on Saturday, the uphill path to the elite UEFA tournament has gotten all the more steeper.

It’s been a tale of two competitions for Atleti this season. Their Europa League campaign has been virtually flawless, while they have yet to have found consistency – with only 13 matches left to go – in the domestic league.

Suffering from a severe case of tetraphobia, los Rojiblancos have blown a number of opportunities to grab hold of the fourth spot in the Liga table and have fallen back down to ninth having failed to come out triumphant in five straight games.

While it is plainly obvious for anyone watching that the team isn’t necessarily slumping in form or attitude, a combination of bad luck, injuries and poor finishing have contributed to our points stall but, as usual, Simeone karate chopped at all excuses.

“I think you have what you deserve,” the Atlético boss told reporters in the pre-game press conference Saturday.

“There are no excuses; it’s not fatigue, it’s not noon [matches], it’s not [player] absences, there’s a shirt involved here, a lot of people that come to the stadium and an excitement that remains intact and that can’t stop this team, one that is obviously in a state of growth.”

Atleti will hope for a carryover effect from their midweek trouncing of Beşiktaş…well, from the first 45 minutes of play from that clash at least, described by ‘El Cholo’ as “the best half” of football since his arrival.

With playmaker Diego still sidelined and Arda set for a late second half test run as he returns from his own ailments, the red and white trio of Falcao (returning from suspension), Adrián and an enhanced version of Salvio will be assigned front-line duties when proceedings get underway.

The Argentine forward is currently enjoying his best spell while at Atleti, having scored in back-to-back matches and having dazzled the home fans with two exquisite goals against the Black Eagles on Thursday.

“It’s no coincidence what is happening,” said Simeone about his young compatriot.

“It’s hard work. Just like Juanfran started winning a place, Salvio is winning his place. I don’t have a commitment with anyone, but rather, with the field and with what I see.”

Cholo continued: “It made me happy the other day that the fans applauded him and appreciated his efforts,” he said.

“Let’s hope the effort and appreciation of Salvio is the same [on Sunday], because he is a kid that always gives his all.”

Midfield chief Tiago, captain Antonio López and full back Sílvio will all be out with injuries.

Filipe Luis will serve a one-match ban (five yellows) and Pizzi was left off the selection through tactical decision.

While Arda made the cut for this weekend’s encounter after missing our last two games, Simeone said he would “accompany us on the bench” and “could come in towards the end of the match” as he continues his recovery.

Canteranos Saúl Ñíguez and Pedro Martín received their second straight call-up to the first team.

El Graná are only four points clear of the drop zone despite their improvement under their former Colchonero coach, who only had kind words for the Atlético faithful.

“I identify with the fan base a lot and will be well-received,” he said.

“I lived very good and some bad moments there, but I will always carry Atlético and their fans in my heart. I have done all kinds of things there and very few people know that home better than me.”

Our Andalusian opponents, coming off the back of consecutive losses to Osasuna and Valencia, will look to ward off the threat of relegation in spite of being forced to field a depleted squad.

According to football statistics site, several of Granada’s players intentionally picked up yellow cards last week in order to serve their suspension against us and be available for what they apparently feel is a more winnable home tie versus Sporting next weekend.

Those banned for this clash are midfielders Dani Benítez and Fran Rico, playmaker Franco Jara, and left back Guilherme Siqueira.

Roberto, Pape Diakhaté, Hassan Yebda and Carlos Martins will be unavailable through injury.

Atlético match selection:
Goalkeepers: Courtois, Sergio Asenjo
Defenders: Godín, Domínguez, Perea, Miranda
Midfielders: Mario Suárez, Salvio, Arda Turan, Assunçao, Gabi, Fran Mérida, Koke, Juanfran, Saúl
Forwards: Adrián, Falcao, Pedro Martín

Granada match selection:
Goalkeepers: Julio César, José Juan
Defenders: Allan Nyom, David Cortés, Íñigo López, Mainz, Pamarot, Álex Carmona, Borja Gómez
Midfielders: Mikel Rico, Moisés Hurtado, Manolo Lucena, Jaime Romero, Abel Gómez
Forwards: Odion Ighalo, Álex Geijo, Henrique Almeida, Ike Uche

Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz

Head on over to the AtléticoFans Prediction League to give us your prediction for Atlético vs. Granada!

  • leika

    I guess it’s:

  • Javi Lozoya

    Franco Jara is actually a striker, anyways. Great to see Saúl and Pedro getting another consecutive call up for the first team, although they probably not gonna play too many minutes due to their youth but it’s great for them that Cholo is getting them accustom with first division football for next season.
    Good to see a legend of Atleti and La Liga like Abel Resino returning to the Calderon. I didn’t had the chance to see him but I know he was a legendary player for Atleti.
    It’s gonna be a tough match and Atleti needs to win now more than ever to keep with the teams that are fighting for a Champions League beth. I’m confident we can win. Aupa Atleti Siempre!!!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Legendary Perea is gonna play and add more matches to his record, Grande Luis Amaranto Perea!!!, leyenda por siempre del Club Atlético De Madrid!!!.

  • Javi what does that mean?

  • And it is a good sight to see him playing. So we should easily win this game.

  • Mais

    is he playing tho? i thought miranda was being rested against besiktas

  • ratchet

    @ Randy, I think it means ‘great luis aramanto perea, always a legend for atletico madrid’

    On another note, sevilla lost, that helps us out a bit.

  • Ratchet u wanna come online now on facebook and any other Ateti men who are on Facebook send me a request my name is above cuz i mentioned it B4

  • Javi Lozoya

    yep, that’s what it means Randy, great translation ratchet.

  • palc

    Maybe Perea scores his first ever proffesional goal tomorrow? I’ve seen pigs fly before..

  • Thanks people i was confused and I am only 13 so thats normal

  • ratchet

    Betis are giving Real Madrid a game. 3-2 the score to real at the moment, but i think more goals are left in that game, 10 mins to go…

  • SoLobo

    Saul and Pedro in, Pizzi out… That sounds good! I hope it works well…

  • Javi Lozoya

    Speaking about Madrid-Betis, that ref is a douche, he deny Betis a PK that would’ve been the equalizer. This league is getting annoying and boring every day. It’s fucking bullshit that teams like us Betis and pretty much every team except Barca, get poor referring just because Madrid’s and Barca are the richest clubs. It’s so freakin’ unfair, fucking La Liga is shit and someone has to do something to stop Madrid and Barca. Fucking cheaters.

  • Mais

    i just checked who the ref was and wouldnt u know, itturalde! im telling you if we get him for the derby theres no chance we walk away with points!

  • Javi Lozoya

    Iturralde started the game but didn’t finish it due to injury. The fourth official took his place and he was the one who didn’t award Betis the PK, despite that, I agree about Iturralde, he is pretty mediocre and should retire now, and I think no matter who’s the ref for the derby still they’re gonna be harsh on us and call all the fouls in Madrid’s favor.

  • Erwinito

    Hi guys, great to see such passionate Atlético fans al over the world!
    Everyone who want’s to join on facebook here’s my name : erwin vandebeek
    I also have a small fanclub in my country so it would be nice to see you all join 🙂
    Hope we can win against Granada today, AUPA ATLETI !!!

  • dgsozkan

    We need to do what we did against Besiktas. We will win this game.

    By the way, there are some rumors about Burak Yılmaz,Trabzonspor in Turkish media. They claim that Atletico is interested in signing Burak. Does anybody know anything about it ?

  • ali_

    that rumour bout burak is not new. caminero said that he is a good player, and we are interested in good players. 🙂

  • leika

    Also a few days ago there was a rumour about Anzhi making a bid for Arda. I guess it was a 3year payment with 8.5 mil euros each year.

  • Davide

    I heard from sources that Caminero was already in Turkey on friday where he met up with Trabzonspor officials who flew to Istanbul for the meeting about Burak Yilmaz. Caminero also took the opportunity to look at another player in on of the Instanbul clubs. I do not know who. Burak Yilmaz has a buy-out clause of 5 mil €. I think we are trying to offload some players and are including 1 of our won to lower the price. Well that’s all for now.

  • ratchet

    @ Erwin, i just sent you a friend request. Does anyone know how well we are doing against granada. I know its 0-0 and i hope to catch some of the second half. Espanyol are 2-0 up so if we dont win this then we really need to rethink our objectives and aim for 5th spot.

  • ratchet

    sorry, espanyol are 3-0 up now. Thats not good.

  • ratchet

    wait, it seems miranda scored. Well, that was unexpected…

  • leika

    it’s good that we scored late in the first half…

  • Tackle_Hard


  • ratchet

    2-0 FT. Thats a good result.

  • shlomgar

    What a run by SuperJuan. I think he was crying after the goal. I remember being happy when he came a year ago, so much desire to fit the club. Best improving player in La Liga!

  • palc