Diego Simeone’s side finished third in La Liga last season, 11 points behind the champions Barcelona, while Granada secured a return to the top division as 2022-23 Segunda Division champions.
Atletico’s form in the second half of the 2022-23 La Liga season was excellent, and if they can start this campaign well, then a title challenge could be a possibility, as both Barcelona and Real Madrid have their problems entering the new campaign.
Simeone’s team were third in the table last season, just one point behind second-placed Real Madrid, but they were 11 from the champions Barcelona, so it is a big ask for them to finish at the summit.
Atletico’s transfer business has been modest, bringing in Javi Galan, Santiago Mourino, Caglar Soyuncu and Cesar Azpilicueta, while there have not been any huge departures, although Joao Felix is widely expected to depart before the end of the transfer window.
The Red and Whites only played four times during pre-season, drawing their last two against Real Sociedad and Sevilla after losing to a K-League XI and beating Manchester City.
Atletico will be the favourites on Monday, but they have only actually won one of their last three league matches against Granada, including a goalless draw when the two teams locked horns at Wanda Metropolitano.
Granada’s relegation from La Liga at the end of the 2021-22 campaign was somewhat of a surprise considering that they had finished seventh and ninth in their two seasons before.
However, Paco Lopez’s side managed to return to the top level at the first time of asking by winning the Segunda Division last season, picking up 75 points from their 42 matches during a strong campaign.
Granada have managed to bring six players to the club during the summer window, with Shon Weissman, Gonzalo Villar, Famara Diedhiou, Gerard Gumbau and Wilson Manafa arriving on permanent deals, while Jesus Vallejo has returned on loan from Real Madrid.
The team’s chances of staying in the league this season will not depend on their results against the likes of Atletico, but their recent record against the capital outfit will hand them confidence.
Lopez’s team played five times during pre-season, recording four victories in the process, although they suffered a 1-0 loss to Almeria in their final friendly last weekend.
Atletico Madrid friendly form:
Granada friendly form:
We say: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Granada
Granada are not a team to be underestimated, and it would not be a surprise to see them claim a positive result on Monday night. Atletico are difficult to back against on home soil, though, and we are expecting Simeone’s side to navigate their way to all three points in this contest.