Playing With Conviction

Granada CF currently tied for 5th in La Liga table after 4 rounds.

Miami, Fla, 16 September 2019

It’s early in the season, but after four rounds of La Liga, fans of Granada CF are probably surprised by the club’s performance thus far: two wins, one draw and one loss. For a team which is one of the favourites to finish in the bottom three, these are good times in Andalucía.

The season has seen Granada open the campaign with a 4-4 goleado at the Cerámica against Villarreal, followed by a narrow 1-0 defeat at home against currently first-place Sevilla. Then came a surprising 3-0 win away at the RCD Espanyol stadium over the Péricos before the international break, and proving that was no fluke, winning over the weekend 2-0 at Celta de Vigo. The team has also scored 9 goals while conceding 5 (+4 differential).

Germán Sanchez heads home a goal in first half stoppage time.

Granada are coached by Diego Martinez who at 38 years old is young for a manager, but has a wealth of coaching experience having retired from playing at the age of just 20. He has steadily built his way up since, spending seven years on the coaching staff at Sevilla before getting his big break with Osasuna in 2017-18. His switch to Granada last summer ultimately worked out well for both clubs with Osasuna the other side to achieve direct promotion from the Segunda last season.

Sunday’s Result Versus Celta

Manager Diego Martínez said in the pre-game press conference that “we approach every game with maximum confidence and thinking that we can win.” And win they did, though the game didn’t go according to plan. Nonetheless, Granada’s win on Sunday came exactly 61 years after their last victory in Vigo. The game itself will likely be remembered more for the deployment of VAR than much else. Under unusually warm, sunny skies and dry conditions, something not that common in this part of Spain, the most influential person on the pitch was referee Prieto Iglesias, who issued not one but two red cards after consulting VAR that reduced Celta to nine men before 30 minutes had been played.

Referee Prieto Iglesias issues red card to Celta’s midfielder Fran Beltran in the 28′

Granada found the back of the net in first half stoppage time on a nice header from Germán Sanchez and again shortly after the restart, when, in minute 53, Yangel Herrera unleashed a blast that nearly destroyed the crossbar on its way in. From that point on, it was game over.


Summer Transfer Market: La Liga Santander And La Liga Smartbank Summer Transfer Market 2019 | Mercado de Fichajes 2019

A closer look at the squad: Granada CF (Transfermarkt)

At the post game press conference following the 2-0 victory, Manager Diego Martínez characterised it as a “marvellous victory,” adding that if someone had told him his club would have seven points after its first four matches it would have been beyond all imagination.

“Es una victoria maravillosa para un equipo recién ascendido como nosotros. Cuando salió el calendario, si nos dicen que vamos a tener siete puntos, no se lo hubiera imaginado ni el más optimista”.

One of the biggest tests of the season awaits the Nazarí side this weekend, as defending champions Barcelona make a visit to the Nuevo Estádio de Los Cármenes. Barcelona is playing well even in the absence of Lionel Messi, and has seen excellent performances turned in by young players such a Frenkie de Jong and 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati.

Discussing the upcoming game, Diego Martínez said he is hoping for a full stadium that supports Granada, and pledged that his team will approach every game as if it was the last.

Continue reading Playing With Conviction