Barcelona desperate for win against Granada despite numerous absences

Barcelona will have no room for mistakes when they face Granada at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

Barca have not been playing too badly so far this season, but sporadic mistakes when Luis Enrique has felt the need to rotate his preferred XI resulted in poor results against theoretically minor opposition. The current La Liga champions , currently in third place in the standings with just 19 points out of a possible 27, must step their game up against Granada in order to continue their challenge to keep their crown.

Against Granada, Luis Enrique will have to get inventive again due to the confirmed absences of Andres Iniesta, Arda Turan, Gerard Pique, Jeremy Mathieu, Jordi Alba, Jasper Cillessen and Aleix Vidal. At the same time, the Asturian manager can't forget that Barcelona are scheduled to face City in Manchester in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Luis Enrique explained on Friday: “We are a great squad and we have the capacity to resolve these difficult situations. I am very happy with all of the academy players who help us out. They are a positive resource. The international players barely get holidays and free time so I like to give them a rest whenever I can."

"On Saturday, when the doctors see Rafinha, Cillessen and Arda we will make a decision on them, they could make the squad. It is a period of the season where unusual things have happened but this is to be expected and we need to know how to manage it. The majority of rivals adapt to what we do. Depending on what I want we have different types of players to chose from in the midfield positions."

With that in mind, I would expect Barcelona to start the match against Granada with the following starting lineup: Marc Andre Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Javier Mascherano, Lucas Digne; Sergio Busquets, Denis Suarez, Rafinha; Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar.


Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Umtiti, Mascherano, Digne; Rakitic, Denis Suárez, Rafinha; Messi, Neymar, Luis Suárez.

Granada XI: Ochoa; Saunier, Vezo, Lombán, Gabriel Silva; Uche Agbo, Pereira, Toral; Cuenca, Carcela-González, Kravets.

Despite the many absences that Barcelona will have to overcome in Granada, their deadly MSN front-line should give them enough edge to ensure the three points remain at the Camp Nou. My predicted score is 3-0.

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Now it's your turn: What is your predicted score and starting lineup? Let me know by leaving a comment below.