Barcelona have the opportunity to move to La Liga’s summit on Saturday when they welcome Granada to the Camp Nou, with two points separating them from table leaders Real Madrid.
The Blaugrana come into the fixture on the back of defeat, too, after they fell to a 1-0 loss against fierce rivals Espanyol in the Catalan Super Cup on Tuesday, ending their three-match win streak in the process.
Granada will hope that loss is a sign there is weakness in manager Luis Enrique’s squad, although the Barca chief did opt to rest a long line of first-team stars for the midweek clash in favour of his up-and-coming brigade.
Read on for a preview of Saturday’s league encounter, complete with all the necessary viewing information and team news.
Date: Saturday, October 29
Time: 7:45 p.m. BST/2:45 p.m. ET
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Live Stream: Sky Go app (UK), FuboTV (US), beIN Sports Connect (US)
TV Info: Sky Sports 2 (UK), beIN Sports 17 (US)
The big headline for Barcelona coming into the Granada clash is their back line will require some extensive tinkering after Jeremy Mathieu joined Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Aleix Vidal on the treatment table.
The club’s official website confirmed the centre-back will be out for three weeks after injuring his right foot on Tuesday, and Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal of Spanish daily AS attested to the other blow in central defence:
Jeremy Mathieu joins Gerard Pique on #Barcelona treatment table. Both ruled out for ManchesterCity clash #fcb https://t.co/BZjSQgcjS7
Goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen is also sidelined, per Barcelona’s official website.
That means Sergi Roberto should occupy the right-back slot, while Lucas Digne comes back in on the left and Javier Mascherano partners Samuel Umtiti in the middle.
However, as confirmed by Squawka News, the injury issues stretch into midfield also:
First Jordi Alba 😔 Then Gerard Pique 😔 Now Andres Iniesta 😢 Here's the latest on Barcelona's injury crisis… https://t.co/wNlJlAGvGF
Andres Iniesta is a major absence for Saturday’s hosts—Football Espana reported a two-month lay-off is expected—but Javier Miguel of Spanish newspaper Sport said Rafinha and Arda Turan “will be fit” for the visit of manager Lucas Alcaraz’s side.
According to Soccerway, Granada reserve goalkeeper Ivan Kelava is injured for Saturday’s clash, as is full-back Dimitri Foulquier, a player Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe previously outlined as one of their better stars:
Unlucky for #GranadaCF. Good performance, undeserving of a loss. Foulquier, Gaston Silva and Andreas Pereira good; Ochoa bad (again).
On the bright side for Alcaraz, Uruguayan centre-back Gaston Silva should be fit for the weekend encounter after missing matches against Atletico Madrid and Sporting Gijon.
Barcelona Predicted Lineup (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Lucas Digne, Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti; Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andre Gomes; Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez
Granada Predicted Lineup (4-2-3-1): Guillermo Ochoa; Tito, Gabriel Silva, Gaston Silva, Ruben Vezo; Javi Marquez, Rene Krhin; Andreas Pereira, Alberto Bueno, Mehdi Carcela-Gonzalez; Ezequiel Ponce
Granada have just three draws to their name this season, and Barcelona could field a second-string lineup for the visit of a team struggling for form—currently last in La Liga—and the Blaugrana will still have a decent chance of coming away with three points.
Alcaraz’s men are currently three points adrift at the bottom of the standings, and ESPN FC’s Dermot Corrigan illustrated the dire state of their season already:
La Liga's Chinese-owned clubs Granada and Espanyol started season talking about Europe. Way things started both look relegation candidates
Barca boss Luis Enrique could therefore choose to shuffle his squad yet again this Saturday, but with injuries mainly focused around the defence, that’s one area where his best available assets are likely to be fielded.
Barcelona’s official Twitter account also provided global viewing information ahead of Saturday’s fixture to make sure you know what time the action starts wherever you are in the world:
⏰ 📺 🔵🔴 When and where to watch FC Barcelona v Granada CF https://t.co/3vkiQDBu07 #FCBlive https://t.co/aHVlP9Q31U
One major plus for the hosts is to see the MSN trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar enjoy an extended run of good health in attack, although one or more of that threesome could be benched for the clash.
Sevilla sit a point in front of third-placed Barca, while Real lead the Blaugrana by two points, but the order can change considerably depending on how those two teams fare against Alaves and Sporting Gijon, respectively.
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