Xavi still hasn’t beaten Granada
Barcelona and Xavi had to settle for a point against Granada in a wild match that could have gone either way and one that saw the visitors come from two goals down to draw 2-2.
Xavi will feel hard done by, after seeing a late goal controversially disallowed, while Granada may feel the same - don’t forget only the post denied the impressive Bryan Zaragoza a hat-trick.
The result means that Xavi still hasn’t beaten Granada as Barcelona coach - are they fast becoming his new bogey team?
2 - Xavi Hernandez is winless (D1 L1) in his two games against #Granada ⚪️ in @LaLigaEn as #Barcelona coach and only against Rayo Vallecano has he played more games in this competition without a win (GP3, D1 L2). Crash. pic.twitter.com/16X0jIShKZ— OptaJose (@OptaJose) October 8, 2023
Injuries didn’t help Barca’s cause of course, but more worrying for Xavi will be the sight of his team shipping goals again in La Liga.
That’s now 10 in just nine matches for Barca with Granada highlighting how teams don’t need to see much of the ball to create chances against Xavi’s side.
Granada had just 19.2% possession against Barcelona but scored twice, hit the post and had seven shots on goal in total during the 90 minutes.
Injuries piling up
Sunday’s draw also saw more injury concerns for Xavi who will no doubt be relieved to see his team given a respite from domestic action due to the international break.
Jules Kounde became the latest player to be forced out of action. The Frenchman suffered a knee injury in the first half, although Xavi seemed optimistic about his fitness afterwards.
Jules Kounde is forced off with an injury.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 8, 2023
Barcelona's injury woes continue pic.twitter.com/zYIpTw4iRP
Xavi also reported that Lamine Yamal had asked to be taken off due to some minor discomfort late on and it remains to be seen if both will report for international duty.
Barca are already without Frenkie de Jong, Pedri, Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha and will be praying their internationals return unscathed from the latest round of fixtures.
Lamine Yamal history-maker & record-breaker
Lamine Yamal will attract more headlines after scoring his first goal for Barcelona and making more history along the way.
The talented teenager has already become Spain’s youngest player and scorer and is now the youngest to ever score in La Liga at the age of 16 years and 87 days.
Congratulations, Lamine!— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 8, 2023
Keep it up! pic.twitter.com/RecKGObHAY
It was a simple goal in truth and one that was vital to Barca’s hopes of pulling off a comeback, as Xavi noted after the final whistle in Granada.
“I always say the same; they gave me confidence when I was 17,” he said. “And when we see that a player is capable of helping the team and earns it...I’m happy for his goal; it was important and made a difference in trying to achieve a comeback that didn’t happen due to details.”
It’s another record for Lamine Yamal’s collection. It almost certainly won’t be the last.
First start for Fermin Lopez
Fermin Lopez was handed a first start for Barcelona against Granada, due to injuries and as a reward for some impressive cameo showings, but struggled as a starter.
The midfielder seemed to be trying far too hard to impress and just couldn’t get a handle on the game at all during his 61 minutes on the pitch.
It was little surprise that he was replaced on the hour, with captain Sergi Roberto coming on and then managing to find an equaliser.
When Xavi shows you the lineup and you're in it. pic.twitter.com/ADBlVrO9JE— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 8, 2023
Roberto has the armband this season but is hardly being used. However, he came up with a vital goal late on to rescue a point on just his fourth La Liga appearance of the season.
This will very much be a learning experience for Lopez. He’s looked dynamic and able to make a difference in recent weeks but, like Ferran Torres, may be more effective off the bench for now.
Why was Felix’s goal ruled out?
Of course the main talking point from the match was the decision to chalk off a late winner for Joao Felix due to a perceived offside from Ferran Torres.
Felix thought he’d won it when he headed home at the far post but Ferran was deemed to have been offside and interfering with play before he struck.
Xavi questioned the decision to disallow the goal afterwards and there is no doubt at all there will be plenty of debate about this one.
There are question marks over whether Ferran was offside and also whether he was interfering.
João Félix latest like on X. The post says: "The ball goes 4 metres over Ferran Torres, f*ck me more." pic.twitter.com/OwF6jkuNyk— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) October 9, 2023
The Catalan press are certainly fairly furious and have already brought up how Real Madrid scored a similar goal against Getafe earlier this season which was given.
Certainly it will be a tough decision for Barca to take, particularly amid the ongoing talk about the Negreira refereeing scandal.