Injury-Hit Barcelona Look For Home Comfort As Granada Visit Camp Nou
Barcelona are without central defenders Gerard Pique (twisted knee) and Jeremy Mathieu (muscle injury) for Saturday, while left back Jordi Alba is also sidelined with a hamstring problem and midfielder Andres Iniesta will be out until the New Year after suffering knee ligament damage during last Saturday’ s 3-2 win in Valencia.
Lucas Digne will almost certainly play on the left, while Samuel Umtiti and Javier Mascherano will play in central defense. Meanwhile Luis Enrique will also call up young Brazilian stopper, Marlon Santos, who played in the final of the Catalan Cup on Tuesday.
Barca will be no-doubt glad to be back on home ground after the hostile atmosphere they faced in Valencia last weekend, which ended with Neymar being hit by a plastic bottle thrown from the crowd as the Barca players celebrated their last minute winning goal.
Valencia were fined 1,500 euros (around 1,650 US dollars) for that, but the Spanish Football Federation’ s Disciplinary Committee took the much criticized step of blaming the Barca players for provoking the home fans, despite also opening an investigation into insulting chants aimed at Barca, Catalonia and Leo Messi during the match.
Barcelona have reacted angrily to the accusations aimed at their players and have announced they will appeal to the Administrative Sports Tribunal in Spain against the ruling of the Committee and declarations from Football League President, Javier Tebas, who also criticized the Barca players.
Granada meanwhile travel to the Camp Nou Stadium bottom of the table and without a win all season.
The side now coached by Lucas Alcaraz, who is in his third spell in charge drew 0-0 at home to Sporting Gijon last weekend, but lost their last away game 7-1 away to Atletico Madrid and it looks likely that Alcaraz will look to pack his side’ s defense and look to try and snatch a goal on the break.