LaLiga Matchweek 18 Preview: Granada vs. Barcelona (Sat - 18:30h. CET) - Team news, possible lineups

Barcelona will be aiming to record their third straight La Liga victory when they travel to Granada on Saturday night, and the Catalan giants now have the top two in their sights.

Ronald Koeman's side are currently third in the table, seven points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid, while Granada occupy seventh position, having collected 24 points from their opening 16 matches.

Match preview

Granada have won seven, drawn three and lost six of their 16 La Liga matches this season to collect 24 points, which has left them in seventh position in the table, six points off fourth-placed Real Sociedad.

Diego Martinez's side have played a lot of football this term as they competed in the group stages of the Europa League, advancing to the knockout round courtesy of a second-placed finish in Group E.

Granada also booked their spot in the third round of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, beating Cultural Leonesa 2-1 after extra time, with Darwin Machis coming up with the all-important goal.

El Grana have actually lost two of their last three in the league, including a 2-0 defeat at Eibar last weekend, but a solid start to the campaign has left them in seventh, which is where they finished last season.

Barca, meanwhile, will enter this weekend's clash off the back of successive victories over Huesca and Athletic Bilbao, which has seen Koeman's side rise into third position in the table.

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing 2020-21 campaign for the club thus far, but they are actually now only five points off second-placed Real Madrid on the same number of games.

As mentioned, Barca are seven points behind leaders Atletico, although Diego Simeone's side have two matches in hand, which is an indication of their strength at the top of the table.

Lionel Messi has not been at his best this season as the speculation surrounding his future continues, but the Argentine was in impressive form against Athletic on Wednesday, scoring twice in a 3-2 win.

The Catalan giants, who have lost three of their eight away league matches this season, actually suffered a 2-0 defeat when they travelled to Granada for the corresponding match last term.

Granada La Liga form: DWWLWL
Granada form (all competitions): WWLWLW

Barcelona La Liga form: WDWDWW

Team News

Granada will again be without the services of Luis Milla, Angel Montoro and Neyder Lozano through injury, but Machis made his return off the bench against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night and could potentially feature this weekend.

Martinez will make changes from the side that started during the week, with Luis Suarez, Yangel Herrera, German Sanchez all in line to return, while Roberto Soldado should lead the line.

Dimitri Foulquier was suspended for the defeat at Eibar on January 3 after picking up a booking against Granada, but the 27-year-old is available to take on Koeman's side.

As for Barca, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Gerard Pique remain on the sidelines through injury, while Philippe Coutinho is out for three months following knee surgery.

The visitors will also be missing Clement Lenglet through suspension, meaning that Oscar Minguezashould return to the heart of the defence alongside Ronald Araujo.

The Catalan giants impressed against Athletic on Wednesday, and Koeman could decide to stick with largely the same XI that started against the Basque outfit, with Antoine Griezmann getting the nod over Martin Braithwaite, and Ousmane Dembele featuring on the left.

Pedri has been a revelation for Barca this term, meanwhile, and should again keep his spot.

Granada possible starting lineup:
Silva; Foulquier, Vallejo, Sanchez, Neva; Herrera, Gonalons; Kenedy, Suarez, Puertas; Soldado

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Mingueza, Alba; De Jong, Busquets; Griezmann, Pedri, Dembele; Messi

Source: Sports Mole / Matt Law 




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