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Due to the international break and then the game with Sevilla being postponed, it’s been three weeks since Barça last played a Liga match. So, although the Catalans are currently tenth in the table, the situation is misleading as they have two games in hand.
The first of those comes this Monday night at 9.00pm CEST. The Camp Nou is the venue and Granada are the opposition. The Andalusians stunned the blaugrana last season with a 2-1 win at the same venue, and came very close to knocking Barça out of the Copa del Rey before a remarkable late comeback and eventual extra time victory, 5-3, for the eventual champions.
But Granada have yet to register a win in the current campaign, with two draws followed by a couple of defeats.
Barça need to bounce back after a disappointing defeat to Bayern Munich during the week, but with two wins and a draw they are unbeaten in the league and with no fewer than three league games to come in the next seven days.
Last Five Meetings
29/04/21 (LIGA) Barça 1-2 Granada
03/02/21 (COPA) Granada 3-5 Barça
09/01/21 (LIGA) Granada 0-4 Barça
19/01/20 (LIGA) Barça 1-0 Granada
21/09/19 (LIGA) Granada 2-0 Barça
How it stands
Champions Atlético Madrid were held at home to Athletic Club, and Sevilla drew 0-0 at Real Sociedad, but while Real Madrid looked to be heading for defeat against what would have been the new leaders Valencia, two late goals earned them a 2-1 win at Mestalla and they now top the table.
A win today would send Barça up to fourth, three points adrift of the top but with a game in hand.
The season so far
Barça 4-2 Real Sociedad (LIGA)
Athletic Club 1-1 Barça (LIGA)
Barça 2-1 Getafe (LIGA)
Barça 0-3 Bayern Munich (UCL)
Villarreal 0-0 Granada
Granada 1-1 Valencia
Rayo Vallecano 4-0 Granada
Granada 1-2 Real Betis
Both Jordi Alba and Pedri have been added to Barça’s injury concerns this week. With strikers Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembélé and Sergio Agüero also unavailable, there’s a good chance we’ll see Luuk de Jong make his league debut (in a Barça shirt) after starting against Bayern midweek.
Ronald Koeman has confirmed that Ansu Fati is on the verge of returning, but not for this one, and although Philippe Coutinho impressed when he came on in the Champions League, the Dutch coach does not feel he is ready to play a full game yet, although he will probably feature against Granada.
Youngsters Gavi, Alejandro Balde and Yusuf Demir all got onto the field against Bayern on Tuesday, and could well feature in Koeman’s Monday night plans too, and have all been included in the squad announced on the day of the match.
Did you know
If Memphis Depay either scores or assists, he will become just the third player, and the first since Cesc Fabregas in 2011, to be involved in goals in all four of his first league games for FC Barcelona.
Luuk de Jong is the only member of the current Barça squad who has ever scored a league against Granada before (as a Sevilla player).
Granada’s new manager Robert Moreno was at FC Barcelona from 2014–2017 as assistant to Luis Enrique.
Barça had won every single one of the 24 league games that they had ever played at home to Granada until they were beaten in April of this year.
Only Lazio (26.5%) and PSG (25%) have a better shot conversion rate than Barcelona (24.1%) in the big-five European leagues this season so far.
"I don’t think Granada have changed much, but any new coach has ideas. They play 4-3-3, they’re physical and play direct football … But we’re at home and it will be different to last season’s game because there will be fans.”
"Balde played well the other day. He has quality and energy. But we also have Dest, Mingueza... I prefer a left-footed left back. Balde is young and needs to learn but I have no qualms about playing him from the start.”
"I’m not afraid to play youngsters from the start, but it wouldn’t be a good idea to stick six of them out right now. But if it’s a player like Pedri, you can’t do anything but start him, so it all depends on many things.”
“Agüero is working on the field with a physio. He still needs time. But Coutinho did well when he came on the other day. He’ll get time, but he’s not ready for the full ninety.”
"Ansu Fati defies his youth with his quality and goals. We haven’t set a date for his return but he’s working with the team and could be back in a week or ten days.”
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