Barcelona v Granada
Monday 20 September, 20:00 kick-off
It’s not too often we’re treated to Barcelona on a Monday night, so we’ll hot foot it to the Nou Camp for their La Liga game with Granada to kick off another week of our props column.
Granada actually won on their last visit to the Nou Camp back in April – with Barca boss Ronald Koeman getting a red card on the bench summing up what a crazy result that was.
Otherwise it’s 24 wins out of 25 meetings for Barca at home and with the visitors without an away point or away goal in their two trips so far it should be yet another home win on the cards.
Defeat to newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano, and a 4-0 defeat at that, shows you that Granada could be in trouble this season, with just two draws to their names so far.
And how Barca could do with a win, and a big win, to try and erase some of the pain of their 3-0 Champions League hammering by Bayern Munich – when they failed to even get a shot on target in against the Germans.
Those sort of performances will get you the sack at Barcelona so Koeman will want his side to bang in a few goals to try and get back on track.
And with six goals in two home games so far then goals should be there for the taking – although both teams have scored in all three of Barca’s games so far so Granada’s top, and only, goal threat so far Luis Suarez (no, not that one) could be able to add to his tally of two so far this season.
Granada away from home have been a disaster, apart from that incredible win here in April, with just two wins in 15 road trips – with 12 of those seeing them concede at least two goals.
Barca, though, are a mess due to the incredible financial problems they’ve managed to get themselves into – Memphis Depay is their main man now but when you think who they used to have leading the line and now they’ve let Antoine Griezmann go and brought in former Newcastle striker Luuk de Jong, on loan, then you realise what a state they’re in.
They should still have enough to win this game though, but don’t underestimate the pressure they’ll be under, and that usually leads to fouls, free kicks and bookings.
There have been 10 in Barca’s two home games this season, and 11 in Granada’s two away games so far, with the visitors also desperate for something, anything, to take away from the game then we’re in for the business of bookings.
So is referee Santiago Latre, who has dished out 13 yellow cards in his two La Liga fixtures so far this term, so he can at least keep the Nou Camp average up with five cards here.
We can’t ignore Memphis in this game though, as he’ll have his team relying on him and he’s the kind of player who isn’t afraid to try and do it all himself – he may have to given injuries and the lack of support.
He’s scored twice, made one assist and had five shots on target in his three league games so far, but he’s such a short price to score here that the shots route seems more prudent.
Memphis to have two shots on target is a conservative estimate but an easily achievable one that sets us up for a nice little Bet Builder double to start the week.