Preview: FC Barcelona vs Granada (and remembering 1992)

Santi Cazorla’s marvellous strike at the Bernabeu has added renewed optimism at Camp Nou before tomorrow night’s home match against Granada. Pep Guardiola was pessimistic about Barça’s chances after the 0-2 win at Sevilla on Saturday though this might seem strange given that Guardiola formed a part of Johan Cruyff’s dream team which seemed to make a habit out of making incredible comebacks to win the league.

Of those four consecutive Ligas won by Cruyff’s team in the early 1990s, three were dramatically clinched on the last day of the season. The ends to the 92/93 and 93/94 seasons were both incredible but it was the 1991/92 season that saw the most sensational recovery. Real Madrid had begun the season with a run of eleven victories and one draw and in December their lead over Barça was 8pts – I should of course remind you that it was still just two points for a win in those days so it was the equivalent of four victories.

With five games left that season Madrid were still top with 49pts and a goal difference of +46, Atletico were 2nd (46pts +28GD) and Barça were third (45pts +33GD). On Saturday 9th May Madrid went to Oviedo and lost 1-0. The following day both Atletico and Barça won to reduce the difference. In Jornada 35 Madrid beat Atletico while Barça beat Mallorca to go second. Barça took a brief pause to win the first European Cup at Wembley, then in week 36 Madrid could only draw at Osasuna (we’ll see what happens there this season!) while Barça moved to within a point with an outstanding 0-6 win at Valladolid. Madrid held their nerve in the penultimate game of the season, beating Valencia 2-1, however, Barça’s 0-4 win over neighbours Espanyol at Sarria meant that Barça now had the superior goal difference.

This was extremely important as it meant Madrid needed to win, rather than just draw at Tenerife to clinch the title while Barça played at the same time at home to Athletic Bilbao. This is what happened on that incredible day, June 7th 1992.

If we want to see a repeat we will first have to see off Granada who look like surviving their first season back in the top flight. Once again we face opponents with a new coach, former Atletico goalkeeper Abel Resino took over in January and since he began Granada have won four while losing five. Goals from Carlos Martins and Guilherme Siqueira earned them a 2-1 victory over Sporting on Saturday which leaves them fifteenth on 31 pts, but Martins should be suspended for Camp Nou after being sent off near the end. Many will see Granada as easy pickings but victories this season at Betis, Athletic and Sevilla suggest they are capable of causing an upset.

Pep Guardiola will no doubt want to make changes to the team due to the short period of time between games, so we could well see Keita, Alexis and Puyol back in the team while I’m also looking forward to seeing some action from Thiago who is fit again. Leo Messi with 51 goals this season seems sure to start and with the form he is in we may very well see another record fall. He is four short of Cesar’s 235 goals for the club and maybe it is a bit much to ask for another four-goal haul tomorrow, but a hat-trick is surely within reason and that would take him past his previous best of 53 goals in a season.

With the Champions League and Liga to play for and another Copa del Rey final to look forward to, the next couple of month could be extraordinary. Let’s start with a good win over Granada.

Possible Barça XI: Valdés; Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Adriano; Fabregas, Keita, Iniesta; Cuenca, Messi, Alexis.

My prediction: Barça 3 Granada 0

Date: Tuesday 20 March, Kick off 9pm local time

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13 Responses to Preview: FC Barcelona vs Granada (and remembering 1992)

  1. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    I sure hope we bag all 3 points for this one. 1 interesting question : What happened to Tello? Is he out injured?? I would rather Messi, Sanchez, Tello upfront, then, if we’re gonna take a 2-0 lead by the end of the first half, we should consider resting/preserving Leo Messi our KING in attack. As much rest would be better for Messi rather than breaking records. I’m sure the last thing we need is an injury to our star player.

    • barcacentralnic says:

      Guessing tomorrow’s lineup is a little more tricky as Pep may take the chance to rest players. Tello’s fine as far as I know. I put Cuenca in the possible lineup cos I think Pep prefers him for a defence that plays deep. Tello seems better against teams that press up as he can use his speed to get in behind the defence. I think there is a very good chance Tello will be used as a sub. But it’s all just guessing 🙂

  2. layibiyi says:

    I think i would like to see puyol at left back…adriano will need some preservation for this end season stretch of matches especially as he has a habit of picking knocks here and there. busquets could also move back to defence if needed.

    barca 3 – 1 granada

  3. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    nervous again, i shall be. This will be one of the sweetest victories of all time, if we managed to steal the La Liga at the very last stretch. I hope NOBODY gets injured besides the 3 points.

    Layi, i agree with you on Adriano’s bit, however he still needs a huge chunk of minutes. ADRIANO is pretty good at driving forward, however his positioning and concentration has got to improve. At times, like in the last match, when he totally lost the right winger just before getting substituted was really shocking. He has to brush up a little in his defense work.

    Key players that are VITAL in our cause of retaining the Champions League, and La Liga will be MESSI, INIESTA, XAVI, VALDES, ALVES and PIQUE. (The whole squad is important, but these are the MOST important IMO at this time of the year especially considering the other injuries )

    Good news is, i heard Affelay is back and kicking =). Our front line looks adequate in terms of options now, thou i miss Villa and Pedro’s goals.

    Madrid still has to play against:

    And last but definitely not least: BARCA BARCA BAAAAAARRRCA!!!!

  5. barcacentralnic says:

    Rather strangely Cesar’s goalscoring record has just been revised to 232 goals! Messi could take the record tonight!

  6. wikd14 says:

    It is strange but I pray it gives Messi the push to break it. Also, this will motivate him to aim for Paulino Alcántara record of 369 Goals.

  7. barcacentralnic says:

    For those who don’t know about Alcantara he was Barça’s highest scorer of all time. Alcántara was born in The Phillippines, where his Spanish father was stationed, on October 7th 1896.
    He moved to Barcelona as a boy and joined Barça in 1912. He made his debut on February 25th 1912 at the age of 15, scoring a hat-trick in an 9-0 victory over Català SC. He was famed for his powerful shot with both feet. In 1922, playing for Spain against France he scored with a shot that was so hard it broke the net! In total he scored 369 goals for Barça in 357 games between 1912 and 1927. He won five Spanish Cups with Barça and ten Catalan championships (the Spanish Liga didn’t start until 1928).Check out the following link, I believe the gentleman with the bowtie and moustache who appears in the early clip is Joan Gamper the club’s founder.

  8. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    wait… i’m confused. Alcantara was the unofficial top scorer while Cesar was the official one?? How could that be???

  9. barcacentralnic says:

    Alcantara played in another era before La Liga began in 1928. Barça played in the Spanish Copa del Rey, in the Catalan “Campeonat de Catalunya” but they also played many more friendlies or unofficial tournaments. Therefore I suppose it is fairer to include the unofficial games for players from those times. If they have only just decided on how many goals Cesar scored in the 40s and 50s it is quite possible that the figures for Alcantara will be disputed one day.

  10. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    thanks for the prompt info….i have a feeling of a LEO MESSI show tonight =D

  11. barcacentralnic says:

    Barça start with: Valdés, Alves, Puyol Piqué Adriano Keita Thiago Xavi Cuenca Messi, Alexis

  12. FC Barcelona Rocks! says:

    SUPERRRRR hat-trick. Dani’s red card could be a blessing in disguise. We could use Adriano to fill in at Rightback while Dani gets a day off.

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