Saturday, April 21, 2018

Atletico Madrid v Granada: Gabi dreaming of La Liga title

SoccerNews in La Liga 15 Apr 2016


Atletico Madrid captain Gabi is slowly starting to dream about the Liga title as they prepare to take on Granada on Sunday.

Diego Simeone’s men have moved to within three points of leaders Barcelona following the Catalans’ poor run of form in recent weeks – Luis Enrique’s men failing to win their last three league matches.

Atletico – who knocked Barcelona out of the Champions League with a 3-2 aggregate victory on Wednesday –  still have six games left to catch the reigning champions and Gabi is delighted with their performances so far this campaign.

“We are in a privileged situation,” the influential midfielder told the official Atletico website.

“We still have a chance of winning La Liga with six more games to go.

“This is a great achievement for us and is a reward for our hard work. The team is playing at a very high level.”

Atletico will be confident they have what it takes to see off Granada following their previous results against this weekend’s opponents.

They have gone 14 league games in a row without a defeat against Granada (winning 10 and drawing four), with their last defeat coming in 1973.

And Granada have beaten Atletico just once at the Vicente Calderon in their 21 meetings in the top-flight, a 2-0 triumph in 1959.

Jose Gonzalez’s men will be hoping for a repeat of that result on Sunday as they continue their battle against relegation.

Granada sit 17th in the table after 32 matches, but are just two points clear of the drop zone.

Midfielder Ruben Perez, who started his career at Atletico, is therefore desperate to spring a surprise.

“We have to go to the Vicente Calderon to win. There are only a few games left and we really need the points,” Perez told reporters.

“Atletico concede very few goals and almost always score. They have players who can make the difference, players who can hold on to the ball and players who know how to defend.

“It is important to make as few mistakes as possible and take our chances.

“We all know Simeone. He is a coach who gets the best out of his players.”

Granada were beaten 2-0 in the reverse fixture back in December 2015, with Diego Godin and Antoine Griezmann finding the net.



Key Opta facts:

– Only Mesut Ozil (18) has given more assists than Atletico Madrid’s Koke (12) in the top five European leagues among midfielders this season.
– Granada have drawn four games in a row in La Liga, they have never drawn five consecutively.
– Fernando Torres has scored five goals in his last eight La Liga appearances – as many as he had netted in his previous 35 games since returning to Atletico. 
– Atletico have scored the most goals by players who started on the bench in La Liga this season (13).
– Youssef El-Arabi has scored seven of Granada’s last 13 goals in La Liga.


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