El Centrocampista

BASEMENT BATTLE – Sporting Gijón v Granada CF Preview

By Heath Chesters

While there are some mighty clashes among the upper echelons of La Liga this weekend, with Málaga hosting Real Madrid, Barcelona facing Sevilla, along with Valencia against Athletic Bilbao, spare a thought for those who are battling it out to escape from the bottom three this weekend.

Sporting Gijon host Granada CF tonight at 6pm local time (5pm UK time), with both teams sharing similar fortunes at this early stage in the season… you could also say they’ve suffered similar “misfortunes” too.

Both teams have only suffered one resounding defeat each, Sporting losing 4-0 away to Atlético Madrid, Granada losing 4-0 away to Málaga. The other defeats for both teams have been by single goal margins, in matches that really could have gone either way, had they enjoyed a little more luck.

Sporting Gijon have yet to record a win this season, whilst Granada have only managed one victory at home to a lacklustre Villareal side, who looked jaded following their loss at Bayern Munich a few days earlier.

A big problem for both teams so far has been a lack of cutting edge going forward. Sporting Gijon have managed only three goals in seven games, whilst Granada show an even poorer return of just two goals in seven games.

One thing that certainly isn’t lacking from either side, is their level of commitment, so both teams will be desperate to get three points from an encounter on which they place great importance.

Sporting Gijon have yet to record a home victory and whilst a win won’t lift them out of the bottom three, it will be a major boost to their confidence going forward.

Granada on the other hand could lift themselves just outside the relegation zone, also gaining confidence away from home, given their historically poor record on the road.

Whilst looking at the statistics for both teams might seem to suggest we’re in for a drab, nil-nil draw, I suspect we might be in for a treat, with and end to end game and both teams hunting a much needed win.

Although it’s still early days, both teams recognise the importance of the result. Whilst they are sat at the wrong end of the table, there’s a lot of encouragement these teams can take from their performances, even when they’ve not resulted in victories.

So keep an eye out for the game if you can watch it, as it will certainly be an intriguing encounter and could shape the fortunes of both teams for the weeks ahead.




  1. Heath Chesters

    23 October, 2011 at 11:26

    So a 2-0 victory for Sporting Gijón. Joy for Sporting, pain for Granada.

    Already there’s discontent amongst Granada CF supporters, if their fan forums are any gauge. The inability to score goals being the most obvious concern.

    Fans are also unhappy with the direct approach, which whilst effective in the lower divisions, just isn’t cutting it at this level, seeing the team giving the ball away more than any other, statistically.

    The pressure is on for manager Fabri now, as he faces the challenge of motivating his side and in the face of large sections of fans calling for a change at the helm.

    • Iain McMullen

      23 October, 2011 at 13:06

      I was on the way back from Newcastle so didn’t get to see any of yesterday’s games bar the second half of FCB-Sevilla clash. How did Granada play?

  2. Heath Chesters

    23 October, 2011 at 16:09

    Statistically it was a pretty even game, but Granada were poor bar one or two players. Same problems that have plagued them always this season… giving the ball away far too cheaply.

    They need to make the most of the footballers they have, instead of the same direct-wide approach every game.

    Frankly looking ahead, good central players like Franco Jara, Carlos Martins and Fran Rico are wasted if Fabri is determined to stick with his system.

    It’ll take a miracle for them to score against Barcelona or Sevilla in the next two matches, then they have another basement battle against Racing Santander. If they don’t score or get a result in that match against Racing, I’ll go out on a limb and say Fabri might get the push soon afterwards.

    I’ve utmost respect for the work Fabri has done with the consecutive promotions, but he’s too stubborn to change things tactically and looking well out of his depth at this level.

    The problem if Fabri is given the push though, would be who the club could bring in, or would indeed be interested in what would be a very tough salvage job. There’s still a sizeable transfer pot available though. The club reportedly had €30 million available and spent just over €7 million during the summer.

    It’s then a case of trying to attract players that can genuinely help the cause… and that was difficult enough in the summer. Possibly they aimed too high with targets like Steven Defour (who chose Champions League football with Porto) or Marouane Chamakh (who stayed at Arsenal, claiming never to have heard of Granada), then rushed late before the transfer deadline to make up the numbers, especially in attack.

  3. Heath Chesters

    23 October, 2011 at 16:14

    Also looking into some statistics. As far as I can tell so far, if Granada remain on two goals in their opening nine games, that will be the worst scoring record for any team in La Liga history.

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