Their next challenge will be away to Granada, where they will re-encounter Nolito.The Blaugrana have turned themselves into arguably Europe’s best club team in the modern era. Having to watch Real Madrid lift the La Liga title last season looks to have been just a bump in the road for Barcelona.Tito Vilanova’s side has a commanding 12 point lead over second placed Atletico Madrid, while Real Madrid is a shocking 16 points back, in third place. Having that cushion domestically, can and should allow Barcelona to rotate their squad, especially ahead of a Champions League match in the coming week.
Granada will play host to Messi, Iniesta and co. but, they showed in their previous fixture at the Nou Camp that they will not lay down and hand Barcelona a victory.It took Barcelona 87 minutes to finally break through against Granada in September, with Xavi getting the goal. A stoppage time own goal from Borja Gomez gave Barcelona the two goal lead, guaranteeing them the full three points.Xavi’s absence led to Iniesta having to fill a deeper role in their previous match, and the Spanish midfielder will have to do the same against Granada as Xavi will not be available. Some say Iniesta is Barcelona’s best player, so he will get another chance to show that even without his midfielder partner, he still can make it happen for Barcelona.
Spanish forward David Villa will also be missing in action after having been in and out of the hospital with Kidney stones.Barcelona’s opposition is 14th on 26 points from 23 matches. They did not start off the season very well, but Luis Lucas Alcaraz has helped the Andalusians make their way back up the table. They are now six points clear of the relegation zone, and recently beat Real Madrid 1-0. One of Granada’s newest signings, Nolito, will get a chance to take on his former club. The Spanish player is on loan from Portuguese side Benfica, and he does not seem bothered at the fact that he will take on some of his former teammates.”It is complicated, but we will try to be ourselves. If we can beat Deportivo, Real Madrid and Barcelona, then it would be a few days worth celebrating,” Nolito told reporters.”We know it will be a difficult game, but we are preparing with the same intensity that we had against Deportivo and Real Madrid.
Granada vs FC Barcelona
Spain La Liga League 2013
Date: 17 February 2013 | 17-02-2013
Venue: Estadio Los Cármenes, Granada
Granada 1 : 2 Barcelona
- 09-22-12 Barcelona 2-0 Granada
- 03-20-12 Barcelona 5-3 Granada
- 10-25-11 Granada 0-1 Barcelona
With their mind already at San Siro, Barcelona will drop points on the road for the third consecutive match, conceding early and grabbing a late equalizer through the inevitable Lionel Messi.Granada brought in a significant amount of players during the January transfer window, giving them a lot of different options. Nolito and Malaga’s Buonanotte are likely the most notable names, but Granada still has El-Arabi and Siqueira who have scored 36% of their goals this season.Going up against a Barcelona side that will certainly have one eye on their Champions League match with AC Milan, Granada could have a chance to pull off an upset, just as they did at home against Real Madrid.With three victories in their last four in La Liga, the Andalusians have also managed four clean-sheets in their last five at home.Keeping Barcelona off the score card will not be easy, but Vilanova’s side has not been all that great away from home as of late. Barcelona has won just one of their last four matches away from home, so they will want to grab the full three points on Saturday, although it will not be easy.
The last three meetings between these two sides ended in victory for Barcelona, but their one meeting away to Granada was by the minimum margin. They also took a significant amount of time to break down Granada at home in their match earlier this season.With a number of players getting some rest ahead of their Champions League match, and the fact that they have such a comfortable cushion in the La Liga standings, Barcelona could get complacent on Saturday. Granada will be full of confidence coming off their latest results and they will know that Barcelona could be there for the taking.
- Granada 1-1 Barcelona
As a La Masia youth product and former Barcelona player, Nolito might be especially pumped up for this match to prove a point to his boyhood club. He has been one of the best Granada players and his pace might be key to unlocking Barcelona’s defense.
Regardless of who Roura selects to start, Barcelona’s philosophy and identity will remain the same as always, looking to overwhelm Granada with quick, intricate passing from the very first minute.
TV Channels Broadcasting List:
- Spain: GOL T, Canal+ Liga
UK: SKY Sports 1, SKY Go
USA: Bein SPORT
South Africa: Supersport
India: ESPN (Not Confirmed)
Egypt: Al Jazeera Sports
UAE: Al Jazeera Sports
Granada vs Barcelona match teams squads players probables list information full details here.
- Barcelona Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Valdés(GK); Correia, Piqué, Mascherano, Montoya; Song, Alcantara, Fabregas; Pedro, Sanchez, Messi
- Granada Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Toño(GK); Nyom, Lopez, Mainz, Siqueira; Recio, Rico; Torje, Aranda, Nolito; Ighalo