Granada hoping for European qualification for next season

When we think of La Liga we tend to dive in and look for Barcelona, Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid, and those clubs have warranted why we do that. The big 3 will be dominating for some time one suspects. But this season there have been some surprise packages from Real Sociedad to Villarreal. Another club that has caught the eye is Granada.

Granada are currently in 7th position and have 27 points and they are only 3 points away from a European finish which would be incredibly beneficial for the club. Last season Granada finished seventh and this is quite remarkable because in the previous season they were playing their football in the Segunda Division. A lot has changed for the club in such a short time.

A lot of Granada’s good fortune comes down to current coach Diego Martinez who joined the club in 2018 when they were in Spain’s second tier and he has not only guided the club back to La Liga but also last season they qualified for the Europa League.

Martinez has plenty of good experience too coaching Sevilla’s B teams during the 2010s and helping out as an assistant to Sevilla during their successful spell in the Europa League during the 2010s, and he is only 40 years old.

Martinez has come in with fresh ideas and has been hailed as a possible future great coach, right now he is doing wonders for Granada who when promoted may have been content with finishing in midtable and just surviving but for the second season in a row they remain a force to be reckoned with.

This season Granada have qualified from their Europa League group and next month they will play their 2 legged round of 32 match against Italians Napoli.

Domestically the goals have been shared around and Jorge Molina and veteran Roberto Soldado have scored the most with 3 goals each. The player with the most points in the fantasy rankings is striker Darwin Machis and Molina who have 12 points each. Machis is valued at 5.5m and while he has been struggling with goals scoring just twice so far he has assisted in a further three goals.

Perhaps this season the club could aim a little higher too with more consistency given that they are only 5 points short of a Champions League place and that really would be historic for the club.

Granada are a team who have proven that a good work ethic can have a team expected to be fighting in the middle of the table actually pushing for Europe and deserving to be there too.

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La Liga: Best 11 Players of Week 12

Atletico Madrid remain the only team in La Liga unbeaten and they went top by a point after beating Valladolid. Real Sociedad had to concede top place as they drew their 2nd game in a row- is the pressure getting to the club?

Real Madrid narrowly beat Sevilla 1-0 to stay in 4th place but it was more sad news for an indifferent Barcelona side who lost their 4th game of the season 2-1 at Cadiz. Barcelona are 12 points behind Atletico and that has to be a worrying site for fans to see. Cadiz themselves have been a surprise package and are in fifth place with 18 points.

Below we take a look at the star performers from this past weekend.

Goalkeeper: Fernando Pacheco- Alaves 7pts

Fernando Pacheco put in a great performance for Alaves as he had to keep the then league leaders Real Sociedad quiet. The game finished 0-0 and Pacheco made some good saves. He has been in good form for Alaves and kept 4 clean sheets so far.

Defender: Kieran Trippier- Atletico Madrid 9pts

Kieran Trippier is becoming a regular fixture to teams of the weeks in La Liga and here he is again. In beating Valladolid, Atletico kept yet another clean sheet. However Trippier also earned points by assisting in both of the goals in a 2-0 win that has sent Atletico to the top of the league. Trippier has 3 assists this season and has 46 points overall.

Defender: Hugo Mallo- Celta Vigo 9pts

Hugo Mallo earned 9 points at the weekend as Celta Vigo ovecame Athletic Bilbao 2-0. Mallo kept a clean sheet and scored the opening goal of the match, to cap off a perfect weekend for the defender.

Defender: Raphael Varane- Real Madrid 5pts

Raphael Varane is now Real Madrid’s 2nd best defender in the fantasy rankings and he earned another 5 points at the weekend helping his side keep a clean sheet in a tricky 1-0 win away to Sevilla.

Defender: Carlos Clerc-Levante 7pts

Carlos Clerc has zero points now as his seven earned at the weekend helped him eradicate a minus score in the fantasy points. Levante beat Getafe 3-0 and not only did Clerc earn points for a clean sheet which is his first of the season but he also set up the 2nd goal.

Midfielder: Marcos Llorente- Atletico Madrid 6pts

Alongside Portu of Real Sociedad Marcos Llorente is the equal best midfielder in La Liga’s fantasy points and now has a total of 34. Llorente only came on as a 2nd half substitute but scored Atletico’s 2nd goal which effectively wrapped up the game, that was his 4th goal of the season so far.

Midfielder: Thomas Lemar- Atletico Madrid 6pts

Thomas Lemar opened the scoring for Atletico and in turn earned six points for the weekend. That was Lemar’s first goal of the season and his value is 6m, he now has 16 points for the season.

Midfielder: Joaquin Sanchez- Real Betis 4pts

Joaquin Sanchez hasn’t scored any goals so far this season but he assisted in his 2nd of this campaign as Betis impressively beat Osasuna 2-0 away from home.

Midfielder: Borja- Huesca 4pts

Huesca were involved in a six goal thriller at the weekend as away from home they drew 3-3 with Granada. Borja now has 8 points and his value is 7m

Striker: Alvaro Negredo- Cadiz 4pts

This wasn’t the weekend for strikers to earn many points but Alvaro Negredo deserves his four. Negredo came on for Cadiz against Barcelona just after the hour mark and 60 seconds later he had scored to make it 2-1 to the home side who claimed a famous victory. Negredo now has 3 goals and he has assisted in a further three also.

Striker: Roger- Levante 5pts

Roger opened the scoring as Levante beat Getafe 3-0 to escape the relegation zone. He lost points as he was shown a yellow. Roger has been involved in 5 goals for the club and has scored 3 so far and his value is worth 6m.

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A preview of this weekend’s LaLiga action

Another full list of LaLiga matches awaits all Spanish football fans this weekend. There are some very interesting matchups to look out for as well.

Here is our preview of all ten matches.

Sevilla v Celta Vigo

Key men: Jordan (Sevilla); Aspas (Celta Vigo)

Prediction: Sevilla 2 – 1 Celta Vigo

Sevilla are the early LaLiga leaders and I can’t see that changing after this game. They should overcome Celta Vigo on Friday night. Continue reading

Granada playing catch up with promotion rivals


Despite the Segunda Division season extending into June 2019, attention will quickly turn to the 2019-20 La Liga campaign, with the three newly promoted sides.

Osasuna won the second tier title, with an eight point advantage over Granada, with both sides returning to the top of the Spanish football pyramid for the first time since 2017.

Real Mallorca’s dramatic play-off final win over Deportivo la Coruna brings to end an a six-year absence from La Liga for the Balearic side.

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Pozzo family building success at Watford and Udinese

pozzosEver since Giampaolo Pozzo entered the world of football when he purchased Serie A club Udinese back in 1986, he and his family have built their own empire by way of guiding their clubs to new heights. After a rocky start in Udine which saw the club relegated to Serie B following a betting scandal, Pozzo went right back to basics and built a club which is this year celebrating its 24th consecutive year as a Serie A side. This sound guidance has seen him having previously been voted the best president in Serie A a decade ago, before a year later branching out into La Liga with the purchase of Granada FC. He spent seven years as owner there before ultimately selling in 2016 to Chinese businessman, Jiang Lizhang. In June 2012, however, another project of his was born.

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Tony Adams stalls in first game in charge of Granada


Tony Adams first game in charge of La Liga struggler’s Granada ended in a comprehensive 3-0 defeat at home to Celta Vigo. The defeat, Granada’s 20th of the season, only added to the woes of a club who look certain to be relegated to the Segunda division.

Adams appointment last week was seen as a major surprise given that he hadn’t managed in a top flight league since 2009 when he was manager of Portsmouth. But he promised that he would kick some butt- to tone down his words, but there may have been a lack of communication between himself and the players as Granada succumbed far too easily in a one sided affair.

After the game in the press conference Adams looked shattered, collar slightly up and one could have mistaken that he had just come in from a wedding. More ill advised was the bottle of beer next to him, obviously there for sponsorship reasons. Adams is a recovering alcoholic and has thankfully turned his life around.

However his own personal football woes are continuing where Adams has never been able to transfer his wealth of success as a player with Arsenal into management.

Some have questioned why exactly Adams took on this difficult managerial position but on the face of it Adams has made the right choice. It’s clear that the former defender wants to get back into management, to put himself out there on the market again and when Granada came knocking he made the right decision to accept their offer.

This reason being is that Granada will more than likely be relegated with or without Adams in the dug out. The damage had already been done well before Adams came on board and his job is to create what would be a miracle and keep the club up. However if they go down, Adams can walk away without blame and at the same time have gained six weeks experience in what he called in his post match press conference as the best league in the world.

At least Granada aren’t bottom but in 19th position on 20 points they are 7 from safety with just 18 points remaining. The only team they could realistically catch is Leganes and the fixtures are hardly going to get easier for Adams.

Next up is Sevilla at Sanchez Pizjuan, the team in 4th place have lost just once at home this season. The remaining fixtures see Granada play Malaga at home then they have a difficult away trip to Real Sociedad and then there is the mother of all ties for Adams, at home to Real Madrid. The season is wrapped up with an away trip to Osasuna and then Adams short managerial stint will likely end with a home match over Espanyol.

If anything watching Granada’s task at hand will at least be fascinating, one just hopes it won’t be car crash television, something that Adams will be desperate to avoid.

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La Liga bajo sospecha


La Liga pone su foco de atención en posibles amaños. Queda solo una jornada para que termine el campeonato, pero las sospechas se centran en varios partidos de las últimas semanas y apuntan, principalmente, a un equipo: el Granada.

El Granada ya está salvado matemáticamente, lo consiguió la jornada pasada tras ganar un partido loco. La victoria en el Sanchez Pizjúan se presentaba como una quimera, pero los nazaríes ganaron; o mejor dicho, golearon. Pocos se podían esperar un contundente 1-4. El Sevilla ha hecho de su estadio un fortín al encadenar 17 victorias consecutivas y derrotar a equipos como el Madrid o el Barça. Que un equipo que lucha por salvarse, el Granada, gane puede llamar la atención, pero que golee y encima que la actitud de los sevillistas fuera tan negativa, es un indicio de sospecha. El Sevilla jugó horriblemente mal y alineó a jugadores nada habituales y canteranos, pero se escuda en que no quería correr riesgos con sus titulares ante las 2 finales que le quedan.

Se habla de un posible acuerdo entre Granada y Sevilla satisfactorio para ambas partes por varios motivos: uno es la amistad que une a directivos granadinos con del Nido, además el Sevilla ya no se jugaba nada pero podía echar un capote a su vecino. También está presente el interés del Sevilla para que el Granada llegase salvado a la última jornada, ¿por qué? Eso evitaría que saliera a por todas frente al Barça, por tanto, el equipo catalán lo tendría más fácil para ganar la Liga. ¿Y qué tiene eso que ver con el Sevilla? Pues que, independientemente del resultado de Copa, se aseguraría jugar la próxima Supercopa de España.

La LFP está investigando la situación, ya que es habitual que en el tramo final de cada temporada haya rumores de maletines y primas a terceros. También se está analizando otro encuentro de los nazaríes, Granada 3 – Las Palmas 2, con una remontada desde cero de los locales que ha mosqueado por alguna situación de dudosa legalidad.

Asimismo, hay muchos más rumores sobre la verdadera situación de la Liga y de sus posibles amaños. Se ha acusado al Rayo de dejarse perder en Anoeta, algo que ha desmentido toda la plantilla en una rueda de prensa conjunta; pero sobre todo, Luisinho, el defensa del Dépor, ha amenazado a su entrenador para jugar. El equipo gallego puede ser el juez de la Liga frente al Real Madrid y la actitud del portugués hace pensar en los maletines, así que ante la evolución de los hechos ha decidido apartarle temporalmente y finalmente no irá ni convocado para el último encuentro. Por tanto, las dudas sobre amaños sobrevuelan la LFP. ¿Será cierta la compra de partidos? Este podría ser un hecho muy grave.

Las cuentas del descenso

Rayo vs Getafe¿Qué equipos bajarán a Segunda División? En la última jornada se han salvado de la quema varios equipos, pero aún quedan 3 clubes en peligro que se repartirán los dos billetes que mandan directamente a la categoría de plata. El Levante ya está descendido y aún falta saber quiénes le acompañarán. A falta de la última jornada que se disputará el próximo fin de semana, así está la clasificación.

16) Granada – 39 puntos

17) Getafe – 36 puntos

18) Sporting – 36 puntos

19) Rayo – 35 puntos

20) Levante – 32 puntos

El Granada está salvado matemáticamente porque, en caso de empate a puntos, el golaveraje que mantiene con sus dos inmediatos perseguidores lo tendría ganado. Por tanto Getafe, Sporting y Rayo están en la quema y estas son sus opciones. Dos de estos equipos bajarán el próximo fin de semana:


Visita el Benito Villamarín y depende de si mismo para estar una temporada más en Primera.

- Si gana, se salva.

- Si empata tiene que esperar que Sporting y Rayo hagan lo propio.

- Si pierde, solo le vale que Sporting y Rayo también pierdan.


El Molinón le arropará en esta final ante un Villarreal que no se juega nada.

- Si gana, tiene que esperar que el Getafe pierda o empate.

- Si empata, tiene que esperar que el Getafe pierda y que el Rayo no gane su partido.

- Si pierde, descenderá independientemente de otros resultados.


Se ha complicado mucho la salvación y se la jugará a todo o nada en Vallecas frente al Levante.

- Si gana, necesita que ni Getafe ni Sporting se hagan con los 3 puntos.

- Si empata, le queda aferrarse a una carambola en la que sus rivales pierdan. En ese caso se produciría un triple empate a puntos y el Rayo saldría beneficiado.

- Si pierde, directamente dirá adiós a Primera.






Why travel-sick Real Madrid could come unstuck to relegation-threatened Granada this weekend

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid travel to the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes to face relegation-threatened Granada on Sunday evening, and are favourites to pick up all three points to continue their impressive start to life under interim manager Zinedine Zidane. However, Los Blancos’ poor away showings in La Liga coupled with Granada’s upturn in form in their own backyard could well see an upset, potentially crushing Real’s title-hopes for another season.

Currently 19th in the Spanish La Liga after 22 games, Granada are big underdogs to get a result against Real Madrid. They have spent the campaign struggling for points, enduring heavy defeats away from home, but shouldn’t be underestimated. They only lost 1-0 to Real in the reverse fixture earlier on in the season, and are boasting three wins from their last five home games in the division ahead of this weekend’s clash.

Their leaky defensive record guarantees Real at least scoring at the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, but Granada have shown real resilient in their own backyard to pick up wins by outscoring their opposition regardless. their only three wins on home soil this season have come in recent weeks, and Real Madrid’s away form could well see them somewhat nervy at the start.

Zidane’s men have failed to win four of their last five games on the road in the division. They have won just one league game away from home since October, keeping only a single clean sheet on their travels since September. Playing away from the Santiago Bernabeu has been Real Madrid’s Achilles heel this season, and Granada will certainly want to capitalise to boost their own survival hopes.

In the earlier meeting between the two sides, Granada were well-drilled and kept the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo quiet for the majority of the game. It took a second-half effort from Karim Benzema to separate the two sides, but they will know they stand an even better chance of coming away with a result in front of their own supporters.

Given their recent upturn in form at the Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, the Granada fans are sure to give Real Madrid an uncomfortably atmosphere to play their football in, and with Zidane still struggling to find the remedy away from home during his short stint in charge, Los Blancos could drop crucial points.

Discipline from the underdogs will be key, as one mistake or lapse in concentration could cost them the match. It certainly won’t be easy to keep such an attacking side quiet, but with Real struggling on the road and Granada rejuvenated at home, they stand an honest chance.