Now that the hype around the return of the Champions League has finally died down just a tiny bit, we can once again turn our focus to the domestic leagues this weekend.
For Barcelona, their first European match ended in a goalless draw with Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
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On Saturday, however, the Catalans face an entirely different challenge as they travel to Granada for matchday five of the 2019/20 La Liga season. So far, they’ve tallied two wins, one draw and a defeat and they will surely be eager to get more points on the table.
This is especially true since they are playing catch-up with both Madrid teams who are above them in the standings. Barca are currently fifth with seven points; Real have eight, Atletico nine and leaders Sevilla 10.
But looking specifically at the game against Granada, Ernesto Valverde will have a couple of puzzles to solve in terms of his lineup and here’s what we think Barcelona’s starting XI will look like…
Of course, the goalkeeper position is under no question whatsoever and this is even further emphasised now after Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s clean sheet against Dortmund; he saved a Marco Reus penalty during the encounter.
But his backline will see a change. Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique are two constants in Barcelona’s defensive quartet and so is Nelson Semedo but the 23-year-old newcomer, Junior Firpo, should get his first official start in the Blaugrana shirt, courtesy of Jordi Alba’s recent hamstring injury.
Further up the pitch, the midfield is all sorted with the trident of Sergio Busquets, Arthur Melo and Frenkie de Jong.
The forward trio, however, could also be tinkered with.
Lionel Messi is finally back with the squad and when he’s fit and firing, there’s no question about it – he simply has to start. Choosing his dancing partners, however, is still something Valverde will have to decide on.
But it’s likely that both Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann will feature at centre-forward and left-wing respectively, forming an “MSG” partnership from the get-go, and leaving teenager Ansu Fati on the bench.