Time to stand up and be counted in key clash
Estadio José Zorrilla, Valladolid, Spain
Sunday April 11th, 2021
REAL VALLADOLID (17th, 27pts) vs GRANADA C.F. (11th, 36pts)
A crucial match is on the cards at the José Zorrilla this evening as Real Valladolid entertain Granada in Matchday 30.
After losing to Barcelona in controversial circumstances on Monday evening, combined with Huesca’s win on Friday, Pucela have dropped a place in the league and teeter one place above the relegation zone ahead of this clash.
The defeat at Camp Nou saw Sergio’s side lose for the first time in four matches and they will need to replicate the solid performance shown against Barcelona if they are to earn all three points against Diego Martínez’s Europa League contenders.
The Andalusians have been one of the brightest stories in the league since returning to Primera last season, finishing seventh in their return to the top flight and earning European football. This season has seen a slight regression domestically, with the worst away record in the league hampering their progress. However, they continue to defy all expectations as they progress through the Europa League, dispatching Molde 3-2 on aggregate in the Round of 16 last month to set up a mouth-watering tie with Manchester United. With the first leg taking place on Thursday of this week, the English side left the Nuevo Los Cármenes with a 2-0 win which gives them the advantage ahead of the return fixture in four days’ time, further adding to the busy schedule facing the squad. It handed Granada their fourth loss in a row in all competitions.
Martínez’s side will be without veteran striker Roberto Soldado through suspension, having exceeded the disciplinary points threshold with a yellow card in Granada’s last league outing, a 3-0 home loss to Villarreal. The ex-Real Madrid, Getafe, Valencia, Tottenham Hotspur, Villarreal and Fenerbache frontman has scored six goals this season, which leads the club, and will most likely be replaced in a 4-2-3-1 formation by 38-year-old Jorge Molina, who has netted four times in 24 matches. In addition to Soldado’s unavailability, Alberto Soro, Luis Milla, Neyder Lozano and Pepe Sánchez all miss out.
Ex-Granada player Fede San Emeterio is one of several absentees for Pucela. The defensive midfielder continues to be sidelined with a muscle injury, along with defender Jawad El-Yamiq and fellow back-four colleagues Kiko Olivas and Raúl Carnero. Striker Marcos André returned to the squad for the first time since December to earn a place on the bench against Barcelona, and strike partner Shon Weissman – who missed the trip to Camp Nou following international duty with Israel – returns to the squad. Luis Pérez and Roberto are back in the fold following Covid-19 absenses but the Jordi Masip will retain the goalkeeper role. There is no place for Míchel in the squad. Óscar Plano was unsuccessful in appealing against the borderline red-card shown to him on Monday night and will miss the match through suspension.
Although not the most historical of opponents, there has been a very even split between the matches played by these teams in Primera. Both sides have five wins each, with three draws in the top division but with a further seven played across other competitions, Granada hold a 9/8 advantage. The last three matches have seen one win per team, with one draw. Real Valladolid have won five of the nine matches played between the sides at the José Zorrilla, but this would certainly be the most welcome win of all were they to take all three points tonight.