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.


    1. The one thing that stood out against Sevilla is the lack of fast diagonal passes to unbalance their defenders

  1. You tempted fate with your headline, Isaiah.

    Thanks to you, we DO have a mini crisis now (and Messi has a big one) 🙁

  2. God, that was painful to watch, not that I’m surprised about it..
    when Bassam said it’ll be goals galore against Granada, I didnt believe it..

    playing against 10 men Granada, the only goal we could have is from Xavi’s free kick..

    is this gonna be a long and painful season for us?
    usually this time around (October – Desember) is the time we play like a beast..
    this team looks like Hlebbuary team, and it’s not even Hlebbuary yet…

    1. It was early october in the 08-09 seasonm but since then its been early november, probably because 3 months of good form is just unsustainable with a club world cup to navigate. You can compare the fixtures:




      Results so far havent been so bad in comparison, just up and down like any other season, we’re just waiting for a string of good results+ top performances.


    2. the result yes, it wasn’t so bad..
      in Liga : 6W 3D 0L
      in UCL : 2W 1D 0L

      but our concern obviously is the way we played, and how the team looks already tired mentally and physically during October..

    3. it was like watching The Invasion movie, which tells the story of a mysterious epidemic that alters the behavior of human beings.

      “My husband is not my husband,” a quote from the movie…

      I said ”my team is not my team.”

      this is a mini crisis, and I can only see it getting bigger..
      Messi is dead tired, people.. and we don’t have Alexis, Ibi, or Pedro.. dammit!

    4. Reminds me of an old story about the Spaniard in London.

      He goes to a pub, comes out later and cannot find his car. So he flags down a bobby.

      “My car is here,” the Spaniard says, pointing to the empty space in the street. “My car is not here.”

      The bobby peers at him. The Spaniard waves his arms about.

      “Where is my car?!?”

  3. I just watched the first half, which was the second half for me since I watched each ’45 out of order, and I was pretty impressed by Cuenca’s, Julien Donkey Boy, performance. And he played the full ’90! That’s what I got out of this match. And three points. Three points!!

  4. I have a plan!!!
    I am brilliant!!!

    Juanjo Brau kidnaps Messo before practice tomorrow. Tells him that he has been singled out for some Special High Intensity Training.
    He takes him to
    for the weekend. Messi gets some rest. Comes back refreshed and ready for the rest of the season.
    For the game on Saturday we replace Messi with…aw crap!

    I fail at brilliance 🙁

    1. 🙁

      Messi having some fun at Legoland, Xavi with his mushrooms, Pedro gets his old teeth, Alves doing hula hula at Hawaii, Cesc stop using his hair as Halloween costume, that’s all that I want right now…

  5. remind me why did we promote Fontas?
    he couldn’t even get any minutes against Granada, smh..

    hope he is patient enough to wait for his chances.. if that chances even exist *sigh*

    because I don’t want him to be another “El Mister didn’t talk to me for a year” guy

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