Atlético Madrid, still in dreamland after Thursday night’s 4-2 aggregate victory over Real Madrid, need to forget about their midweek victory over their eternal rivals and concentrate on Sunday afternoon’s visitors to the Vicente Calderón; Granada.
Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 17:00 CET.
Atleti will be hoping they have similar reason to cheer as the first round of league fixtures ends, with Diego Simeone confirming that Fernando Torres and Mario Mandzukic will start together up-front, after El Niño’s brace against Real Madrid.
“They are two forwards, who are at their best near goal – especially when they are running forward. Both will play together against Granada, and we’ll see how this attacking option works out,” said Cholo at his pre-match press conference.
“We have done this before with two players of different characteristics, but it works well with forwards. We did this with Falcao and Diego Costa, and also with Costa and David Villa.”
It doesn’t bode well for Granada, as La Liga’s bottom side have problems of their own. No manager, not a single win in their last 8 games, what else could the Andalusians need than a trip to face the champions of Spain?
B-team manager Joseba Aguado is in charge for the trip to Madrid, while Granada reportedly looks at appointing former Atleti manager Abel Resino for a second-term at the club.
“I’ve been coaching all my life. I’ve known all kinds of football grounds, and for the first time, I’m going to the Vicente Calderón. Home of the champions of La Liga and the team that just knocked Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey,” Aguado told the media.
“Facing Atlético in our current situation could be seen as a pain, but for me it’s exciting. Granada must be a bold team. We have little to lose and much to gain.”
With Torres and Mandzukic both set to start, it’s remains to be seen whether Simeone can fit Antoine Griezmann into the side. The Frenchman needed to go to hospital following the Copa del Rey clash, but returned fit to training on Friday.
Cristian Ansaldi is still absent through injury, as well as Tiago who recovers from a contusion to his ribs. The eternal substitute Cristian Rodriguez fails to make even the bench, whilst our newest signing Cani is again not included.
“Cani has similar characteristics to Koke and Arda Turan, albeit with less of a defensive mindset. Hopefully he can share his talent with us when we need it. He’s working hard to get to match-fitness, and hopefully in the next few weeks we can count on him to give us what we’re looking for,” said Cholo
At his pre-match press conference, Simeone stressed the importance of the partido a partido mindset that has worked so well for Atleti.
“The trust is that, after more than three years of working here, we face every game as if it is our last. There is no reason to change the thinking that we have always had.”
“For us, the match is against Granada and this is the only thing we care about.”
Goalkeepers: Moyá and Oblak.
Defenders: Godín, Siqueira, Gámez, Juanfran, Giménez and Miranda.
Midfielders: Mario, Koke, Raúl García, Arda, Gabi and Saúl.
Forwards: Griezmann, Mandzukic, Raúl Jiménez and Fernando Torres.
Form guide (last six in the league)
Atlético – WWLWWL
Granada – LDLDLD