Granada vs Barcelona Koeman’s side need to maintain good start to 2021
Barcelona have started 2021 well with two wins so far in January. They find themselves in third position and have a job on their hands if they want to topple Atletico Madrid from top spot in LaLiga Santander.
Ronald Koeman‘s side have already lost four matches in the league this campaign and are well aware that any more slipups will almost definitely see the league title slip from their grasp.
They can’t afford to go in to their next match with Granada with any complacency, as the Andalusian side beat them at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes last season and have only lost one game at home so far this term.
Granada come in to the match off the back of a 2-0 defeat at Eibar and a difficult Copa del Rey match at Cultural Leonesa, where they scraped through 2-1 after extra time.
Diego Martinez‘s side are hoping to welcome back Luis Milla to the side after recovering from coronavirus as well as Maxime Gonalons in midfield as he comes back from injury.
Dimitri Foulquier and Domingos Duarte are back from suspension and it remains to be seen whether Angel Montoro and Darwin Machis, who are both recently back from injury too, will start the match.
Granada are the fifth best team at home in LaLiga this season, only behind Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The Catalan side have started the new year well with wins against Athletic Club and Huesca and need to keep up this high level of performance if they want to have any hope of catching Atletico Madrid. A win against Granada would be the first time this season they have managed three consecutive wins.
Koeman will be without the injured Ansu Fati, Phillipe Coutinho, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto as well as the suspended Clement Lenglet. Youngster Ilaix Moriba has travelled with the team and Konrad de la Fuente is also in the squad.
The Barcelona starting XI isn’t expected to change much from last Wednesday against Athletic Club in San Mames. The space left by Lenglet will be filled by Oscar Mingueza, although Samuel Umtiti is available too.
Ousmane Dembele is expected to start his third consecutive match. Martin Braithwaite looks set to have to settle for a place on the bench as Pedri, Antoine Griezmann and Lionel Messi are expected to start in attack.