Saturday, 27th September, 2014
Camp Nou,16:00 GMT
Sitting on top of the La Liga table, Barcelona host Granada on Saturday and will be hoping to earn 3 crucial points in a bid to return to their winning ways. Having started off their campaign under Luis Enrique by winning their opening 4 games, the Catalans succumbed to a draw against Malaga and will now host Granada in a bid to win 3 points.
Visiting PSG on Tuesday for Champions League, it will be interesting to see what Luis Enrique has in mind in terms of team selection. Already in the midst of a hectic week which will see them play their third fixture tomorrow in a single week, Barcelona will have to rotate their squad in order to keep the players fresh for the crucial Champions League encounter.
Barcelona have been defensively strong so far this season, having kept five consecutive clean sheets. Though Thomas Vermaelen has been cleared by the fitness experts, it seems unlikely that the Belgian will make his debut for the Catalans. Pique’s starting spot has also been in contention and it will be interesting to see if Enrique gives the Spaniard another chance or if he reverts to the Mascherano-Mathieu pairing.
Barcelona will be hoping for Lionel Messi to come good again as he remains integral to the Catalans if they are to earn three points at Camp Nou. Neymar has been struggling with his injuries and could be rested in order to be fit for their visit to Paris.
Rakitic and Sergio Busquets are likely to be a part of the starting line-up and will be partenered by Iniesta in the midfield.
Expected Starting Line-Up: Bravo; Mathieu, Mascherano, Dani Alves, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta, Neymar, Pedro; Messi
If Barcelona expect an easy game, then they arelikely to find out that Granada are no push-overs. They have had a decent start to their campaign, having earned 8 points from 5 games. Having lost their last encounter by a goal to Levante, Granada will be hoping to put up a determined resistance to Barcelona as they visit the Camp Nou.
New arrival Babin is expected to partner Murillo at the back with Nyom and Foulquier starting on the sides. Fran Rico is integral to Granada’s midfield and will be hoping to get a grip on the proceedings at Camp Nou. He along with Piti will be burdened with the responsibility to guide the team on the field. New arrival Cordoba will partner El Arabi and will be leading the team’s attack. Barcelona’s defence has been their Achilles heel in recent years and Granada will look to exploit the likes of Mascherano and Mathieu with their pace.
Expected Line-Up: Roberto; Babin, Murillo, Foulquier, Nyom; Rico, Yuste , Piti, Rochina; Cordoba, El Arabi
-Barcelona lost their last encounter to Granada, 1-0.
-Barcelona are yet to concede a goal in Spanish La Liga this season.
Player To Watch Out For
Messi is undoubtedly the player to watch out for every time he steps out on the field. Following a dismal season last year, the Argentine has returned looking extremely sharp and his partnership with Neymar is yielding in lots of goals. The Argentine-Brazillian duo are definitely the players to watch out for.
Barcelona 3-1 Granada
Despite the pressure, Barcelona should earn three points as they play Granada at Camp Nou. Following a lacklustre performance against Malaga, expect Messi and co to light up the stadium however Granada will be expected to score a goal.
Blast From The Past