3 UP: Marco Ruben, Javier Camuñas, Marcos Senna.
Ruben: What more can you say about our Argentine #9. En fuego, and there is no end in sight. He's now up to 7 goals on the season and a legitimate threat to hit 15. And that's with an injury setback and a rotating cast of characters around him. We've tried Nilmar, Joselu Moreno, and Camuñas in leading roles, along with Borja Valero. But our fearless striker just keeps on scoring...
Camuñas: As I noted on our podcast, he has delivered as a second striker. A goal against Wolfsburg in the preseason, the game-winner in Seville, and an instant impact up front against Granada. Camuñas played the inventive chip which Borja brought down and smashed into the roof of the net for the eventual winner. José Molina is comfortable with the ex-Osasuna man, and it shows.
Senna: At the beginning of the season, we wondered if we could play our Brazilian midfield stalwart. Now we are asking how the team would survive without him. In the rare absence of Bruno Soriano, Senna kept us afloat in the midfield. And we carried play in both final thirds, so a draw in the middle was enough to win. And win we did.
Honorable Mention: Borja (at this point, I don't expect anything less), Alejandro Martinuccio (impactful in limited minutes), Wakaso Mubarak (he made the squad!).
3 DOWN: Makeshift center backs, defensive midfielders, Spanish media.
Center backs: The resurgent Gonzalo Rodríguez was suspended, and Mateo Musacchio was a last-minute scratch. Two Argentines out, a Spaniard and a Colombian in. Carlos Marchena was at fault on the Granada goal, failing to jump with Íñigo López. And Cristián Zapata was shaky in his return to the lineup. But as Allen said: "I wouldn't put Zapata as a down, personally-- he at least didn't cost us a goal!" The bar is low.
Defensive midfielders: Wakaso is the new Gerard Bordas-- the last man in the squad. And Jonathan de Guzmán is barely hanging on to the edge of the bench. Gonzalo Castellani has more of an attacking profile, so Borja had to take Bruno's spot on Sunday: a waste of our best creative player. We desperately need more bodies in the doble pivote. Miss Marcos Gullón yet (who started for Racing Santander)?
Spanish media: A number of the major media outlets must have been watching a different match. Granada came at us strong early on, but the last half-hour was a yellow monologue. Not sure if the press was rooting for Abel Resino after stomping on his grave with Atlético Madrid, but the match definitely ended with the right result.