Injuries and suspensions mean Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid side may well pick itself against Granada on Saturday evening.
It turns out the international break did not bring the physical rejuvenation for which Simeone had hoped. José Giménez still has not trained with the group since he sustained a hamstring injury on Oct. 22. Stefan Savić did train this week, but the recurrence of his grade II thigh strain may keep him sidelined until 2020. As you probably know, Diego Costa underwent surgery for a slipped disc on Thursday — we won’t hear from him until February at the earliest.
To top it all off, Saúl Ñíguez and Thomas Partey are suspended after both players picked up their fifth yellow cards against Espanyol two weeks ago. Giddy up.
The good news is João Félix is set to get his first minutes since a nasty-looking ankle injury shelved him for a month. He may be ushered back in slowly, though, as Atlético have Juventus and Barcelona coming up next week.
Finally, Granada last defeated Atlético at home in 1975.
Oblak; Trippier, Felipe, Hermoso, Lodi; Herrera, Llorente, Koke, Vitolo; Correa, Morata.
2-2. Atlético’s midfield could be ridiculously open without Saúl and Thomas in it, which will be a welcome development for a Granada team defined by the chaos it creates in the middle of the park.
Diego Martínez’s men have scored 18 goals (plus one own goal) on their return to LaLiga — midfielders have accounted for 11 of them. The Andalusian side may have a large actual goal/expected goal discrepancy, but players like Darwin Machís and Antonio Puertas are aggressive to the point of fearlessness. Central midfielder Ramón Azeez will push up too, and creative winger Álvaro Vadillo may trouble Atleti with his set-piece deliveries.
Simeone would make a wise decision if he starts Marcos Llorente in an effort to toughen up a soft midfield. But the mattress makers could be in for a wild game regardless, and that would suit the hosts just fine.
Jeremy’s record on the season: 8-9
How to watch
Date: Nov. 23, 2019
Location: Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes, Granada, Andalusia, Spain
Kickoff time: 6:30 p.m. CET, 5:30 p.m. GMT, 12:30 p.m. EST, 9:30 a.m. PST
Available TV/streaming: Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Premier Sports 2 (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), DAZN (Italy), DIRECTV Sports (Argentina), ESPN (Brazil), Sky (Mexico), QQ Sports Live (China)