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La Liga: Barca’s Big Chance to Take Control of Title Chase


La Liga: Barca’s Big Chance to Take Control of Title Chase

Barcelona vs Granada

With the two Madrid clubs continuing to falter, and Sevilla making a late surge, the La Liga title race has become incredibly tight as the top four teams are now separated by just three points.

However, Barcelona appear to be in the best shape to claim the crown, and the La Liga 2021 odds agree. Ronald Koeman’s side still have a game in hand and can now take sole possession of the league lead if they beat Granada at home.

Granada don’t have much left to play for this season as they sit in eighth place. Although, they might be eager to get some revenge over Barcelona, who cruelly ended their Copa del Rey dreams in their dramatic quarter-final tie.

Talking Points

Griezmann in great form for Barca

Barcelona have bounced back quite well from their El Clasico setback. Since that 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid, they won the Copa del Rey with a 4-0 thrashing of Athletic Bilbao, crushed Getafe 5-2, and came from behind to beat a tough Villarreal side 2-1 away from home to keep their title hopes very much alive.

Antoine Griezmann scored both goals against Villarreal as he continues his resurgent late-season form. The French striker has now scored in three straight games and has six goals in his last seven appearances for Barca.

Griezmann will certainly be glad to be facing Granada again; he has scored four times in two games against them this season.

On the other hand, Lionel Messi had a quiet game against Villarreal, which was surprising given his outstanding form of late. He had scored nine goals and assisted in five more in his last eight games prior to the Villarreal match.

Messi will look to bounce back at the Camp Nou, where he has produced majority of his best La Liga 2021 highlights. Of Messi’s league-leading 25 goals, 16 have come at home. Moreover, he has scored in six of his last seven league games at home, with Barca winning six of those seven.

Meanwhile, Ousmane Dembele made his return after missing the previous match due to injury. The speedy French winger will provide even more firepower to a Barca team that is full of goals at the moment.

Granada’s special season slowly winding down

Granada have had an incredible season marked by a couple of cup runs. First, they made surprising run to the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey and looked on course for a famous victory over Barcelona. But despite Granada going 2-0 up with 88 minutes to go, Barca scored two late goals to force extra-time and went on to win 5-3.

They then made it all the way to the quarter-finals of the Europa League in their first-ever season in European competition before being knocked out by Manchester United.

Meanwhile, they remain comfortably midtable in the league and have basically nothing left to play for this season.

After recent back-to-back wins over the bottom two – Real Valladolid and Eibar – Granada went down 2-1 to title-chasing Sevilla. Roberto Soldado scored a 90th-minute penalty to make the score a bit more respectable.

Granada have struggled mightily away from home this season, with 10 defeats in 16 games (three wins, three draws). Although, they do still manage to get a goal or two in. They have scored in each of their last eight away fixtures.

The 35-year-old Soldado leads the team with nine league goals this season, including four in his last four league games.

Luis Suarez, the team’s second-leading scorer with five goals, had a disappointing outing in his first league start since February against Sevilla, so Soldado could be recalled to the starting XI against Barca.

History

To no one’s surprise, Barca have completely dominated Granada over the years, winning 13 of their 15 La Liga meetings. Granada have won just twice, both of which were at home.

Barca won their first league meeting this season at Granada 4-0 as Griezmann and Messi both bagged braces.

Although, Granada have given Barca a good fight in their last two trips to the Camp Nou, both of which were just 1-0 defeats.

Betting Tip

Barcelona Asian Handicap -2.00 @ 1.71

The SBOTOP odds have Barcelona priced as huge 1.14 favourites to beat Granada, who have astronomical odds of 16.00 to spoil Barca’s title hopes. A draw is 7.40.

Clearly, there is no value in the 1X2 market, so let’s turn instead to the Asian Handicap. It’s hard to see Barca slipping up, especially with the title now well within their grasp.

With Griezmann in fine form and Messi likely to bounce back, take the Catalans to score a comfortable home win over Granada.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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