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.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    That was one great international break for our internationals -of course except the Argentinians- and I don’t know what the hell is wrong with Argentina, but I’m sure that they don’t need Messi or Simeone, they have many great players, and there are many Argentinian coaches who are doing very well with other national teams, including our Hector Cuper .

    2 wins for Brazil, Croatia, Montenegro, Belgium & France .
    A win & a draw for Slovenia, Uruguay & Spain .
    2 goals for Gameiro and one for Filipe, Savic & Grizi .
    2 assists for Vrsaljko and one for Grizi .
    2 clean sheets for Oblak, and for 3 of our 4 defenders who played in this break, Savic, Filipe & Vrsaljko .

    It also was a good int. break for Gimenez who stayed in Madrid, many people have seen how vulnerable Uruguay’s defense is without him, and I’m not talking about the 2-2 draw against Colombia, I actually didn’t see that game, I’m talking about the game against Venezuela where Uruguay should have conceded 2 or even 3 goals but they were very lucky to not concede any .

    And I left Thomas for last because I couldn’t be happier that his Ghana drew at home with the weakest link Uganda and my Egypt won away at Congo and lead the group .
    He didn’t play any minute, and I honestly don’t think he deserves to be called up to Ghana national team with his very little playing time, they have many other players who are playing regularly in European clubs .

    I do have a point for all those numbers :
    We have a great team, we have many great players, Simeone is not a superman who achieved the impossible, who had success out of nothing .
    I will not get tired of fighting against this idea .
    We always had great players, we always used to spend big money on transfers, even in the struggling years after the relegation and the promotion, we signed big players like Forlan, Simao & Reyes, we had good homegrown players like De Gea, Alvaro Dominguez & Antonio Lopez, and we always have been good in signing young promising talents, like Aguero .
    The club has been working very hard to return to its usual place, with Europe’s biggest clubs, and this success was inevitable, with Simeone or with somebody else, but Simeone achieved in a very short time that I don’t think any other manager would have.

    But still, giving ALL the credit to Simeone and portraying him as our savior is wrong, it’s unfair to the other people at the club who have been working very hard for many years, and it’s disrespectful and demeaning to this great club .
    There are some people who are even trying to give Simeone the credit of the new stadium, despite that the project started in 2007 !!
    While others have been saying that he can save Valencia, I don’t think so, not when they are changing most of the team every season, not when they are replacing Mustafi and Otamendi with Mangala & Garay, not when they are building a team from “leftover” players, like Siqueira, Montoya, Nani, Mario Suarez (sorry again Mario) & Munir .

    Simeone to Atleti is not like Rodi Garcia to Lille or René Girard to Montpellier or Felix Magath to Wolfsburg or Ranieri to Leicester City .
    Many people think of Simeone and Atleti that way, and very sadly, many of them are Atleti fans, or so they call themselves .

    Simeone to Atleti is like Guardiola to Barca, they were already a great club, but he made them even greater, he moved them to a totally different level, in 10 years before Guardiola, Xavi has won 7 titles, and in 4 years with him he won 14 .
    Simeone to Atleti is like Sir Alex to Man Utd, who won 13 league and 2 UCL titles under him, but they also were a great club before him, they had a UCL title and 7 league titles, seven, that’s 2 more than what Chelsea has right now after all the money Abramovich have been spending for the last 13 years .
    I think I’m being fair enough, or even more than fair with Simeone .

    I know I keep repeating this and it has become very annoying, but I’m sorry, I can’t stop until they stop treating Atletico Madrid as a small club or as a former small club .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I want to talk a little about Carrasco (I’m sorry)
    He played 144 minutes in the 2 games of Belgium in this break where they scored 10 goals, and he had zero goals and zero assists .
    To be fair, I didn’t watch any of the two games, maybe he contributed in some of those goals the way he contributed in the first goal against Valencia two weeks ago, and that what I meant when some people asked me not to judge him only by goals and assist and I said his contribution away from goals and assists is still poor .
    If we can call his pass to Torres against Valencia “half assist”, he didn’t have many of those either last season, while Arda -for example- had many of them in his spell with us, and sometimes his pass -the one before the assist- was more important than the assist itself .

    If Carrasco had some “half assists” in those two games then fine, but if not, then he still has a big problem, because 10 goals in 2 games are a lot, and a player with his kills and in his position should have his fair share in them .

    I keep comparing him to Mohamed Salah, because they have many similarities and because I watch almost all the games for both of them, Egypt won 2-1 against Congo at Congo, Salah scored one and assisted the other .

    And it’s not that Belgium has many great attacking players which makes it difficult for Carrasco to have a bigger role, I don’t think any of them are better than him, not even Hazard who is definitely not the same player he was 2 years ago .

    That being said, I still think we should increase his buyout clause, let’s even make it 100 million like those of Grizi and Oblak, he has the potential to become a 100-million player, or maybe even more in this inflated market, although I think right now he is a 25-million player .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    I don’t think it would be a bad idea to give Koke some rest today and start with Gabi and Tiago in the middle .
    Maybe also start with Vrsaljko instead of Juanfran, even if he played 180 minutes with Croatia last week while Juanfran was resting, he is young, and it could be harsh on him to return again to the bench after two great performances with his national team, besides, we have a very important game in the cold of Russia next Wednesday and Juanfran could use more rest .

    And again, I don’t know what to do with Filipe, should he start after a very long trip to South America, or should he be rested and put the right-footed Vrsaljko or Lucas -who doesn’t offer much in the attack- at his place ?!

    Gaitan and Correa had the same long trip, but they didn’t play a lot, 59 and 25 minutes respectively, so maybe they should get more time, I wish we see Gaitan from the start .

  • 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.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    Well, I’m talking more generally than key passes, a shot that the GK saved then another player scored in the follow up, winning a penalty or a free kick in a good position, or even by not touching the ball at all, but letting it go through your legs, like what Raul did against Real Madrid two years ago, and some other plays that we could consider them “half assists” or any other name .
    More effectiveness, that what I will keep asking Carrasco .

  • 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.

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    If Carrasco scored league goals in double figures this season I think no one can stop us from winning it .

  • Ahmad Hossainy

    That fast throw in from Torres in the 7th goal is a half assist .