Granada vs Atletico Madrid

Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes forms the backdrop for a lopsided La Liga encounter between relegation-battling Granada and top-four hopefuls Atletico Madrid.

Granada’s spirited 2-0 home victory against Cadiz proved a one-off as they swiftly returned to their habits, slumping to a dismal 1-0 defeat at Real Betis last time out, their third defeat in four La Liga outings. With only rock-bottom Almeria’s tally of no wins from the opening 20 rounds painting a bleaker picture than Granada’s woeful record of two victories (D5, L13), it’s barely a surprise the hosts come into proceedings trailing 17th-placed Sevilla by five points. On a more positive note, both those wins arrived on home turf, where Alexander Medina’s men have avoided defeat in three of their last four La Liga matches (W1, D2) despite netting under 1.5 goals on three occasions. With that in mind, solidity at the back is imperative, though a 3-1 loss in the reverse fixture decreases the likelihood of a resilient defensive showing.

In the meantime, Atletico Madrid repaid fierce rivals Real Madrid the favor of knocking them out of the Supercopa de Espana semi-finals with a breathtaking 4-2 extra-time win in midweek Copa del Rey action, strengthening their spirits ahead of a pivotal La Liga stretch. Diego Simeone’s men have compromised their chances of securing another top-four finish after going winless in three of their last four league outings (D1, L2), falling two points below fourth-placed Athletic Bilbao. But with two games in hand, ‘Los Colchoners’ can finish this round in the final Champions League qualification spot if they can arrest a disheartening four-game losing La Liga run on hostile turf. They’ve not lost five consecutive such fixtures under Simeone, yet skepticism creeps in after a 2-1 defeat on their last top-flight visit to Granada.

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