La Liga: Granada VS Espanyol – Match preview

La Liga: Granada VS Espanyol – Match preview

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21 May 2022
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Granada vs Espanyol

Granada manager Aitor Karanka was still full of praise after their recent 2-0 loss to top-four challengers Real Betis, telling his players after the game “we all would have signed up to be in this situation a month ago”, as despite that defeat they remain in control of their top-flight destiny.

Granada

Sat in 16th place, Granada may hold a minor advantage going into this final round with relegation rivals Cadiz and Mallorca both playing away from home, but other matches will be the last thing on their mind as they seek the victory that would guarantee their place in a fourth consecutive La Liga season. Manager Aitor Karanka was still full of praise after their recent 2-0 loss to top-four challengers Real Betis, telling his players after the game “we all would have signed up to be in this situation a month ago”, as despite that defeat they remain in control of their top-flight destiny. Indeed, hosting a fellow bottom-half club is a good spot to be in when potentially needing a victory on the final day, but Granada – at least before Karanka’s arrival – came up short at home far too often when expected to win.

 

They enter this final round with La Liga’s worst win rate as home favourites, although strong performances against Celta Vigo and Athletic Bilbao during Karanka’s tenure should give them the confidence they need to get the job done.

Espanyol

Interim Espanyol manager Luis Blanco promised “improvement” after a 1-1 home draw against Valencia on his La Liga debut, an admirable effort considering he had just one day to prepare for the clash. The club will be jostling with Rayo Vallecano to be the highest placed of the three newly promoted teams, potentially finishing in either 13th or 14th place in the final standings for the sixth time in their last ten La Liga campaigns. Starting this round with La Liga’s second-poorest travelling record, there can be no arguments about the root cause of Espanyol’s failure to place higher this season. Their second-half goal difference of -9 on the road this La Liga season, whilst nowhere near the worst in the league, has also contributed to four consecutive La Liga away defeats despite being level at the break in three.

 

Granada midfielder Alex Collado has done his chances of more regular minutes no harm by scoring in two of their last three La Liga home matches. With top scorer Raul de Tomas suspended, Espanyol may hope Sergi Darder can get on the scoresheet, with only one of his 17 goalscoring games for Espanyol seeing them lose. Espanyol have completed 39 consecutive competitive matches without a 0-0 draw.

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