Oscar Mingueza should step into the side for the suspended Clement Lenglet while Miralem Pjanic is in line to start when Barcelona face Granada in La Liga.
Barcelona will be aiming to register their third win in three games in 2021 when they travel to Los Carmenes to take on Diego Martinez’s Granada side on Saturday evening.
Ahead of the game, Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has not been treated with any fresh injury setbacks, with Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho being the only absentees. However, defender Clement Lenglet will be unavailable for selection due to suspension for accumulation of cards.
Opening up on his options in the Frenchman’s absence, Koeman, in his pre-match presser (h/t Barca Blaugranes) said, “Umtiti has been out of action for a long time. He’s had to overcome injuries, it’s been a long way back. He needs to play, he’s had some minutes and we have to decide because Lenglet won’t be there. We also have Mingueza who has played there.”
Given Umtiti’s lack of playing time, Oscar Mingueza, who has done well almost every time he has been given a chance this term, should partner Ronald Araujo at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Flanking them ought to be the full-back duo of Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen being the undisputed choice in goal.
Sergio Busquets featured in the win over Athletic Bilbao but could be set to make way for summer signing Miralem Pjanic when Barcelona face Granada. The ex-Juventus star should start at the base of the three-man midfield unit, with Pedri and Frenkie de Jong the undisputed starters in the remaining two slots after their brilliant performances against Athletic Bilbao.
Lionel Messi has been mighty impressive in the last couple of matches as well and the Barcelona captain is a certain starter on the right flank against Granada. Ousmane Dembele has also done well since returning from his latest injury setback and should hold on to his place in the starting XI.
Antoine Griezmann is likely to get the nod as the centre-forward after showing encouraging signs in the Athletic Bilbao clash, although Koeman did challenge him to find the back of the net more consistently in his presser.
“It’s not just a question of his hard work. He recovered a lot of balls the other day and he had an assist for Leo. But he needs to score because scoring is the best medicine to improve one’s self-confidence,” the Barcelona manager said. Griezmann should pip Martin Braithwaite to the starting spot against Granada at Los Carmenes.
Barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Dest, Mingueza, Araujo, Alba; Pedri, Pjanic, de Jong; Messi, Griezmann, Dembele