Shall We Have A Mini Crisis? Granada – Barça

Liga Preview: Granada – Barcelona, 2pm ET (ESPNDeportes and GolTV*)

If you’re a minnow and you beat Villarreal, you can feel pretty good about yourself. Maybe the season won’t be quite so long after all. But if you’re Granada, you realize that it’s your only win of the season and Villarreal is in 16th place in the table. They themselves only have 1 win and it was against Mallorca. Then you consider that your only 2 other points of the season have come at home against Osasuna and Atleti; at least the first match had some goals in it. But goals aren’t really your thing: in 8 matches, you’ve scored just those aforementioned 2 goals , the fewest in the league.

So perhaps you really are in trouble.

And then along comes a ticked off Pep Guardiola. Make no mistake about it, whatever he says in press conferences, which might as well be him staring at a wall for all the information he really gives us, Pep Guardiola is pissed about not winning against Sevilla. So it’s Granada-on-the-rebound time and it’s kind of the perfect match to get your feet back under you and really kick some prostate. If it goes pear shaped here, however, alarm bells will start blazing at unbelievable volume. What if Messi fails to score again? What if Granada doesn’t succumb to a manita like they’re supposed to?

Well then I guess we’re all doomed. I have my bottle of Trauma Reliever right here ready and waiting for the slightest sign that we’re not going to win every single remaining point.

You know what the craziest part of all this is, though? Granada isn’t last in the table! 2 goals for, 10 allowed, and they’re in 18th somehow. Sporting and Racing are somehow worse, though Sporting did just get off the snide and beat, well, yeah, Granada. It was, however, just the 2nd match in which Granada has allowed multiple goals, so I guess that’s something. Here’s another something: the guy who scored the winner against Villarreal was none other than Ikechukwu Uche, the man Granada got on loan from the Yellow Submarine this past summer. Totally rad.

In that match against Villarreal, Granada managed 7 yellow cards (7!), but has only 21 for the whole year, putting them midtable in one category, at least. They also have 0 red cards, putting them with Barça, Atleti, and Levante as the only teams without rojas this year. Barça has 13 yellows, just for comparison.

But they also only have 5 points on the road. 3 matches and no losses but also just 5 goals to 4 allowed. Granada may think they can nip a point by playing the way Sevilla did and perhaps they’re right, but again, Guardiola is going to lay some smackdown in training and in the locker room before sending his boys out. The engine should be powered up, regardless of whether or not it’s purring wonderfully.

The squad: Valdés, Pinto, Dani Alves, Cesc, Xavi, Villa, Iniesta, Messi, Thiago, Mascherano, Keita, Sergio, Pedro, Maxwell, Adriano, Abidal, Fontàs, Montoya, Isaac Cuenca.

Will we get to see Fontàs or will Maxwell start on the left to give Adriano a bit of a breather? With no Puyol or Pique, it strikes me as likely that we’ll see Alves-Mascherano-Abidal-Maxwell. Pique did practice with everyone else while Puyol and Alexis worked out all alone nearby (embedded below), but none of them are fit enough to play so we’ll be a bit scrambly-wambly on defense unless Busi has a monster game, which I expect needs to happen.

What I mean about Busi is that I thought we failed to get ahold of Sevilla because our midfield wasn’t quite running at optimal speed. I don’t care much for Iniesta up front, I have to admit, but I care even less for Keita at DM. It not only means Keita isn’t playing his shutdown roll against any winger silly enough to sally forth from his defensive end, it means that he’s doing the one thing he’s not super totally rad at: creating off the dribble. Yes, Keita is a fantastic midfielder, but he doesn’t facilite Xavi’s maestro thing quite like Busi does. Which is also funny because I really like that Keita is willing to step up and shoot from distance, which Busi simply doesn’t do.

Lineup: Valdes, Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Maxwell, Busi, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc, Villa, Messi.

I like Pedro a lot and think he should start, but they still won’t let us play with 12, so I guess he’s going to have to sit until it’s time to sub on and get all crazy out there.

Official Prediction: 0-2, goals by Messi and Cesc. Why bet on anyone other than Messi to get goals? What would be the point?

Drink of choice: Anything with granadadine in it, obviously.

Note: I’ll update this post soon with TV information for here in the US, but feel free to post it in the comments for your location and time.

*Update: the top has been updated with the information, but while the onlines says that both ESPN Deportes and GolTV will show the game, my TV box says only ESPN Deportes will show it. So, I’m not totally sure.

By Isaiah

Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater Philadelphia area.



    Way to disparage your own club –

    Yaya Toure (Man City): “At this moment, Barcelona have no competition, they are the big favourites to win the Champions League.” [rac1 via @barcastuff]

    1. Whoops wrong quote..

      “The win against United is as if Espanyol would beat Barça 1-6 at the Camp Nou.” [rac1]

  2. Toure Yaya (Man City): “Silva could play at Barça easily. If the club asked me, I would say yes a hundred percent, and [it] would be fantastic to see him at Barça”.

    Don’t do this to me, Yaya…

    (This should be a form of torture. I’m still hurting from the Hleb instead of Silva deal from 2008…)

    1. Well, there was nothing more we could do about it. Valencia needed him more back then, wouldn’t let go. Besides, how ‘better’ would we’ve been had we bought Silva instead of youknowwho? 7 titles? 😛

  3. @barcastuff
    Alexis Sanchez will join the group in training tomorrow and will get the medical green light in 10 days. #fcblive [sport]

    O God, please make that happen!

    p.s. Arsenal (fan) accounts on Twitter have come late to the party and are making a lot of accusations against Cesc after again some lip reading sessions. #GodHelpUsAll

    1. Just had an interesting discussion over on Twitter with folks about this matter, all based on this video:

      Some native Spanish speakers say with absolute, 100% certainty that they can lip-read Fabregas saying “Puto negro de mierda.” Admittedly I am not a native Spanish speaker, but no way can I make that out, in any way, shape or form.

      But people will believe what they want to believe, and our club will again be tarred. If there were definitive evidence, I’d be the first to be screaming from the ramparts (a fact that will surprise no one 😀 ). But I just don’t see it.

      The portion in question, claim the folks who “know,” is between 2:10 and 2:20. I can barely make out “Puto,” and as someone suggested, perhaps the rest was a slur that questioned Kanoute’s sexual orientation, a topic that is the other elephant in the room that is our beautiful game.

      That’s three in a week. Terry is alleged to have slurred a QPR player, Suarez slurred Evra and now Fabregas. If all are true, things are coming off the rails. If all aren’t true, things are still coming off the rails.

    2. What bothers me is that people dislike Barca so much these days that they are willing to attack them at any given moment for anything that they do. El Clasico #4 is when all this started when they were accused of all sorts led by their leader Mou. Funny thing is no one makes a big deal if any other team does something on feld. Most of these stories are actually coming out of Madrid papers and journalists and knowingly or not, it’s gonna starting affecting Barca players sooner or later. Of course things are said every week on every field across the world but of late Barca games have come under more scrutiny. EE mauls us everytime they play and yet no one besides Barca fans and press says anything, instead the world press blames both teams. How the hell does that tackle on Cesc was blamed on us is beyond me.

      In the heat of the moment pple do say things that they don’t mean, hey, even i do it just to get the other wound up. I believe Cesc when he said he didn’t say that (Busi not so much). All i hope is for EE not to win anything this yr and for Mou to leave at seasons end coz la liga now is becoming dirty coz of his antics.

    3. Sigh.

      So in general, this is all because of Real Madrid?

      Here are the facts my friend. This has happened twice in the premier league this season, with a lot of attention given to it. The ref in the Man utd Liv game even included it in his report. Another fact of the matter is that this is not the first time this has happened. Evra himself has been involved in 2 incidents in the past of the same manner at Man utd. There was also the France scandal over a similar manner. All these were before the Clasico incident and before Mourinho ever came to Real Madrid.

      Madrid newspapers are going to run stories against Barcelona and Barcelona newspapers will run stories against Real Madrid. That’s how it works. MD and Sport are no better than Marca and AS. Only difference is that more Barcelona supporters read Marca than Real Madrid supporters read Sport or MD.

      It seems like a lot of stuff is said on the pitch. And i guess that is normal. Insults and winding ups have become part of the game, but never should they be intermingled with racial abuse.

      As much as you would like to believe that Cesc only said “Hey man that wasn’t cool” to Kanoute, it’s not what happened. He went there and said something that insulted Kanoute. He could have said anything, but I don’t know what that is. Neither am i going to sit down and start guessing what it is. For me, it’s just an insult. Unless Kanoute comes out and says that the insult was racial, then its not. But to blame all this on Real Madrid, thats just silly. And this is coming from someone that really hated the way Real Madrid dealt with the Busi issue last year (more than the way Barcelona dealt with it by a lot).

    4. I believe the big difference between Barcelona’s newspapers and “Madrid’s” is that Marca and As are available nationally, and have more exposure and are way more influential than Barcelona’s newspapers, and they used this exposure to be EE’s ministry of propaganda, and keep telling themselves and others, that they are objective.

    5. But that is in no way Real Madrid’s fault. Marca claims to be Real Madrid’s mouth piece, but it’s clearly not. Similar with how Sport and MD would like to think they speak for Barcelona, which they don’t. It’s your judgement as a reader to believe what they say or not.

    6. The real issue is that these newspapers are deemed to the official mouthpieces of the clubs because neither clubs (FCB nor RM), are clamping down on what is reported, and the papers are free to write what they want.

      So, unless the clubs actually step forward and tell the papers to knock it off, by way of inaction and non-reaction they are sanctioning whatever is written.

      And at the end of the food-chain is Johnny Gullible Public – lapping up all that is written as if it is gospel.

      The papers’ reports are fuelling fires. The only fires I’d like to see them fuelling are the ones upon which I’d toss those tabloids. 😉

    7. I’ve seen the video a few times, and being a native spanish speaker I don’t see anything related to a racial slur, I see however Cesc reminding Kanoute of his mother with offending words, but without trying to excuse those words, it is something I see everyday in football.

    8. Oh Kanouté is a sly old fox.

      Was it a penalty on Iniesta? Yes, it was. Contact in the box, and all that.

      Did Villa appreciate Iniesta’s draw? Yes, he did. “Eres el más grande”, he says. Best at what? Falling on his tummy?

      Did Cáceres know just who to run to? Sure, he did. Not Iniesta. Not the ref. To the linesman.

      Did the linesman know what had happened? Sure, he did. “I didn’t whistle anything,” he says. Not “I’m not in charge” or “Well, that’s the call”.

      Did Kanouté happen to misstep the ball out of place? Sure, he did. Gangly legs and all.

      Did Fabregas call Kanouté out on messing with his Messiness? Sure, he did. That’s his little buddy out there.

      Did Kanouté decide to decide the match? Sure, he did. What’s that you say, Frankie? Cesc could have said that Kanouté’s mother was an exemplar among women and Freddie a joy to know, and he would have eaten grass.

      Did it work?

      Sure, it did!

    9. Yeah, but he’s looking less like the genius I was making him out to be after his Sevilla just barely rescued a point v Racing today. They could of used his lanky ass out there.

    1. thats brilliant.
      it’d be a great way to convert our adversities, like the 9curse to our advantage.
      pedro is really starting to become pedrito once again.

  4. It seems to be an increasing occurence lately – a black player verbally abuses or physically attacks a white player on the field, and then condones it by claiming the white player made racist remarks. All of a sudden the white player is the bad guy, tarred & feathered without proper trial or evidence. When no evidence, charge or fine materialises, the black player shrugs his shoulders & gets on with it – but the white player (Busquets, Suarez, Fabregas, Terry etc..) is forever tainted with the slur.

    1. just stop right there. you are just confused and i dont even know where to start with you.

    2. Wow. That is just about the dumbest thing I have read in a newspaper in a loooong time. “It isn’t as bad as if was, so shut up.”


      –Judas Pissed. Consider that when a slur is uttered, only one player is “tarred forever”: the player who, because of who he is, has to deal with conditions that people think gives them the right to denigrate him simply because of the color of his skin.

      When a false accusation of a slur is uttered, or misconstrued by outsiders as a slur, that is an equally reprehensible situation, because the accused player can only say “I didn’t do it,” and hope the evidence supports him. Eventually, the furor dies down for the accused. It happens.

      The real question is what about justice? If Evra, Ferdinand or Kanoute were slurred, what does the game do about it? When a player’s sexual orientation is mocked, what dies the game do about THAT?

      This sin’t about black and white. It’s about humanity.

    3. ^ What ooga said to the power of Yaya.

      And just so we are all perfectly clear on this: Kanoute at no time ever claimed that Cesc or any other player made a racial slur. He mentioned an insult, that is all. Any and all allegations of racism were made up by the forces of the internet and perpetuated by irresponsible media, whether madridista or otherwise.

      Can we all move on now?

  5. On a completely unrelated note, i recently discovered this andfound it to be extremely poetic.

    how fitting it is that Xavi wears #6 for barcelona and #8 for spain, and Iniesta wears #8 for Barca and #6 for spain.
    They wear each other’s numbers. They are part of the same yet so different.

    1. I think Kari has jersey with XavIniesta on it’s back with the number 86 (or 68, can’t remember).

    2. I bet that if she has any numbered jersey it’s Messi’s. From my recollection, Messi is the midget of her heart.

  6. 2 days “rest” between Plzen and Sevilla.
    2 days “rest” between Sevilla and Granada.
    A whole 3 days between Granada and Mallorca. What a luxury!

    Alves, Masch, Abi, Maxwell (because Adriano looked clueless last game)
    Xaviniesta, Busi (please Pep!)
    MV, Cesc
    0-something other than 0
    For his confidence’s sake, I’m hoping Messi scores. Hoping against all odds that he gets a hattrick in the first half so Pep can sit his butt for a while( it’s probably statistically more likely for him (being…well…him) to get a hattrick in one half than for Pep to sit him).

  7. Who do you guys think is better off this midweek, EE or us in terms of relative fitness between our respective opponents and our respected selves.

    I mean, our players must be dead tired, but on the plus, we face a tired granada. EE on the other hand will undoubtedly be feeling fresher, but hopefully, so will Villareal(and determined to prove something).

    1. Why do I have the feeling it is rather the “Guardiola didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear” chorus?

    2. Guardiola was talking about in a filmed dialogue (it was him and a director) and he was talking about getting into the player’s heads and getting the most out of them, and how that involved treating some players very differently than others and talking to players very differently than others and being more/less intimate with some and so forth. IF what The Yaya and BANGS have said is true I figure Guardiola must have given them a long, hard look and decided ‘this is a person who will react destructively if I give honest feedback, better to let this explode on its own’.
      Either way I’ve made that judgment call before (“THIS particular person is a lost cause, there is no way to get them to see what I want them to see and if I try it will make things explode more than they inevitably will”) but I don’t know how many IF ANY times I was right to make that decision. I hope that if Guardiola made that call then he was right to do so. Of course this is all hearsay/assumption I don’t actually know Guardiola/Yaya/BANGS firsthand and even if I did I shouldn’t judge blahblahblahcaveat.

  8. So I was scanning the Ballon d’Or list and noticed no busi.There’s a Khedira(!), but no busquets. If they are scared of the Barca number being high,I’d happily cut Fabregas and/or Puyol from that list if it meant Sergio got in.

    1. This is a good thing (albeit disappointing and sooooo not fair). It means our secret weapon is still secret.

      “Keep it secret. Keep it safe.”

    1. FCBarcelona_cat FC Barcelona
      #FCBlive El Barça jugarà d’inici amb Valdés, Alves, Mascherano, Abidal, Maxwell, Sergio, Xavi, Cesc, Cuenca, Messi i Pedro

      Hey y’all, we have IMPACT SUBS. Iniesta, Thiago, and David Villa. Not too shabby.

  9. Woah. Why no Iniesta ? He’s had more rest than Xavi?

    It’s ok. I know the answer – but still. . . .

  10. Pedro misses a clear oportunity. Nice shots from Messi, Cuenca and Xavi in that order. Cesc is playing as “interior”.

  11. Somebody please explain to me how on earth Iniesta, Villa and Thiago get a rest, but Messi not ?!? *argh*

    My internet is sucking today, but from what I’ve seen, Messi is completely out of shape. Is there any better moment to rest him? :/

  12. I think Cuenca started better than he finished.
    Messi is trying to pass more than before, but Alves and Pedro are having an off day. I liked Busquets, Xavi and Mascherano.
    We need to be more dynamic, move better on the final 30 meters, to open spaces for that final between the lines pass.

    1. Busi, Xavi, Masche on fire. Abi in lock-down mode. Messi looking OK. Alves and Cesc both need haircuts.

  13. First half didn’t see enough movement, and some of the one touch passing was off. More of Alves running in from deep, please! Hopefully they show a little more energy early in the second half and put this game to bed.

  14. They just showed a five-minute special on the history of the pasillo in the Spanish game during half-time. Showed all the various pasillos through the nineties and 2000s, and ended up with that pasillo. I wish we storm the league this season and secure the title at least by the end of week 34. I want a pasillo at Camp Nou on 21 April 2012.

  15. Is it just me or does Messi seem sharper so far this half than last? His balls seem much harder and crisper than they were last half. Clearly he’s not any less tired, maybe he just went a bit more on serious mode or something.

  16. What the? Granada player kicks Maxwell’s face and the commentator complains that Busi wants the card?

  17. To me Cesc is the one needing to step up a bit. He’s fresh and yet I’m not seeing the runs. Not sure we need 4 at the back and it’d be a chance to bring Iniesta on to free Cesc for box runs.

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