FC Barcelona faces Granada Fc with both sides looking to book a place in the Quarter finals of the Copa Del Rey. When both the teams meet each other at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on Wednesday evening.
Granada thrashed Navalcarnero 6-0 in the last 16 to set up a tie with Barca, who overcame Rayo Vallecano 2-1 in their last round. They overcame Navalcarnero with ease, as six goals from six different scorers ensured that Diego Martinez’s men are still in with a run for silverware. However, they were not able to follow that goal-laden performance up with a win against Celta Vigo, who managed to hold the Europa League contenders to a goalless draw at the weekend. This meant that Martinez’s side is now winless in three La Liga matches. Their dip in form has come at the worst possible time with Atletico Madrid and two Europa League ties with Napoli coming up. Granada is facing an uphill battle to match their 2019-20 Copa del Rey performance, where they were dumped out of the semi-finals by Athletic Bilbao.
Martinez’s side now welcomes Barcelona to a ground where they have suffered just one defeat in their last six across all competitions. That loss too was to Ronald Koeman’s men, who will go all out in the match as this competition might be their only chance for silverware this season.
Lionel Messi’s was in the news for the right reasons after notching up his 650th goal for the club against Athletic at the weekend. It was the perfect response from a player who was given his marching orders against the same opponent in the Spanish Super Cup only a couple of weeks before. Messi’s sublime free-kick sent Barca on their way to a 2-1 revenge win over the Super Cup champions on Sunday. An own goal from Jordi Alba spoiled the mood. However, Antoine Griezmann fired home the winner 15 minutes from time remaining. This win meant that Koeman witnessed his side come up trumps for the fourth game in a row across all competitions.
Ronald Koeman’s side is in excellent form at the moment. Over the weekend, they even leapfrogged Real Madrid to climb up to second place in La Liga. They came from behind to beat Rayo Vallecano 2-1 in the previous round of the Copa Del Rey. Messi and Frenkie de Jong both scoring in that game. Since losing to Juventus in the UEFA Champions League in early December. Barca has lost only one game in all competitions.
That was in the final of the Spanish Super Cup when they lost 3-2 to Athletic Bilbao. The Catalan giants managed to win against Cornella and Rayo Vallecano without great difficulties in the previous rounds. A 31st Copa del Rey triumph – and their first since the 2017-18 campaign – is still on the cards. Barca is undoubtedly the favorites with Atletico and Real Madrid both out already.
Granada Copa del Rey form: WWW
Granada form (all competitions): WWDLWD
Barcelona Copa del Rey form: WW
Barcelona form (all competitions): WLWWWW
Stats against each other
Barcelona have won 13 of the last 15 matches that they have played against Granada, losing only two of those.
Barcelona eased to a 4-0 victory when the sides met last month. Eight of the last nine meetings between the two clubs have ended with the Catalans taking the spoils. With Messi – unsurprisingly – the top scorer in this fixture with 14 goals.
Granada will have Yan Eteki back from suspension for this match. Thus the midfielder could slot straight back in if Angel Montoro is given est. Neyder Lozano and Maxime Gonalons are both injured, and the hosts are otherwise in good shape heading into the quarter-final. Alberto Soro and Roberto Soldado will hope to earn starts after finding the back of the net against Navalcarnero, while second-choice goalkeeper Aaron Escandell could be given the nod once again.
Granada possible starting line-up:
Escandell; Diaz, Duarte, Perez, Neva; Eteki, Herrera; Soro, Vico, Machis; Soldado
Barcelona ace Sergio Busquets is back from suspension for this tie and is expected to reprise his regular spot as the engine of the pitch – potentially in place of Frenkie de Jong. Sergi Roberto is back after a lengthy layoff and could slot in at right-back over Oscar Mingueza – a centre-back originally – but Sergino Dest is expected to miss this one out through injury. Koeman will put out a strong team but is likely to make changes with Neto, Clement Lenglet, Riqui Puig and Martin Braithwaite all hopeful of earning starts.
Barcelona possible starting line-up:
Neto; Roberto, Araujo, Lenglet, Firpo; Busquets, Pjanic; Trincao, Puig, Messi; Braithwaite
Players to watch out for
Since the inception of 2021, the star striker has resurged and found his form out of nowhere. So far he has racked up both goals as well as assists and will be eager to continue his run of form.
In a constantly changing Barca machine, De Jong seems to be the part that is ever working. His contributions may not have been very noticeable but he’s been consistent and good.
The Spanish striker may not be in spectacular form this season but he sure is experienced. This Veteran was raised in Madrid’s youth academy and has travelled around the world only to come back home to Granada and help them score.
The ex Sporting CP centre back has been a huge success this season and his defending has been one to look out for. In his eighteen appearances he has also netted once and he should be ready to take on a vicious Barca attack.
Granada have been enjoying a promising La Liga season so far. With a win over Barca and a Spanish cup final, this season could end up being very promising for them. On the other hand, Barca has had a rollercoaster season so far. After considerable difficulties, A Copa Del Rey will surely be on their radar now that the La Liga looks to be out of their hands.
For more such articles do click here