The La Liga title race now falls on Barcelona’s control. They have a chance to take over the top for the first time this season and keep it that way this midweek when they are playing host to Granada, which sits on the 8th in the standings and tries to save their chance for another European slot next season. Lionel Messi and Co are now only separated by two points from Atletico Madrid. Only a victory could lift up their confidence and position.
Both teams’ previous games
Blaugrana managed to pick up three points on the road while travelling to Estadio La Ceramica, the home turf of Villarela. They dismantled Unai Emery’s men 2-1 despite being one goal behind as Samuel Chukwueze rounded Marc Ter Stegen and found the back of the net. However, Antoine Griezmann’s brace overturned the score sheet.
Meanwhile, Granada suffered a 1-2 loss from Sevilla last weekend. Ivan Rakitic and Lucas Ocampos found the back of the net before Roberto Soldado bagged a consolation goal through his penalty.
Ronald Koeman is employing 3-4-2-1 with the transition to 3-5-2 again. Leo Messi will be accompanied by Ousmane Dembele who could get a nod to rest Griezmann here. Yet, the Frenchman might come off the bench at the second half to break the deadlock. Ansu Fati is another option upfront since he has been back on the training. Only three names are in their injury table, Moussa Wague, Phillipe Coutinho and Martin Braithwaite.
His counterpart, Diego Martinez could attempt to deploy 5-4-1 again to pile up more men at their backline before initiating the counter attack. Luis Suarez or Roberto Soldado could lead the attack again supported by Kenedy and Darwin Machis. Only Luis Milla is on the sideline
Players to watch
Leo Messi is still unstoppable this season, especially if his teammates are thriving too. The Argentine has scored 25 goals and provided nine assists this season in La Liga. Some other indispensable figures in the line up are Frankie de Jong, Pedri and Jordi Alba.
The former Valencia and Villareal man, Roberto Soldado has netted three out of nine goals in the last two matches. Despite being 35 years old, he does not show the sign of losing his clinical finish. Some other key men to watch is the Venezuelan international, Darwin Machis who has contributed three goals and four assists plus the former Newcastle man, Kenedy with four goals and three assists so far.
Barcelona vs Granada Prediction
Ronald Koeman’s men’s chance to win another title falls on your hand after their two Madrid contenders slipped on the weekend. Playing at their home turf shall ease their burden plus Granada’s unconvincing away form. A definite win for the Catalan side.