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As the world turns

Started on 24 October 2011 by joannes3000
Latest Reply on 18 July 2012 by marz3y95
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All in all I think we had a pretty average start to the new year. We won two and lost one during league play. We had two very solid wins against Betis and Athletic to set up a showdown against Barca. Our 3-0 win over Betis was the Alberto show. Bueno had a brace and Abengozar had a goal in between. Against Athletic we got goals from three different players. Demidov headed home his 5th goal of the season just in time to even the score at halftime. Then in the second half Thiago scored his first career goal for Granada. Then it was Bueno scoring the final goal to put the game out of reach. Everything looked good going up against Barca! Then we were reminded of how rough things can be. We suffered a 4-0 drubbing in which we were outplayed all game long. Barca attempted 32 shots while limiting us to 3. We were literally shut down offensively.

The standings remain the same as far as we're concerned. Villareal remains ahead of us by 2 points and we still have a game in hand against them. We narrowly stretched our lead against AT Madrid to two points and still have a game in hand. Next month we face a very pivotal stretch of games that we really ought to win. We face Hercules (20), Racing (16), Mallorca (13), and Zaragoza (18).



Nothing to report from the Europa League, other than we play at Napoli next month on the 21st before hosting them on the 28th.



The biggest news to report, other than the Thiago signing, is our scalp of Barca in the 5th round of the Spanish Cup! We held firm against them at home, managing a 1-1 draw against a 10 man side. During the away leg, Barca took an early lead and then somehow we began to dominate. Bueno scored to tie the series at 2. Redmond gave us a 3-2 aggregate lead. Seldom used Kabiru Akinsola then notched a brace in five minutes. We took a 4-1 lead into the break and you could see Barca beginning to falter. They clawed one back at the hour mark, but by then the game was long over. Bueno then bagged a penalty shot for his brace and the final aggregate score was an astonishing 6-3 in our favor. Check out the match highlights - http://youtu.be/Z-cs7XsWANM

Our quarterfinal opponent was Valencia. After all the fireworks against Barca, we couldn't capitalize during the home leg; losing 1-2 before heading for the away leg. Once again, we had magic up our sleeves. Manuel Lucena scored in the 77th minute to force the game to extra time, only for Aritz Aduriz to score in the 102nd minute. Not to be outdone, Abengozar hit the eventual game winner in the 109th minute and we were off to the semis!

The going doesn't get easier as this time we get to face AT Madrid. And once again, we did ourselves no favors in the home leg. We lost 1-0 thanks to a goal by Falcao that made our defense look pitiful. It remains to be seen if we can somehow pull out another miracle win on enemy soil.



Our huge win against Valencia in the semis came at a dear price. Thiago picked up a sprained ankle that has him out for another 3-4 weeks. He was just starting to get settled, too. Ouch.

Fantastic job signing Thiago. I hope he will really flourish in Granada for a long time to come!


February went as smoothly and successfully as we had planned. A run of games against the league's bottom dwellers resulted in a 4 game winning streak; something to help take away that awful memory of Barca hammering us to end last month. In fact we only allowed one goal during league play this month, with that distinction going to Racing's Franco di Santo. We managed to keep clean sheets in the other three games.

Thanks to our four game winning streak we have gotten back into third place. Barca are ahead of us by 6 points although we have a game in hand against them. We are two points ahead of AT Madrid and have a game in hand against them as well. We have another busy month ahead of us with five league games on tap. We face Valencia (6), Real Sociedad (11), Real Madrid (1), Sevilla (8), and Osasuna (16). Madrid will be our biggest challenge and games against Valencia and Sevilla could prove to be critical. If we can get positive results in 4 games I think we will be in a very strong position for the home stretch.



Our run in the Europa League got off to a flying start. A 3-1 showing at Napoli set us up very favorably in the home leg and we coasted to a 4-1 aggregate victory to advance to the 2nd Knockout Round. Our opponent in the upcoming round is Russian Premier Division outfit Rubin. Rubin finished 2 points behind Girondins Bordeaux to qualify out of their group and then beat Athletic 1-0 on aggregate in the 1st Knockout Round.



Our run in the Spanish Cup comes to a familiar end. Just like last season we were defeated in the semifinal round. With Thiago out we didn't have the firepower take down AT Madrid. We lost a defensive struggle at home after Falcao netted home the only goal in the first leg. And we didn't look much better in the second leg, losing 1-0 there as well.



Thiago comes back just in time as now we lose his backup, Fran Rico. Rico picked up a thigh strain recently and is expected to be out for about 2 weeks.



Mission accomplished for the month. We went 3-1-1 which is right around where we expected to finish. We opened with a very shaky 1-1 draw against Valencia. We took a lead late in the game only to give up the tying score 5 minutes later. We hung on, however, and I was happy to take the point. We had an uninspired 1-0 win over Real Sociedad then got to match up against the juggernaut that is Real Madrid. Real is on another level this year and their 2-0 win over us doesn't highlight the dominance they have been showing on the pitch all year. We finished off the month by scoring 7 goals and only giving up 2; a nice run up as we head into the last few weeks of the season.

With 8 games to go we continue to hold down 3rd place. Barca is ahead of us by 5 points and we still have a game in hand against them. I guess it's possible that we overtake them if they falter toward the end. We hold a 2 point lead over AT Madrid, who have now played the same number of games as we have. April is the busiest league month to date, with six games on schedule; none being bigger than the potential showdown at the end of the month against AT Madrid. We face Espanyol (15), Villarreal (5), Deportivo (13), Sporting (14), Real Sociedad (10), and AT Madrid (4). At a minimum we need to win 4 games. Ideally we will win 5 and at least draw against AT Madrid.



We continue on in the Europa League after a heavy 6-0 aggregate demolition of Rubin. Our opponent in the Quarterfinals is Bayer Leverkusen. The German outfit finished 3rd in their Champions League group. They beat Lille Metropole and Juventus in two tight matchups to advance this far.



The revolving door at center midfield continues to turn. Fran Rico is healthy again, so here goes Lorenzo Crisetig with an injury. Our top sub at center mid is out for another 3-4 weeks with a sports hernia.



April's goal of 4 wins was met, but it was met in a somewhat unorthodox fashion. We beat the teams I expected to beat outright - Espanyol, Deportivo, and Sporting. We managed a somewhat unexpected win at home against Villarreal, which we basically traded with a freak scoreless draw against Real Sociedad. Our offense was nonexistent against Real Sociedad and while we looked a little better against AT Madrid, we still couldn't put a goal through. We lost our only game on the month to AT Madrid and haven't scored a goal in over 180 minutes. That's after we put up six goals against Sporting. Go figure.

The final four games are upon us and we are already assured of a spot in at least the Europa League next season. Barca has 2nd place all but wrapped up with an 8 point lead on us, although we continue to have a game in hand. And even though we lost to AT Madrid we still hold a 4 point lead over them. We need 9 points out of a possible 12 to guarantee 3rd place and a return trip to the Champions League. In our path are Valladolid (18), Betis (11), Malaga (8), and a season ending visit by Athletic (7). I want to get six points out of the way with the first two games, which would leave us needing one win out of the last two games to secure 3rd place.



I'm a bit disappointed to announce that our run in the Europa League was halted by Bayer Leverkusen. A tough 1-1 draw at home served as a warning shot that we wouldn't roll past Leverkusen like we did against Rubin. And even though we had so many more chances and owned a near 60/40 share of possession in the away leg, Leverkusen showed a level of defense that we simply didn't have. The result was a 1-2 loss in that game and a 2-3 aggregate loss overall. We will certainly learn from this trip and will come back with much better defenses.



It may not be the case, but it seriously feels like this is the first time we've had a clean bill of health since the start of the season! I'm never one to complain, and with the final games on tap it's definitely nice to have our full compliment of players to call on.

joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
12 yearsEdited

Granada C.F., 2012-2013

Competitions

La Liga



Champions League



Europa League



Spanish Cup



Transfers


First Team




Summary

As I said at the end of last season, I felt that this season was going to be just as important despite our success. This season's success helps to validate our 3rd place finish last year as one based on skill and not on luck. And while our maiden voyage into continental play wasn't a terribly successful one, we also weren't completely blown away by the level of competition in the Champions League.

I think our showing in the Europa League is more indicative of where we currently stand on a continential level. We fought our way to the quarterfinals and nearly made it to the semifinals. The same can be said about the Spanish Cup where we made another run into the semifinals this year. I was also especially happy with our scalp of Barca in the 5th round.

With another trip to the Champions League next season, our goal will be to advance out of the group stages. I don't know if that is possible until we have a full 25 man roster that we can bring with us, but we will give it a try nonetheless. If we slip down to the Europa League again, I'm hoping to advance one round further into the semifinals. Domestically I think that we can start to expect continental qualificaiton as the bare minimum. From my perspective I want to continue to finish 4th or better so that we can continue to play in the Champions League.



joannes3000's avatar Group joannes3000
12 yearsEdited


A strong preseason showing against four of Europe's top sides gave us false hope against Barca. They were quick to remind us that they are in a league far above our own, and after 90 minutes we were on the defeated end of a 0-4 game. We managed to bounce back with a 3-2 win over Osasuna that wasn't as close as the final score makes it seem. We had taken a 3-1 lead late in the game before Osasuna grabbed a consolation goal in the 88th minute.

Going into September we face Malaga (12), Villarreal (3), Deportivo (10), and Celta (17). Three wins would give us a fantastic start on the season and I could see us sweeping all four league games this month.



Being slotted 4th for Champions League draws sucks. I was hoping to bump up to a 3rd place slot after last season's success but we weren't so fortunate. As a result we got into a tough group with Shakhtar seeded 1st, Inter seeded 2nd, and Ajax seeded 3rd. It looks like we will be fighting to stay out of the cellar again this season and a successful campaign will be one where we finish 3rd ahead of Ajax.



We have no new faces in the starting eleven this season (when healthy) and we've strengthened our bench once again. Adorjan brings back memories of Newport and I'm hoping he can be a playmaker off the bench when needed. Calatayud can contend with Ribas as our first choice keeper after Barca, of all teams, took our backup from last year. And lastly, Angeleri provides added defensive cover for us when we hit the mid season grind.





We certainly got the kind of start that I was hoping for in our first full month of play. We fell just short of a clean sweep during league play, but winning 3 and drawing 1 is still fantastic. I was most impressed by the three clean sheets we kept in those wins. Meanwhile our only blemish was a 1-1 draw against Villarreal that we really should have won on a Thiago penalty kick gone wrong.

This run has us sitting within striking distance of the top 4. We're 1 point behind Athletic and 2 points ahead of Villarreal. October's league games are against Mallorca (2!), Real Madrid (1), Real Sociedad (9), and Sevilla (13). I'm hoping to capture another 3 wins out of 4 this month, with the game against Madrid being a likely loss.



After my complaints of being in a brutal group for Champions League play, we came out and shocked Shakhtar 2-1 in front of their fans. The team did a great job of playing our style of football and the game was actually 2-0 until some sloppy play led to a consolation goal in the 90th minute. We host both Inter and Ajax this month and if we can manage one win we will surprisingly be in contention to advance out of the group stage.



It's a good thing we signed a capable backup because our first choice keeper went down. Ribas suffered a sprained ankle during training and is going to be out for another month. Calatayud kept a clean sheet during his first appearance but he will get truly tested this month with two Champions League games on tap.



Well that didn't turn out quite like I had hoped. 3 wins out of 4? We ended up with 3 draws and a loss instead and I'm not quite sure what to say was the cause. Just as it looked like we were about to hit our stride we were struggling to draw games. The one prediction that did come true was a loss to Real Madrid, which was a close 0-1 game as a consolation.

Our struggles this month dropped us down to 7th place. We're 2 points behind Valencia and ahead of AT Madrid on goal differential. November's league games are against Espanyol (14), Sporting (16), and Valencia (6). I'm hoping for a clean sweep this month to get back up the table, and at least 6 points should be expected.



For all that we failed to do domestically, we somehow managed to do much better on the continental stage. We managed a 1-1 draw against Inter that kept us in a strong position in our group. Then we siezed full control over the group outright with a 3-0 hammering of Ajax. We now hold a 3 point lead over Inter at the top of the group with 3 games to go. Two of those games come next month. We will travel to Ajax first before hosting Shakhtar.



We are also under way in the Spanish Cup and our 4th round opponent is Second Division side Murcia. Our superior player advantage was on display during the first leg as we smashed them 3-1 away. It's all but a foregone conclusion that we will advance to the 5th round after we host Murcia next month.



We may have a bit of a controversy at the keeper position. With Biel Ribas returning from injury he should get right back into the starting role. Ribas has put up slightly worse numbers thus far, but he also faced an in form Barca team. Calatayud, on the other hand, looked solid against Real Madrid and two opponents in the Champions League. Our two man hit squad up front continue to look very comfortable with one another. Bueno is continuing to dominate with 9 goals and 6 assists in 10 games. Abengozar has managed 5 goals and 6 assists in 13 games. Lastly, in an attempt to get Thiago more involved in our offense, I'm going to experiment with him set as our playmaker. I typically don't like doing this but he's too good of a player to not thrive in the role.



I think you should try and buy youngsters for your team instead of spending big and getting loanees. This may help your fincial state as they would not cost much or there wage bills would be low.
You were always going to struggle at some point this season but don't forget how far you have come with Granada and to establish yourself as a top 3-4 club in La Liga is pretty special.

The CL is going well for you this season and although this may cause your La Liga form to dip a little at least you will have the financial clout if you get through that tough group.

How are your finances looking just now?
Wow amazing! But why didnt you start in the lower leagues of Spain and straight away go to Spain's top flight. Loved the story of yours on Newport being promoted from the lowliest of lows to the highs! Besides that, great story. Can't wait till you overthrow Barca and Real Madrid.
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#36507 scarbs11 : I think you should try and buy youngsters for your team instead of spending big and getting loanees. This may help your fincial state as they would not cost much or there wage bills would be low.

I fully agree! Ever since I took over the club I stopped taking on loanees. And while we have splashed on players like Thiago, it was to infuse the club with ready-made talent so we could compete immediately in the Champions League. A lot of my signings now are future prospects, and as usual I have all of my scouts looking for players that are 18 or younger only.
#36519 Scottio86 : You were always going to struggle at some point this season but don't forget how far you have come with Granada and to establish yourself as a top 3-4 club in La Liga is pretty special.

The CL is going well for you this season and although this may cause your La Liga form to dip a little at least you will have the financial clout if you get through that tough group.

How are your finances looking just now?

Very good point on looking at our success as a whole. It was just a big surprise to see such a dip in form after we had gone on a nice win streak. I was hoping we could shake off the first draw and get back to winning but instead we seemed to get stuck in place last month. Then to see us continue to do well in CL play was just odd, given our domestic struggles.

As far as finances go, our CL play last year got us into the 'rich' category. The board gave us a 60m+ transfer budget for a midtable prediction and I'm in no hurry to spend that. I'm hoping that another successful year financially will get the board to build up the stadium. We're got ~25k seats right now and we're selling out a ton of games.

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