Real Sociedad v Granada preview
By Kristian Walsh - @Kristian_Walsh
Last Updated: 20/09/11 3:25pm
Real Sociedad and Granada head into their midweek clash in San Sebasitan in high spirits after acceptable starts to the season.
Although Sociedad sit mid-table with four points, while Granada rest 15th with one win in three, both have made the most of their difficult starts after a summer of change.
Real Sociedad, under new manager Philippe Montanier, would have grimaced at the prospect of a Sporting side good at home, followed up with a home clash with champions Barcelona and a tough trip to Sevilla. Granada, likewise, would have worried at their opening three games; Segunda champions Betis, moneybags Malaga and Villarreal.
But after an encouraging start for both, Montanier and Fabri Gonzalez will see this game as a chance to further their progress.
Montanier has instilled his mentality at Sociedad quickly and effectively; he led Valenciennes to two reputable mid-table finishes with a tight, disciplined set-up, finishing both his seasons in northern France with a positive goal difference. Their home form in his final season was astonishing, with just two defeats, while they regularly denied top-half teams points on the road.
Sociedad were inflicted their first defeat of their season at Sevilla; beaten, but not embarrassed. Imanol Agirretxe was curiously left out after three goals in his first two games, but should expect to return this week - especially given the injury to Xabi Prieto, which saw him withdrawn on the half hour.
Whoever lines up for Sociedad, they'll have to be at their best to deny a Granada side brimming with confidence after their first goal, and win, in the top flight in 35 years. Granada deserved their 1-0 home win over Villarreal, despite Rossi's 80th minute penalty miss. Ikechukwu Uche, on loan from Villarreal, showed his potential goalscoring prowess by scoring a fantastic header against his parent club, while Hassan Yebda looked impressive in the midfield.
The win correlated with their fine home form last season, but they'll be hoping for an anomaly to their away form at Real Sociedad. Granada won just three on the road last season, and their fear of more of the same last season wouldn't have been eased by a 4-0 thrashing to Malaga.
Despite Granada's interesting attacking options - Uche, Carlos Martins, Franco Jara and Dani Benitez - they'll look to keep it tight, much like they did in the first half against Villarreal. 40 of Granada's 71 goals last season scored last season. Sociedad will do similar given they conceded just five before half time at home compared to 16 in the second half.
Neither team will want a draw, however - a win shows they've fully adapted to the changes at the club over the summer and they're ready to climb further up the table.