Barcelona come into Saturday`s fixture unbeaten in La Liga and have yet to concede a single goal after five outings. This opening certainly seems impressive on paper, however the Catalans received heavy criticism in midweek for failing to register a goal against Malaga at La Rosaleda. A rather limp header from Gerard Piqué was as close as they came to breaching Kameni`s goal in a game where the home side put on a masterful defensive display.
Wednesday saw Granada fail to build on their shock win away at Athletic the week previous. The Andalusians were downed at home by a single goal from Levante`s Rubén Garcia and never really looked like coming back from that knock, dealt early in the second half.
On to Saturday evenings clash between the two sides at Camp Nou, Luis Enrique will be wary of a side that beat a Tata Martino managed outfit at home last season. Barca have almost a full war chest of playing talent to choose from with Thomas Vermaelen having finally been given the all clear to play. A difficult decision must once again be made between Bravo and Ter Stegen as to who takes the no. 1 spot. Javier Mascherano has not started the last two matches for the Blaugrana and will most likely return at centre half.
In midfield, Xavi Hérnandez will be hoping to see some action after his manager reiterated the importance of the veteran playmaker this season. Likewise Sergi Roberto will hope to be rewarded with a start having put pen to paper on a five year deal on Friday morning. The youngster was given little opportunity to shine last season and will be eager to repay the clubs faith in him.
Up front, at this point it`s simply a question of who earns a spot alongside Messi who has been fantastic this season in providing assists for his teammates, if not so much for his goalscoring.
Granada are expected to set their starting eleven up defensively and look to frustrate their opponents who have struggled of late to break down opponents early. Joaquín Caparrós men have conceded only 3 goals in their opening 5 games and as a result have climbed to 8th spot. The manager will have his players determined to grind out a result. He was quoted in his pre match press conference as saying “the team is annoyed by Wednesdays defeat….we don`t want to lose 2 in a row” and these words are sure to fire the players up.
This game will be a test of Barcelona`s creativity and penetration up front against Granada`s tenacity and concentration at the back. Luis Enrique has stated that his team must be more unpredictable to surprise opponents and score goals. Tomorrow night they will definitely need to be.