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Primera División

  • March 26, 2014
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio Vicente Calderón, Madrid
  • Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
  • • Attendance: 41200

Atletico Madrid-Granada: Simeone's side look to maintain momentum

Atletico Madrid-Granada: Simeone's side look to maintain momentum

The Rojiblancos went top of the Primera Division at the weekend and, given their impressive form at the Vicente Calderon, will be confident of staying there

New Liga leaders Atletico Madrid will be expected to continue their outstanding home record when they host Granada on Wednesday.

The Rojiblancos – who moved top with a 2-0 win at 10-man Betis that preceded Real Madrid's 4-3 loss to Barcelona on Sunday – have enjoyed an excellent season under coach Diego Simeone.

And much of that is down to their feats at home, with no side having come away with three points after a league visit to Estadio Vicente Calderon.

In fact, just three of the 15 teams to have visited Atletico this season have left with a point, those being title rivals Madrid and Barca, along with the fifth-placed Sevilla.

While Atletico do not have the riches that Madrid and Barca have at their disposal, Simeone has moulded his side into a well-organised outfit that have proved difficult to break down.

Atletico have conceded just 21 goals in their 29 league matches – giving them La Liga's best defence.

And although Atletico have been expected to fall off the pace in the second half of the season, Simeone's men actually appear to be getting better, a scary proposition for their rivals.

Prolific striker Diego Costa's dream season just keeps improving, with the 25-year-old having netted 23 goals in 28 La Liga appearances.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more times in La Liga and Costa, who is hoping to represent Spain at this year's World Cup in Brazil, notching again in Sunday's triumph.

The performance was typical of Costa's season - the often prickly forward clashed with several opponents, notably Betis' Paulao, had a goal ruled out and then found himself in the right place at the right time to net his side's second.

Costa's predatory instincts have reaped rewards time and time again for Simeone, who also saw Gabi score a 25-yard screamer in Sunday's win.

Granada, who are 11th, also enter the match on the back of a win after Yacine Brahimi's second-half strike saw them beat Elche 1-0.

Granada have won their last three home fixtures, but have struggled on the road, without a victory in their last six – a run dating back to December.

Youssef El-Arabi provided the assist for Brahimi at the weekend and the Morocco international has been the club's main man this season, racking up 11 goals in 27 La Liga appearances.

El-Arabi was a late substitute in Granada's 2-1 home loss to Atletico back in October, a feisty affair that saw the winners score two penalties but lose Filipe Luis to a late red card.

In terms of team news, Javier Manquillo is on the comeback trail from a back injury, but is not expected to feature for Atleti.

Liverpool loanee Tiago Ilori (muscular injury) will miss out again for Granada, with forward Piti and goalkeeper Roberto doubtful.

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Granada CF GRA
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