The Argentine once more misses out on a place in the starting line-up as the Blaugrana seek their first away win of the season
Barcelona return to league action on Saturday with a trip to Granada as they attempt to find their first away win of the season.
Although Lionel Messi was back in the fold for the midweek trip to Borussia Dortmund, he was unable to come off the bench and inspire his side to anything better than a scoreless draw – the third time in as many away games this term that Barca have failed to win on the road.
Granada, meanwhile, will be hoping they can continue that trend, and after successive wins over Espanyol and Celta Vigo they have every right to approach this game with a sense of optimism.
|Game||Granada vs Barcelona|
|Date||Saturday, September 21|
|Time||8:00pm BST / 3:00pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United States (US), the game can be watched live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|beIN Sports / beIN Sports En Espanol||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the UK, the match will be shown on Premier Sports 2 and can be streamed via Premier Player HD.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Premier Sports 2||Premier Sports HD|
|Goalkeepers||Rui Silva, Escandell|
|Defenders||Duarte, J. Martinez, Sanchez, Koybasi, Neva, Diaz, A. Martinez, Lozano|
|Midfielders||Gonalons, Herrera, Montoro, Azeez, Puertas, Yan Brice|
|Forwards||Machis, Vadillo, Fernandez, Soldado, Ramos|
Granada starting XI: Silva, Neva, Duarte, Sánchez, Díaz, Montoro, Puertas, Azeez, Herrera, Machís, Soldado.
|Goalkeepers||Ter Stegen, Pena, Neto|
|Defenders||Pique, Lenglet, Semedo, Wague, Firpo, Todibo|
|Midfielders||Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur, Rafinha, Roberto, De Jong, Vidal, Alena|
|Forwards||Griezmann, Perez, Messi, Fati, Suarez|
Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Junior; Roberto, Rakitic, De Jong; Perez, Suarez, Griezmann.
Barcelona are 4/11 favourites to emerge with their first away win of the season at bet365bet365. Hosts Granada are 7/1 while a draw is on offer at 17/4.
Click here to see all of bet365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
Barcelona will seek to put their awkward start to the season behind them when they visit Granada on Saturday.
The Catalans have won only two of their five competitive fixtures so far this season, and while their only defeat came in a tricky trip to Athletic Bilbao on the opening weekend of La Liga action, there is little doubt that they would have hoped to be quicker out of the blocks.
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An injury to Lionel Messi has complicated matters, but the Argentine is now back in action and head coach Ernesto Valverde will hope that his presence can lift his side to another level.
Certainly, Barca rode their luck somewhat against Dortmund in their Champions League curtain raiser on Tuesday, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s fine performance in goal integral to the Catalans earning a point. The keeper even saved a Marco Reus penalty.
“We suffered a lot and you have to admit that,” Valverde admitted. “There were some moments when we lost the ball in important zones and they got three or four counters and it complicated things for us but Marc was really good. And while we dominated the end of the game, we hardly had any chances.”
While the first cleansheet of the season is welcome, Barca’s offence will have to kick up a gear when they visit opponents only one rung below them in the standings.
Granada lie sixth in the Primera Division, boasting an identical record to the Catalans in terms of their wins and losses, but lagging on goal difference.
They have posted successive away wins over Espanyol (3-0) and Celta Vigo (2-0), while their only defeat of the season has come at home against early pace setters Sevilla, who were only able to edge them 1-0.
“If this team has something, it is that always goes onto the field to compete, regardless of the rival in front of us,” midfielder Yangel Herrera said.
“We know Barcelona are a great team, but we have to do our job, believe we can hurt them and that we can win. We go into the game optimistically.”
With Barca still seeking top gear and Granada having made an express start to the season, the underdogs are right to have confidence.