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FC Barcelona vs Granada Preview: Can Barcelona capitalize on Real Madrid’s slip-up?

While Real Madrid host Girona this weekend, FC Barcelona have the opportunity to gain ground on at least one of the top two in La Liga by beating second-bottom Granada. Barça haven’t managed to do so in their last four direct clashes (3D, 1L), but with Atlético Madrid breathing down their necks, this could be the perfect time to break that streak.

The Catalans’ chances of ending their two-game winless streak look good, as they come into this fixture having won five of their last six league games (1L).

Barça’s home form a cause for concern

Their only defeat in that run came at their temporary home, the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, which is the only La Liga stadium yet to register a draw this season (9W, 3L). However, Xavi’s men haven’t been consistent at this venue lately, alternating between wins and losses in the league (2W, 2L), and conceding at least four goals in each of those two defeats.

Granada in dire need of points

Granada held Barcelona to a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture thanks to a brace from Bryan Zaragoza, but with the striker having joined Bayern Munich on loan in January, it’s up to the rest of the team to step up.

The “Nazaríes” have indeed lost 10 of their last 14 La Liga matches (1W, 3D), which leaves the promoted club in real danger of an immediate return to the second division.

Away woes a problem for Granada

The visitors could be forgiven for focusing more on next weekend’s six-pointer against Almería than this trip. However, manager Alexander Medina needs to build some confidence and find a way to overcome his side’s away struggles, with his team avoiding defeat in just two (1W, 1D) of their last 12 away games in all competitions.

Key Battle: Robert Lewandowski vs Augusto Batalla

Robert Lewandowski scored in Barcelona’s last game, making it the ninth time in his last 10 scoring appearances in the league that both teams have scored. He’ll be tasked with finding a way past Granada goalkeeper Augusto Batalla, who could be in danger of testing the referee’s patience, having picked up a yellow card in three of his last four La Liga outings.

Hot stat: In seven of FC Barcelona’s last eleven league matches, only one goal has been scored in the first half.

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