Atletico Madrid get their 2020/21 La Liga campaign underway on Sunday at 3pm as they host Granada.
Diego Simeone’s men are one of four teams yet to get underway in Spain’s top flight, having reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League, so were given a delay start to ensure their post-season break matched the rest of the division. History is on Simeone’s side, with Atletico unbeaten in their past 19 league games against Granada, winning 14 and drawing five, their second-best run in the top-flight against a particular opponent. Atletico are also unbeaten in their opening La Liga match for the pat 10 seasons.
But Granada have recent form on their side and, perhaps, an advantage in terms of competitive game time, having already played two matches in this season’s La Liga. A 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao and 2-1 victory against Alaves sees Granada top of La Liga, one of just two teams with a 100% record, though that does not include the four teams yet to kick off their campaigns. They are also 100% in the Europa League, seeing off Teuta and Locomotivi Tbilisi so far.
Can Granada continue their perfect start to the season or will Atletico get off the mark with yet another win over their visitors?
Where to watch Atletico Madrid vs Granada on TV:
- UK: LaLigaTV
- US: beIN SPORTS
Where to live stream Atletico Madrid vs Granada:
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Atletico Madrid & Granada’s previous line-ups:
- Atletico Madrid (vs RB Leipzig): Oblak; Trippier, Savic, Gimenez*, Lodi; Koke, Herrera, Saul, Carrasco; Llorente, Costa.
- Granada (vs Locomotivi Tbilisi): Silva; Diaz, Vallejo, Sanchez, Neva; Milla, Gonalons; Kenedy, Montoro, Machis; Soldado.
Atletico are without Jose Gimenez, so Felipe should be a direct replacement in Simeone’s backline. They will, however, be able to call upon new signing Luis Suarez following his arrival from Barcelona in the week, but the Uruguayan may have to settle for a substitute role.
Meanwhile, Granada made a handful of changes for their Europa League qualifier on Thursday and may see the likes of Yangel Herrera and Domingos Duarte return.
Players to watch:
Atletico Madrid: Joao Felix With Suarez joining in midweek, it’s hard to see Atletico’s front line for the season being anything other than the Uruguayan alongside Diego Costa. But with Suarez a doubt to start on Sunday, it may be the chance for Felix to stake his claim. It wouldn’t be too harsh to say Felix had an underwhelming first season in Spain following his big-money move from Benfica last year. In 36 games across all competitions, the Portuguese forward scored nine goals and recorded three assists, as he struggled to find a way to fit into Simeone’s system. Preferring to play behind the striker rather than alongside him, Felix often found himself a bit too far forward to fully work his magic. But Simeone is a man very much set in his 4-4-2, so Felix will have to find a way to adapt, starting against Granada on Sunday.
Granada: Roberto Soldado From one forward with something to prove to another who has is nearing the end of his career, Spaniard Soldado is still fighting at the age of 35 and remains important for Granada. The former Real Madrid, Valencia and Tottenham striker got off the mark in La Liga last weekend, opening the scoring in Granada’s 2-1 win over Alaves, his 118th goal in the Spanish top flight. Although he is no longer the frightening goalscorer he once was at Valencia, Solado’s experienced head at the top of Granada’s attack can be key in games like this. Up against a tough defence, Granada’s other attacking players will need the guidance and know-how if they are to upset Atletico.