Barcelona seek to end run of poor away results as they take on Granada

Sooraj Kamath - Writer 01:35 20/09/2019
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Barcelona return to league action after a challenging Champions League outing against Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

The Spanish giants were held to a goalless draw at Westfalenstadion after Marc-Andre ter Stegen produced a incredible display between the sticks.

Ernesto Valverde’s men must now turn their focus to La Liga action as they travel to Granada.

We take a look at the talking points ahead of the match.

What next for Ansu Fati?

Ansu Fati

Ansu Fati

The 16-year-old sensation was the talk of the town after a sensational showing against Valencia last week.

The Guinea-Bissau forward scored in the second minute before providing the assist for Frenkie de Jong’s strike just five minutes later.

Fati earned a spot in Barcelona’s starting line-up against Dortmund, on the back of his stellar display last weekend, to become their youngest representative in Europe.

However, he was anonymous for most parts of the game and looked overawed by the occasion.

With Lionel Messi close to full fitness, will Valverde send Fati back to Barcelona B side or will he hand him a start ahead of the Argentine on Saturday?

Another option would see Fati and Messi both start with Antoine Griezmann in the centre. Suarez – who was dismal against Dortmund – will then have to pay the price.

Will Granada add to Barcelona’s away woes?

barcelona

The Catalan side’s poor away record is put into perspective by the fact that they have won none of their last six games in all competitions away from the Camp Nou.

Barcelona last won away at Alaves on April 24 – nearly five months ago. In the new season so far, they crashed to a defeat against Athletic Bilbao at the San Mames before being held to a draw by newly promoted Osasuna at El Sadar Stadium.

Valverde’s men will travel to Granada hoping to break the away jinx, but are well aware that they need to produce a massive display.

Granada have won each of their last two games without conceding a single goal. They beat Espanyol 3-0 before netting twice against Celta Vigo.

Granada have scored nine goals in four games already, only failing to score against table-toppers Sevilla.

Barcelona won 4-1 the last time they visited Granada but the dynamics are different now. Diego Martinez’s side could hence make the visitors work hard for the three points.

Sergio Busquets on the bench?

Busquets

At his peak, Busquets was arguably the best in his position in the world. But the Spaniard has experienced a steady decline over the past few months, committing several errors that have led to goalscoring chances.

Dortmund won the midfield battle on Tuesday despite De Jong and Arthur producing encouraging displays in the centre of the park. With this, the finger of blame points towards Busquets who was overrun by his opponents and could not impose himself.

Valverde should look at resting the 31-year-old more regularly instead of throwing him back into action four days after their goalless draw against Dortmund. The Catalans host Villarreal next Tuesday and that would be an ideal time to have Busquets next in action in order to give his body sufficient rest.

Ivan Rakitic – who is yet to start a game this season – is a candidate for Busquets’ position and could do a solid job.

Valverde could also consider shifting De Jong to defensive midfield and having Carles Alena in front of him. Arturo Vidal is another option who can play anywhere in midfield.

It’s time Busquets’ status as an undisputed starter is questioned, especially with the abundance in quality at Valverde’s disposal.

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