MX23RW : Wednesday, June 16 15:31:16| >> :600:792530:792530:
Apr 22, 2021 at 8pm UK at Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes
Soldado (21', 77'), Puertas (37'), Kike (64'), Kenedy (81')
Molina (41'), Recio (42')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Preview: Granada vs. Eibar - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's La Liga clash between Granada and Eibar, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Two teams pining for three points for entirely different reasons lock horns in Thursday's La Liga battle as Granada welcome Eibar to the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes.

The hosts last took to the pitch for their Europa League quarter-final defeat to Manchester United, while Eibar were swept aside by Atletico Madrid in a 5-0 defeat at the weekend.

Match preview

Granada manager Diego Martinez pictured on January 9, 2021© Reuters

Attempting to get one over Manchester United in the Europa League quarter-finals was a bridge too far for La Liga surprise package Granada, who were sent packing by the Red Devils 4-0 on aggregate after 2-0 defeats at home and away.

In last Thursday's second leg, Edinson Cavani took just six minutes to break the deadlock for the Red Devils - whose participation in the semi-finals is now in jeopardy following the announcement of a European Super League - and a late Jesus Vallejo own goal confirmed Granada's inevitable exit from continental competition.

However, Diego Martinez's side are still in with a fighting chance of flying the Spanish flag high in Europe again next season, as a narrow 2-1 success over Real Valladolid last time out in the league sees them remain in eighth spot - eight points adrift of the European places with a game in hand on the teams above them.

Granada have managed to win just three of their last 12 in La Liga, but they will be desperate to take advantage of Real Sociedad and Real Betis' own struggles to upset the European apple cart, even if their league-high 50 goals conceded remains a point of concern for the much-admired Martinez.

The hosts have only managed to string back-to-back league wins together on two occasions this season, but they have lost just four of their last 16 top-flight games on home soil and surely cannot envisage a slip-up against Eibar and their dismal winless streak.

Eibar manager Jose Luis Mendilibar pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Eibar supporters may have been feeling optimistic about a respectable scoreline against an Atletico side without Luis Suarez and Joao Felix, but Diego Simeone's attacking crop found their best shooting boots and thrashed the basement side 5-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Strike partners Angel Correa and Marcos Llorente both netted braces while Yannick Carrasco also got in on the act, that drubbing leaving Eibar firmly rooted to the bottom of the table with 23 points - four adrift of safety with seven games left to play - and Jose Luis Mendilibar's side have now failed to win any of their last 14 matches in the league.

As Mendilibar approaches the final stretch of the season - and if recent reports are accurate, his final few games in charge of Eibar - he must be aware that no team in La Liga history with 23 points or fewer after 31 matches has managed to avoid the drop, so Eibar will either make history or follow in the footsteps of the relegated teams of years gone by.

This week's visitors are also winless in 11 on the road since a 2-0 success at Real Betis on November 30, and having failed to score in four of their last five La Liga games away from home, they could prove easy pickings for Granada unless Mendilibar can somehow spark a revival at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes.

Recent history suggests that such a scenario is entirely possible, as Eibar's only win since the turn of the year was a 2-0 home victory over Granada, and the visitors have prevailed in their last three trips to the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, whereas Granada have tried and failed nine times to get the better of their opponents since 2014.

Granada La Liga form:
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • W

Granada form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Eibar La Liga form:
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Granada's Kenedy celebrates scoring their second goal with Jorge Molina on February 18, 2021© Reuters

Granada forward Luis Suarez was cautioned for the fifth time this season against Valladolid and will play no part in this fixture, but Roberto Soldado makes a timely return from a ban of his own to spearhead the hosts' attack, while Quini and Fede Vico are available after missing the trip to Old Trafford due to ineligibility.

Maxime Gonalons lasted just 32 minutes at Old Trafford before being forced off with a shoulder injury, but the problem is thought to be a minor one and he should be fine for this game, while Alberto Soro could also return from a knee sprain after taking part in full training.

Chelsea loanee Kenedy shook off an ankle problem in time to line up at Old Trafford, but the winger's recent sprain is expected to rule him out of this game, and an injury-hit Granada will also cope without Domingos Duarte, Luis Milla and Neyder Lozano this week.

Eibar will welcome Pape Diop back from suspension, and he should make an immediate return to the engine room, meaning that 21-year-old Miguel Atienza is expected to make way.

Highly-rated Sevilla loanee Bryan Gil may not be ready to return from his thigh injury just yet, so Kevin Rodrigues should continue out wide for the time being, although Gil is reportedly determined to play.

Three regulars in Yoshinori Muto, Pedro Bigas and Eduardo Exposito occupy spots in the Eibar treatment room, although the trio should make their returns before the end of the month.

Granada possible starting lineup:
Silva; Foulquier, Sanchez, Vallejo, Quini; Eteki, Herrera; Puertas, Vico, Machis; Soldado

Eibar possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Pozo, Oliveira, Burgos, Angel; Diop; Inui, A. Garcia, Alvarez, Rodrigues; K. Garcia

SM words green background

We say: Granada 2-1 Eibar

Eibar have been Granada's bogey team in recent La Liga seasons, and Mendilibar's current crop will hope to take inspiration from their recent successes against the European hopefuls.

In spite of the fact that the hosts have not covered themselves in glory since the turn of the year, they have had more time to prepare for this encounter and are expected to prolong Eibar's painful winless streak, so we can only back Martinez's side to claim all three points.

Top tip

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