Granada 18.00 Draw 7.50 Barcelona 1.18
Close blaugrana watchers were not that surprised that Barcelona bounced back from last weekend’s 0-1 home defeat to Malaga with a superb performance in winning 2-1 at Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday.
Inconsistency has been a constant for Lionel Messi and company this season, and Saturday’s La Liga game at Granada might be a better barometer for the real atmosphere among Luis Enrique and his side at the moment.
Barca’s cause is not helped by their best centre-half Gerard Pique being banned, but Granada missing a raft of key players through suspension and injury, particularly usual centre-forward Youssef El-Arabi and key creative midfielder Piti. That Luis Enrique could rotate by giving a rare 2015 start to Xavi Hernandez sums up the difference in resources.
So this will probably be more about mindset. Barca strolled to a 6-0 win when the teams met at the Camp Nou in September, but last April lost 1-0 at Los Carmenes, dropping three points which many pundits eventually cost them the La Liga title.
Granada are six games unbeaten at home since the start of November, but they have won just one of those games [1-0 against Elche]. The other five have been draws [either 0-0 or 1-1]. It’s fair to see their fans at have gotten used to drab, tight affairs.
Los Carmenes would presumably be happy enough with another close game here, but the home side's absences, and Barca's need for a result, point to an easy enough away win.
Predicted result: Granada 1-3 Barcelona at 11.50
Best bet: Over 1.5 goals in first half at 2.12