Match preview: Atlético vs. Granada

League leaders hoping to avoid catching the FIFA virus in the Calderón

Koke will be looking to continue his good form against Granada

Koke will be looking to continue his good form against Granada

Sitting on top of the table after the international break, Atlético Madrid return to action on Saturday with a home clash against Granada at the Vicente Calderón.

The red and whites have had two weeks to enjoy their lead in La Liga, and will be looking for three points to kick start an important run of matches in both domestic and continental competition.

Kick-off in the Spanish capital is set for 18:30 CET.

During the break, Griezmann and Gameiro both netted goals for France in the first half of a 4-1 victory over Bulgaria and are likely to lead the line again after an impressive run of form.

Jan Oblak also managed two clean sheets for Slovenia, and Diego Godin went 1 for 2 on shut-outs, holding Venezuela scoreless while giving up two goals to Colombia.

Augusto misses out with long term injury along with Alessio Cerci and goalkeeper Miguel Ángel Moyá, who has resumed light training in the last week or so.

José Giménez is also still out, as is Saúl Ñíguez who had to withdraw from the Spain squad before their two recent qualifying matches. Otherwise, Atlético should be at full strength.

Granada on the other hand have struggled out of the gate this season, winless in their first seven matches. They have only managed two goals this season and sit rock bottom of the table.

This poor start led to the firing of manager Paco Jémez on October 3rd, meaning Lucas Alcaraz will make his 2016 debut at the Calderón. This will be Alcaraz´s third stint in charge of Granada.

Alcaraz started his managerial career in 1995, having played for El Graná previously. He was 44-35-27 in his first stint with the club before leaving for Almería in 1998.

Nine jobs and eighteen years later, Alcaraz found himself back with his old club, managing them from January 2013-June 2014 and going 19-9-29 before moving on to Levante.

After a year with Levante and six days at Elche, Alcaraz enters his third stint. Winning half of his games this time around would be a reasonable goal, considering Alcaraz has not completed that task in his career thus far.

With the new manager in charge, the lineup is anybody´s guess. Interim manager Planagumá started a 4-2-3-1 last time out. Guillermo Ochoa should retain his spot in goal with Gabriel Silva, Gastón Silva, Rubén Vezo, and Tito manning the back line.

Javí Marquez and Sergi Samper were the deep lying midfielders with Andreas Pereira, Alberto Bueno, and Mehdi Carcela-González in the forward roles. Ezequiel Ponce was the lone striker.

Carcela-González and Artem Kravets are tied for the team lead in goals, with two each this season. Andreas Periera is also an attacking threat. The Manchester United loanee has 16 shots and an assist this season, but is yet to find the back of the net.

Atlético took care of Granada last season, winning 2-0 away and 3-0 at home. Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann netted away goals while Koke and Fernando Torres assisted one another in the Calderón. Saúl applied the assist for Angél Correa’s strike to seal the home victory.

Since promotion to La Liga in 2011-12, Granada has been battling relegation, finishing no higher than 15th in the standings. They are yet to beat Atlético in that time span, but managed two 0-0 draws at Los Cármenes in 2011 and 2015.

Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Oblak, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Lucas, Juanfran
Midfielders: Koke, Tiago, Carrasco, Gabi, Thomas, Gaitán
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro

  • Usavicente Calderon

    would like to see a totally offensive Atleti, starting with their
    midfield: Carrasco, Saul, Gaitan, Koke.With Griezmann and Gameiro up
    front. We should destroy Granada with that set up.

  • AndersAT

    Agreed. And we probably will. Except for Saul who are injured. I think it will be Carrasco, Koke, Gabi, Gaitan (perhaps Correa).

    I just hope we come out blazing and kill the tension early.

  • Paweł Kosiński

    Granada are rock bottom and will try and frustrate us all the time probably, making as much offensively as Deportivo once reduced to ten men. Therefore playing Lucas at left-back makes a lot of sense – Simeone will probably field both Gaitan and Carrasco, and then the Frenchman’s only assignment could be defending and reserved contribution to build-up play. It’s all assumptions of course.

  • Jeronamo Pakor Jones

    What your’e calling a half assist is called a key pass

  • Kris

    If you didn’t see Belgium and Carrasco play in the int’l break. Have a look at this.

  • Kris

    Well two goals so far. I like me an effective Carrasco as well. That’s what we’ve all been asking for, hopefully he is consistent. It really helps the team a lot when your attackers other than Griezmann scores. The depth and quality in terms of attack is what separates us this season from prior seasons under Simeone. Players like Carrasco, Correa, Gaitan, Saul are all capable of scoring, and this helps the strikers tremendously against teams who mark the forwards throughout the match.