With an injury list as long as Barcelona's, there is always some doubt about if the team will perform to the high standards they are expected to. Coupled with the majority of players returning from an international break, it was fair to think Barcelona might not be at their best. This was quickly proven wrong as the Catalans started the game on the front foot, an easily saved shot from Alexis Sanchez showed Barcelona's attacking intent.
Minutes later, the ball was in the net as Neymar found Iniesta in the penalty area before the Spaniard chipped the keeper. The goal, though, was ruled out as the referee, Mateu Lahoz, had blown for a foul on Neymar. The resultant free kick, taken by Cesc Fàbregas, clipped the top of the wall and went out for the first corner of the game.With an injury list as long as Barcelona's, there is always some doubt about if the team will perform to the high standards they are expected to. Coupled with the majority of players returning from an international break, it was fair to think Barcelona might not be at their best. This was quickly proven wrong as the Catalans started the game on the front foot, an easily saved shot from Alexis Sanchez showed Barcelona's attacking intent.
Iniesta continued to look lively and began to shoot on sight as Granada dropped deeper and deeper into their own half. Neymar too was looking dangerous and it was his free kick that led to Barcelona's first clear cut chance. A whipped ball in from the left flank found an unmarked Alexis who could only direct his header straight at the keeper. The Chilean, who recently scored twice against England at Wembley, should really have put Barcelona ahead.
But it wasn't long before Barcelona were ahead. In the 19th minute, Cesc Fàbregas played a one-two with Neymar in Granada's box before being body checked by Dimitri Foulquier. What looked like an inevitable collision was given as a penalty by Lahoz and Iniesta stepped up to score his first goal of the season. Having to wait a long time before slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.
Granada looked to bounce back and began to play further afield. Seeming to act on a shoot-on-sight tactic to test second choice keeper Pinto, who was replacing an injured Víctor Valdés. Piti struck the bar as Granada's confidence began to grow. Pinto did well to save a Granada free kick before Alexis found himself with space in Granada's box. But the pass from Fàbregas was just too heavy and the chance was missed.
Cesc redeemed himself though as four minutes later Iniesta was taken down in the penalty area by Fran Rico. The Barcelona number four stepped up and converted the second penalty of the match into the top corner, doubling Barça's lead just before half time. The spot kick being Barcelona's 2500th league goal at the Camp Nou.
The second half started with Granada looking dangerous. El Arabi moved away from Gerard Piqué but his header flew over the bar. At the other end, Barcelona looked certain to get their third goal of the game. Montoya's low, driven cross from the right was parried by Granada keeper Roberto. The ball landed kindly at the feet of Pedro, but the Spanish winger couldn't get his weight right and his shot flew over the bar, leaving a frustrated Tata Martino on the sidelines. Barcelona then began to apply the pressure with Neymar and Iniesta the key players. Neymar saw his shot deflected wide before breaking clear of the defence only to be correctly ruled offside.
Granada's task became a lot harder when Iturra, who had been booked earlier, was tricked by Pedro into conceding a free kick and received his second yellow along with his marching orders. Barcelona looked to kill off the match and began to play the ball between the team. Granada though, to their credit, had not thrown in the towel. Pinto saved a close range effort from Nyom, which lead to a Barcelona counter attack. The result was a Neymar assist for Alexis who calmly dinked the ball over a charging Roberto. The goal was Barcelona's third and looked to wrap up the three points for the visitors.
There was a glimpse of the future in the latter stages as Adama Traoré was brought on for his first team debut. The 17 year old was quick to impress the home fans as he skipped past three defenders before hitting a tame shot into the keeper's gloves.
The game was well and truly put to bed in the 90th minute when Sergi Roberto found Cesc Fàbregas who crossed for Pedro to score Barcelona's fourth. A simple tap in for the winger who is now on six league goals this season.
Overall, a very impressive performance for Barcelona especially considering the injury list. A comfortable win means they remain top of La Liga and look ahead to Ajax on Tuesday.