Failure to score a goal Saturday would result in Atlético Madrid matching its worst goalless run in LaLiga since the 1987/88 season.
Granada have long struggled to get results in the capital and have not achieved a positive result away to Atlético since the 1974/75 season. But Atleti are in a bad way at the moment, having failed to win any of the past five games and scoring just one goal in the process. Thursday’s Copa del Rey results showed us just how en vogue upsets are right now. Diego Martínez’s men are Copa semifinalists themselves, qualifying for the final four following a 2-1 win over Valencia on Tuesday.
Diego Simeone has two natural forwards fit — literally. He reportedly is leaning toward starting Vtiolo alongside Ángel Correa to make room for Koke, who is back after a hamstring injury kept him out of action for all but one game since Dec. 14. Simeone also has only two central defenders available to him, as Felipe Monteiro is suspended and José Giménez is of course injured.
Possible XI Oblak; Vrsaljko, Savić, Hermoso, Lodi; Llorente, Thomas, Saúl, Koke; Vitolo, Correa.
Predicted scoreline 1-1. I think the mattress makers find a way to end the scoring drought, but not the winless drought.
Granada have wobbled in recent weeks but overall have been a fairly average team in its first season back in LaLiga. What that side gives away in penalty area shots (nearly seven per game) it makes up for with goals from dead ball situations (11 of 27 total). Atlético will be susceptible to this without emergent defensive leader Felipe and with Mario Hermoso — who has played once in 2020 — in his stead. Atleti’s midfield should look better, but with no reference point up front it is hard to see from where the goals (or goal) will come.
My record on the season 17-14
Date Feb. 8, 2020
Location Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid, Spain
Kickoff time 9:00 p.m. CET, 8:00 p.m. GMT, 3:00 p.m. PST, 12:00 p.m. PST
Available TV/streaming Movistar+ (Spain), LaLiga TV (United Kingdom), beIN Sports (United States), ESPN Sur (Argentina), Sportklub 2 (Croatia), Eleven Sports 2 (Belgium), Fox Premium (Brazil)