Granada 1-0 Barcelona: 6 Things We Learned
Barcelona's title hopes took another plunge when the Catalan were defeated 1-0 by Granada at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on Saturday in what was yet another lackluster showing.
With Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid still to play this weekend, La Blaugrana will likely fall further behind in the race for first place while Granada will be relishing their first victory over Barcelona in recent memory.
The result impacted both teams and will have a lot to say on how the La Liga season will end. Here are six things we learned from the match and be sure to get involved in the discussion below!
* All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com
Granada Deserve More of Your Attention
There are plenty of clubs in Spain besides the big three that deserve more attention, and Granada is one of them. Even before this big win, the club from Andalusia were making headlines by climbing from the Tercera Division to La Liga in under a decade.
Granada also have a deal with Italian side Udinese that sees several players join the Spanish team on loan, and relations continue to help both clubs out.
In recent memory, Granada have become one of the most entertaining storylines to watch in La Liga, and all signs point to continued growth.
With stars such as Youssef El-Arabi, Yacine Brahimi and standout keeper Roberto, it is no wonder that the club continue to grow. In the next few years, they could certainly be playing in Europe and deserve it, in all honesty.
Granada are a very special club with incredible fans that were on display for the Barcelona match. If you are a follower of Spanish football at all, you have got to keep a closer eye on El Grana.
Tata Martino Makes More Odd Choices
Entering this match, manager Tata Martino had a real problem on his hands. Every center-back save for Javier Mascherano, who is a converted midfielder himself, was ruled out due to injury, meaning picking a back line would be tough.
Martino had several options he could take.
Adriano could once again feature as a center-back, as he has done a few times with relative success. His pace would have also helped against Granada's quick strikers.
On the other hand, Martino could have elected to go with Alex Song, who was originally brought to the club to feature as a backup for Busquets and a center-back if absolutely needed.
Martin Montoya could have even slotted in on the right of the center-back duo, as he has experience there in his formative years.
Yet Martino chose to start Sergio Busquets alongside Mascherano. Granted, Busquets is a defensive player and has slotted in at that position before, but it was the choice that made the least sense.
With Busquets at the back, there was absolutely no defense in front of the back line. Granda's goal came from Barca having no protection and it was clear that this was a bad choice.
Playing Busquets at the back wasn't the big mistake, it was not giving the defense any coverage. Martino could have put Song alongside Mascherano, but instead he chose to take the most important midfielder in the team out of midfield.
This decision could come back to haunt the Catalans. Had Busquets played in the midfield, then buildup play may have been more fluid. There are a lot of ifs after a loss like this.
Barcelona Still Look Uninterested
In Barcelona's last few matches, there has been an unmistakable trend that has fans worried. Not only are the Catalans not playing up to their true level, they have looked relatively uninterested every time they take the pitch.
It was clearly on display in their Champions League loss to Atletico Madrid and it was the same story against Granada. Players spent way too much time walking around, and the urgency to equalize was nonexistent.
Barcelona are struggling to score goals at the moment and that may all come down to how little emotion the players are showing. None of the forwards seem willing to turn on that extra gear and it is really costing the Catalans.
The uninterested look of the players has them performing sloppily and making mistakes that we aren't used to seeing with Barcelona. Something is definitely up behind the scenes, and Barcelona will have to fix it now or this season may be a wash.
Whatever has the players performing like this, it isn't good at all. It is getting serious.
Granada Say Tata to Relegation Worries
After a wonderful start in the league that had Granada so high in the table that fans were getting nosebleeds, the club began to struggle and found themselves in danger of relegation, entering this match.
It was clear that Granada needed a big win to further distance themselves from the drop-off zone, and they certainly got it against Barcelona.
With these three points in the bag, Granada momentarily move up to 13th in the La Liga table and have seemingly waved goodbye to any worry of relegation.
There are still a few big games coming up in the remaining calendar, but for now, Granada can rest easy. El Grana managed to win the one game they weren't expected to and now the pressure is off. They can ride this victory all the way to Primera Division permanence.
Barcelona Say Tata to the Title Race?
While Granada will be waving goodbye to relegation worries, Barcelona may have just watched as their title hopes flew out the window.
The Catalans only have a few matches left in the season, and after this loss, they will likely be playing from behind. Many thought the meeting with Atletico Madrid at the end of the season would decide who lifts the trophy, but even a victory then may not mean a Blaugrana championship.
Anything can happen and the title race is far from over, but Barcelona really hurt their chances with this loss. The Catalans could not afford to lose any more games, but that is exactly what they did.
From this moment on, every game is a must-win. Any points that Barcelona drop would likely mean their chances of becoming champions are officially over.
It is going to be a long month for Cules.
This Is Not the Time to Be Playing the Copa Del Rey Final
Sloppy play, uninterested players and a bad run of form are the exact opposite things a team wants to see before facing bitter rivals in a cup final. However, that is exactly where Barcelona find themselves ahead of the Copa del Rey meeting with Real Madrid.
Every time El Clasico is played, there are giant storylines. In the case for Wednesday's match, the fact of the matter is that neither side are at their best at the moment, meaning anything is possible.
Every derby match seems to bring out emotion, and that may be in Barcelona's favor on Wednesday. It is hard to imagine that the Catalans will keep playing like this against their biggest rivals, and fans will certainly hope they will see the normal Barcelona.
It is clear that the Copa del Rey final is Barcelona best chance of lifting silverware at the end of the season, so they will have to be at their best.
This is not the right time to be going into a cup final, but Barcelona will have to play through the problems. Fans will be hoping for the best, and for Barcelona's sake, they need to show up in a big way.
Anything can happen in El Clasico, and it could be just the match that Barcelona need to jump start a great run to end their season on a high note.
What did you learn from Barcelona's surprising defeat? Is the title race over for the Blaugrana? Leave your thoughts and comments below!