Barcelona must cope without France international defender Clement Lenglet for Saturday’s La Liga clash against Granada because of suspension.
The 25-year-old has been hit with a one-match ban after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in Wednesday’s 3-2 win over Athletic Bilbao at San Mames. The ban has now been ratified which means Lenglet misses one game, as reported by Sport.
Lenglet is a regular fixture in Barcelona’s central defense but has not been at his best this season and has been part of a backline that has been guilty of a series of individual mistakes.
The Frenchman has featured in 16 of Barca’s 17 La Liga games in 2020-21, scoring in the 3-0 win over Real Valladolid in December. Lenglet also agreed a contract extension with Barcelona in October. His deal now runs until 2026 and contains a release clause set at €300 million.
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Umtiti or Mingueza to Replace Lenglet?
Coach Ronald Koeman does have a couple of options when it comes to replacing Lenglet in his starting XI against Granada. The Dutch coach could go with Samuel Umtiti or 21-year-old Oscar Mingueza.
Umtiti has returned to fitness after knee trouble but has still been used sparingly by Koeman. The 27-year-old is yet to start a competitive match under the new coach and has only made three substitute appearances.
It’s been a different story for Mingueza who has been handed the chance to impress in the first team and enjoyed plenty of game time, largely due to Gerard Pique being sidelined for a long spell after suffering a knee injury.
The youngster, who is still technically a Barcelona B player, has made 11 appearances in all competitions for Barcelona, featuring as a starter eight times. It would therefore be no surprise to see Mingueza given the nod ahead of his more experienced team-mate against Granada.
Mingueza could take his place as part of a youthful Barcelona backline alongside 21-year-old Ronald Araujo. Sergino Dest who only turned 20 in November, is also expected to feature at right-back.
Barcelona Aiming to Maintain Unbeaten Run
Barcelona head to Granada aiming to maintain an impressive run of form. Wednesday’s win made it seven games unbeaten for Koeman’s men in La Liga and propelled the team into third place in the table.
The Catalan giants suffered a disappointing start to the season but seem to be slowly hitting form and could make it four away wins in a row if they depart Los Carmenes with all three points.
Yet Barcelona will not have fond memories of their last visit to Granada in La Liga back in September 2019. The hosts ran out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Ramon Azeez and Alvaro Vadillo.
Granada slipped to a 2-0 defeat by struggling Elche last time out in La Liga but do possess a strong home record. Diego Martínez’s side only defeat on their own turf in 2020-21 came against Real Valladolid back in November.