FC Barcelona (10th, 7pts) vs Granada CF (17th, 2pts)
Competition/Round: 2021-22 La Liga, Matchday 5
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Pedri, Jordi Alba, Ansu Fati, Martin Braithwaite, Ousmane Dembélé, Sergio Agüero (out)
Granada Outs & Doubts: Neyder Lozano (out)
Date/Time: Monday, September 20, 2021, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Tuesday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre
VAR: José Luis González González
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA), TSN 5 (Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
Following a bad loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League opener last week, Barcelona return to action for a Monday Night Fútbol matchup against Granada at the Greatest Stadium on Earth.
Thanks to the good folks at the La Liga scheduling office, Barça will play on Monday night, then Thursday night, and finish a crazy week on Sunday afternoon before a trip to Portugal in the Champions League. That’s four games in 10 days with a squad that is thinner and thinner because of injuries, and Ronald Koeman will have to do some masterful rotating to keep the squad somewhat fresh and give the team a chance to win all four games.
But trusting Koeman to do anything positive is really hard right now, and it’s not just the majority of Barça fans who feel that way. Reliable reports in Spain say the next week is crucial for the Dutchman’s ability to keep his job, and he’ll face three league games that look easy on paper but promise to be anything but.
We start with Granada, who are yet to win this season and scored just two goals in their first four games. One of the most interesting teams in the league last year is struggling out of the gates this term with and without the ball, but they always manage to complicate things for Barça and will no doubt come to Camp Nou hungry for a good result to turn their fortunes around.
Koeman is short on options going forward and the defense is a bit of a mystery with Jordi Alba out injured and Sergiño Dest still not 100%, so we could see quite an interesting combination at the back.
Barça need not only the win but a great performance at home to give some encouragement after the Bayern loss and extend the unbeaten start to the league season, and we’ll see if Koeman can give some good reasons to keep his job.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Dest, Piqué, Araujo, Balde; Roberto, Busquets, De Jong; Coutinho, L. De Jong, Memphis
Granada (3-5-2): Maximiano; Duarte, Sánchez, Abram; Arias, Gonalons, Montoro, Monchu, Neva; Bacca, Suárez
I have a really weird feeling about this one: 1-1 draw.