Atlético Madrid travel to Granada on Saturday, looking to continue the good run of form that has seen them move to second in the La Liga table behind Barcelona.
Kick-off at the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes is set for 18:15 CET.
Atlético know that the pressure is on as they look to keep up the pace with the league leaders, who travel to take on Valencia and their new manager at the Mestalla.
Granada, however, sit 17th in the league and haven’t won against Atlético in the league since 1973 – a tradition that Diego Simeone will hope continues on Saturday.
So far, Granada has only won twice in LaLiga and to many, the team’s poor form is a bit of a shock because when Sandoval took over last season, he revolutionized the team and helped them escape relegation.
However, this season everything has gone wrong and, once again, Granada is in serious danger of going down. There was a bit of promise when Granada scored twice in the final stretch of the match against Málaga to manage a 2-2 draw, but it all went downhill again after losing to second division Leganés 2-1 in the Spanish cup.
Atleti come into this match having won their last five games and it’ll be the first league match since Tiago’s injury. Rumors suggest Cholo will use Saúl to replace Tiago.
“Saúl doesn’t have to be Tiago,” Cholo said in a pre match press conference. “Each player has their own characteristics.”
Atleti’s defensive record has been the most impressive thing from the rojiblancos so far this season. With a total of only six goals conceded in the 13 league matches so far this season, a philosophy of building from the back is certainly one that Atleti has adopted.
Jan Oblak didn’t concede a single goal in November and he will be looking for his 9th clean sheet of the season on Saturday.
After debuting for Atleti last weekend against Espanyol and playing the whole 90 minutes against Reus, Thomas was called up. Although, with the return of Gabi, it’ll be unlikely to see him start.
While Atleti’s defense has been rock solid, the team’s attack is a cause for concern.
Jackson Martínez is out through injury still, but he wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. Fernando Torres has been in search of his 100th career goal for Atleti for the best part of the last three months. Luciano Vietto scored against Reus in the midweek cup match, but he still seems to be slowly finding his form.
Antoine Griezmann is still scoring for Atleti, but his conversion rate is much lower than last season. Atlético has scored 18 goals in the league this season, out of 180 chances created.
Atleti’s last three league victories have been 1-0, but the amount of goals scored doesn’t change the amount of points secured. Whether Atleti scores one or several, the three points are all that matter.
Simeone called up 18 footballers and both Lucas and Siqueira are left out of the squad list. Siqueira played for Granada for a few seasons, but won’t play in what was his home for three seasons.
Oblak, Moyà; Juanfran, Giménez, Godín, Gámez, Savic, Filipe Luis; Gabi, Saúl, Koke, Thomas, Óliver, Carrasco; Griezmann, Fernando Torres, Correa and Vietto.