Match preview: Atlético vs. Granada

League leaders looking to state title credentials in key home clash

2 penalties gave Atleti the victory in Granada in October  (clubatleticodemadrid.com)

2 penalties gave Atleti the victory in Granada in October
(clubatleticodemadrid.com)

Atlético Madrid moved top of La Liga on Sunday following rivals Real’s clasico defeat to Barcelona, although if you ask manager Diego Simeone, the only important game is the next one. Partido a partido.

That game happens to be this Wednesday evening as Granada visit the Calderón, and despite Simeone’s insistence on only focusing short term, it could serve as a good chance to rest players ahead of a busy end of season schedule.

Kick-off in the capital is set for 22:00 CET.

Throughout the season, many predicted that Atlético’s plucky title challenge would eventually fade and by spring time, they would be out of touch behind the traditional top two.

Defeats to Almería and Osasuna added further evidence to this theory, but now in late March and with just 9 games remaining, it’s the red and whites who lead the way and with head-to-head advantage over Real Madrid and a last day clash against Barcelona, they have their fate in their own hands.

However, there is still a lot of football to play and by the time we travel to the Camp Nou in the Champions League next week, the situation could be completely different. It’s that close at the top right now, any one slip up could be season defining.

Simeone has refrained from formally releasing a squad list for the match, but the suggestions are he could make changes to suit the more expansive, attacking style we usually see at home.

In Sunday’s 2-0 win at Real Betis, El Cholo called upon his trusted XI, although on Wednesday that won’t be possible due to suspension for Filipe Luís. The Brazilian picked up his fifth booking of the season in Seville, which should see Emiliano Insúa should step in.

Tiago is available though after serving suspension, with teenage full-back Javier Manquillo the only other definite absentee through injury.

In his press conference, the 43 year-old boss called upon the fans to show up in numbers and highlighted the important role they play in what the team is trying to achieve, highlighting just how big every game is at this stage.

“Wednesday’s match will be difficult, Granada want the points as much as we do and will no doubt make things complicated,” he said.

“Hopefully the stadium will be full, we need the fans and I hope the people realise before it’s too late. I invite everyone who comes to the stadium to share with the team this beautiful moment.”

For a brief moment, the Argentine spoke about the title race, but continued to stress that his side are the underdogs and not looking beyond the next match.

“There is still a long way to go. Real Madrid and Barcelona have great possibilities and 27 points is a lot to play for. Winning every game is a big ask but looking game-by-game, we think we have a fighting chance.”

The pressure has gotten to Atleti on the few other occasions they have lead the way this year, although with Barcelona hosting Celta a couple hours beforehand, chances are we will kick-off in second. Real are also in action, facing a tough trip to Sevilla, a fixture they lost last season.

Our opponents on the other hand make the trip up from Andalucía on a run of three matches unbeaten, although will be without midfield talisman Piti through injury.

Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori is another not fit enough to play yet, although Manuel Iturra, Mikael Pereira and Dani Benítez all return to the squad and are available to manager Lucas Alcaraz.

After Granada, the Rojiblancos will return to training and begin preparation for Saturday’s visit to fourth-placed Athletic – formidable in their new home – in what many are labelling the biggest test of our remaining matches before the final day.


  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I would rest RG8 and Mario and start with Villa and Tiago instead
    and if Filipe was available, I would also thought of resting one of our 2 CD and start with Toby, but the idea of starting without 2 of our 4 solid defense line terrifies me, in several occasions when that happened it did not end well

    As I said before, when it comes to playing under pressure, Real Madrid are the worst
    what happened in the last Classico is an example
    the big spending and the obsession with “La Decima” and the feeling tha they are inferior to Barcelona are missing with their minds and making them many problems
    so, I believe there is a good chance that they will drop some points tonight in Sevilla

  • Pantic#10

    I quote Ahmad.
    But i’ll play with Sosa as a starter.

  • Atletico9

    Well…
    Im so nervous about tonight. Not about our game, cause we will win an easy 3-1.
    But about Sevilla – Real Madrid. There is only 2 hard games left for Real Madrid and it’s there next 2 away games against Sevilla and Sociadad. Come on Rakitic – destroy Real tonight – and we already will love you when you´ll be a Atletico player in the summer.

    Our program is the hardest. Have many point do you guys think that we need to be the champions?

  • Farzad from Iran

    We will win this match but next match is so hard , granada is so easy team to win

  • Farzad from Iran

    this match of real is the best time to drop some point

  • palestine-atletico

    We have to win all the 27 coming points if we want to win la liga. I doubt real or barca will lose points more than 2 points.

  • Jeronamo

    I for one am not writing granada off until the final whistle goes. I haven’t seen one “easy” game when we’ve played so far. I just hope our position in the league doesn’t affect our performance.

    In terms of that sevilla game, the refereeing will most likely come into play. I fear that lots of calls are going to go real’s way as they have been going so often this season, now more than ever because they’ve been blaming the referee for sunday evening. Sevilla can win or draw but they’re gonna have to do it against the odds

  • Javi

    Guys the prediction league for todays game is not up.
    Where do we post our predictions?

  • Farzad from Iran

    barca today will win certainly and our atletico ,too…….but real maybe loose some points

  • piserakos

    @Javi.. Probably we don’t make :S Any way to be sure do it at the prediction league page

  • Javi

    Ok thank you Piserakos.
    In any event ill post here too:

    Atletico 2-0 Granada
    FS: Villa

    Ps. Villa will score today our 100th goal of the season in all competitions!

  • farhan

    keep calm and believe in VILLA…:-D

  • piserakos

    Valdes injured 🙂 i want so much to see Pinto against us! We will destroy them

  • farhan

    pinto against us hahahahhahahahahahahaha
    …villa and costa rape… him….
    but
    barca winnig against vigo 🙁

  • piserakos

    @farhan… it was sure they would win

  • farhan

    @piserakos yaaa i know
    but both madrid game on same time hope after match top three position donot change

  • farhan

    lineup lineup (expexted)

  • pantic#10

    Courtois
    Juanfran – Miranda – Godin – Insua
    Tiago – Gabi
    Cebolla – Arda – Villa
    Diego Costa

    these the starters

  • farhan

    thAnx

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    as there is no link for the game in the prediction league page I’ll make my prediction here :
    Atletico 4-0 Granada
    FS : David Villa

  • pantic#10

    we play a lot on the left wing with cebolla/insua/arda
    we should attack also on the right, Juanfran is always alone.

    Diego Costa is everywhere, he helps also on def.

  • Jeronamo

    We need to get our shots away and tiago needs to stop giving the ball away

  • Jeronamo

    Why was a foul called????

  • Zakaria

    How are we playin? Can’t see the game and I am worried cause we are still goalless

  • Jeronamo

    Are you guys watching this?

  • Jeronamo

    I can’t say we’re playing badly but we aren’t playing with the same type of intensity in attack… seems like the guys only want to shoot when ww get at the 6 yard box

  • pantic#10

    end of first half..and for now Barca is the new leader.
    Sevilla 1 – 1 Real Madrid

    Granada close to score a couple of times.
    great pressure by ours.
    We must be careful to lose the ball….they’re pretty fast on counterattacks

  • pantic#10

    Cebolla out – Sosa In
    Forza Principito!!

  • palestine-atletico

    Whats going on????
    We didnt score yet?

  • pantic#10

    Arda out – Diego in
    we’re attacking at full speed!
    Goaaaaaall

  • pantic#10

    Diego Costa

  • EC

    YAS!

  • palestine-atletico

    Finalyyyyyyy 🙂

  • pantic#10

    Sevilla goaaaaaal

  • EC

    Bacca!!!! 2-1

  • Atletico9

    2-1 Sevilla!!!! Come on guys and Sevilla!!!

  • Canadian Atleti

    Carlos Bacca!!!

    We just need to finish our job, and we’ll be at the top!

  • Atletico9

    Jaaaaa!!!!!!! Fucking yes!!!! Love you boys! Forza Atletiiii!!!

  • piserakos

    Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We won Real lost!!!!!!!!!!! Yes yes yes!!!!!!!!!!!! We are almost, just almost champions!!! Saturday we play half season, if we win the no one can stop us!

  • Canadian Atleti

    Thank you Sevilla!!!

    Let’s keep this going! Atleti4Life!

  • Farzad from Iran

    We winnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn this match ,too

  • EC

    We still need to play away to Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. League is nowhere near won yet. Remember it’s 1 game at a time.

    In all honesty looking at the table and the remaining games I would have Barcelona as favourites to win the league.

  • Urban

    Im super happy, but I do not think we should get carried away. Still our chances to win the title are much smallers than FCB’s or RM’s.

  • kris

    Barcelona and Real Madrid, BOTH have easier games on paper but what’s on paper doesn’t really matter when you step up on the pitch. Like some of you guys commented on here, Granada was supposed to be an “easy game” today, but was that it? Really wasn’t, was it? Anything can happen in football and I see both Barcelona and Real Madrid dropping more points, but while they lose points we should be gaining more. I would love for the “Guard of Honor” to be given to us by Barcelona on the last day!! It would be an incredible feeling, wouldn’t it? What I am saying is, if we can win the league, we should win it before the last match-day. I just want to see a club like Barcelona with all that money and MESSI congratulating a team, that is barely (I don’t even think it is) quarter of their budget, for winning that La Liga title!! THIS SCENARIO IS JUST PERFECT FOR ME!! Forza Atleti siempre!!

  • ursa major

    Our following four games: Bilbao, Barca, Villareal, Barca…

    I would like to write more words, but I’m struggling to… What is there to say, really? We just need to go out there and win. To play eight league games without losing any points seem a bit too optimistic, but I think Barca and Real will stumble too, so lets see how it plays out.

    Aupa atleti!!

  • ursa major

    And let’s sign Rakitic now. (a boy can dream!)

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    sleeping as leaders for one more night

    and Koke, Mario & the suspended Filipe didn’t play a single minute and saved some gasoline for Athletic & Barca games

    although I hate you very much, but thank you Sevilla
    I wish we return the favor to you next Saturday and beat Bilbao

    like I said this morning, Real Madrid can not handle pressure
    but Atleti & Barca can,

    Atleti have nothing to lose, nobody asked them or expected them to win La Liga

    and Barca have a cabinet full of trophies, and have 9 players who have won the Euro & the World Cup, and a player who have 4 ballons d’Or which give them a huge confidence and self-esteem

  • farhan

    anybody here tell me that we played well or they defended well

  • farhan

    we also have euro cup golden boot and world cup silver boot winner and bronze ball winner David villa.

  • starvs

    Farhan, they defended well enough and packed it in pretty good, they didn’t attack at all aside from a few counters. We lacked intensity early on and couldn’t find any final balls. Jose Sosa on for Cebolla helped things.

    So happy, really did not expect Madrid to lose the rest of La Liga, really improves our chances. We can lose one as long as it is not Barca on the last day. But I agree with Kris, winning before last day is how we should do this. Win out and hope Barcelona loses. Going to be very difficult though, every game will be a battle, pretty much every team in La Liga has something to play for at this point.

    Either way it is going to be a very excited next two months, with CL as well. And I thank Cholo for that, he is magic really, we def have quality players, but we’d be nowhere near this without him.

  • farhan

    and USSA athlete of the year…. so keeep calm we will defeat barca.

  • farhan

    it is still like dream Real lost against sevilla hahahahaha…
    this is the drawback of real madrid if things dont go their way they fucked up… el classico loss still playing with their mind hehehe
    and now sevilla loss will also play tooo

    our next game is athletics…damm tough game…