The Liga is back at an atypical hour for Barça. At 16.00, the Blaugrana will host Granada at the Camp Nou. The team are in the top spot of the table after the latest international break, with an advantage of three points over Atlético and six over Madrid. The situation, however, has changed considerably since Barça’s last league match, against Betis. Tata Martino will have to overcome the issue of missing a significant number of players due to injury. But just as the manager said, there are no excuses.
The most serious injuries are the ones picked up by two of the most important players on the team: Messi and Valdés. Both players won’t play football again until 2014. That means that José Manuel Pinto will take over in goal.
The other injured players are Xavi, Tello, Dani Alves, Dos Santos and Afellay. The good news is that Cesc and Piqué were given the green light to return to competitive play on Friday, and the reserve team’s attackers, Dongou and Adama, were named to 18-man squad ahead of the match.
With that said, Tata Martino will attempt to extend his incredible start to the season: he’s won 12 competitive matches and tied only one, his players have scored 38 goals and have only conceded 8.
Granada have never managed to win a point in their past 19 visits to the Camp Nou. This time round, however, they come into the match having secured the eighth spot in the table and they are the fourth best team on the road, after Barça, Atlético and Madrid.
Granada aren’t prolific goal scorers (11 goals from 13 matches), but they make the most of them thanks to their solid defense.