La Liga: Barcelona aim to go eight matches unbeaten
Barcelona take on Granada in a crunch La Liga encounter on Saturday. Ronald Koeman's side will be keen to extend their unbeaten run to eight games in the Spanish league campaign. Since a 2-1 loss against Cadiz, Barca have been on a fine run, winning five and drawing three. Their recent run has helped them rise to third in the standings. Here's more.
Granada will again be without the services of Luis Milla, Angel Montoro and Neyder Lozano through injury, but Machis could potentially feature this weekend. Meanwhile, the likes Yangel Herrera and German Sanchez expected to return, while Roberto Soldado should lead the line. For Barca, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Gerard Pique remain on the sidelines, while Philippe Coutinho is out for three months.
Granada predicted starting XI: Silva; Foulquier, Vallejo, Sanchez, Neva; Herrera, Gonalons; Kenedy, Suarez, Puertas; Soldado. Barcelona predicted starting XI: Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Mingueza, Alba; De Jong, Busquets; Griezmann, Pedri, Dembele; Messi. Match prediction: We are expecting Granada to produce a stern fight, however, given the form Barcelona are enjoying, they should see out the game.
Granada are placed seventh, after having played 16 games. They have won three out of their last five league games. Granada will hope to make things difficult for Barcelona and even a point would be massive for them. Barca have played one game more than Granada and three points are a must. They trail leaders Atletico by seven points.
Lionel Messi has scored nine goals this season and is one of the joint-top four goal-scorers. He has had 11 goal involvements (G9 A2). A lot is riding on Messi to make the difference in this match. Meanwhile, Koeman praised Messi after his brace in the 3-2 win against Athletic Bilbao. The Dutchman will hope that the Argentine makes his presence felt once again.