A new matchday is upon us as Los Rojoblancos travel to the south of Spain to confront Granada. Granada are pushing their luck at the foot of the table and sit perilously close to the relegation zone with just one point to spare over Malaga, Las Palmas and Levante, who have accumulated ten points while Granada have 11.
The Andalucian team are in the middle of a poor streak with a solitary victory amongst their five previous results. Atletico, however, are on the up and have won their last five while keeping five clean sheets. Los Carmenes will try to end that streak but Atletico will aim to solidify their position as direct rivals to Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Regular starters back to action
After a well-deserved break for the midweek Copa game against Reus, Cholo is set to recall all of his usual starters to the team. Tomorrow will be Simeone's 150th in charge of Atletico Madrid and he currently has 93 wins in 149 (62.41%), which represents the best win percentage in the club's history (via AS).
Juanfran and Filipe Luis' main aim will be to curb the influence of Isaac Success, one of the most promising young players in La Liga. He is currently their top scorer with three goals and three assists in 13 appearances.
Simeone's starting XI should look something like this: Oblak; Juanfran, Gimenez, Godín, Filipe Luis; Saul, Koke, Gabi, Carrasco; Griezmann, Torres.
Saul Replacing Tiago
Reports from Atletico's last training session point towards Saul Niguez as Tiago's replacement in the starting XI. The academy player occupied the position during the first half of the Copa del Rey game against Reus and is the most suitable replacement when you consider the range of skills needed to occupy this position in a Diego Simeone side.
He will join Gabi and Koke in the midfield three given the fact that Simeone now likes to play a 4-3-3 system. Saul would be in the most defensive role of the three while Koke and Gabi would play more attacking roles in helping to put pressure on the opponents' when in and out of possession.
After half time in Reus, Saul and Koke swapped their roles, although the manager confirmed in the press conference after the game that both players want to be Tiago. Simeone said he wants them to be like themselves.
In addition Cholo dedicated some nice words to Saul: "He has absolutely everything: good in aerial duels, intensity, he can play in every single position. In order to improve, it will depend on his conviction, stability and emotional harmony. We have to demand a lot from him, as we know he is one of those players that needs to be called upon to improve. We expect an important performance from him in tomorrow's match."
The canterano has a serious test to pass in proving that he is the ideal candidate to replace Tiago.
In: Oblak, Moyá, Godín, Giménez, Savic, Filipe Luis, Juanfran, Gámez, Tiago, Thomas, Saúl, Gabi, Koke, Óliver, Carrasco, Correa, Griezmann, Luciano Vietto and Torres.
Out: Lucas, Siqueira (tactical) and Jackson (injury).