FC Barcelona 1-0 Granada: 3 Talking Points as Lionel Messi secures Quique Setien's first win as Blaugrana manager | La Liga 2019-20
The hosts were in control of the game for the entire 90 minutes except for a few scares on the counter by Granada. Yan Brice Eteki almost gave the visitors a shock lead but his low strike came back off the post.
The turning point in the game was the sending off of Granada's German Sanchez, which provided a lot of space for Barcelona in the midfield to control the tempo of the game.
It wasn't definitely a cakewalk for Barca as it was evident that the team missed the finishing prowess of Luis Suarez who is scheduled to be out for the forseeable future. But, it was none other than Lionel Messi who managed to finish things off on a good note for the new gaffer.
Here are the three talking points from the game.
#3 Granada's tactical fouling to kill Barcelona's tempo
The visitors who are placed tenth on the La Liga table after 20 matches played, committed a total of 17 fouls in the game in what was an attempt to break the fluid passing in the Barcelona midfield.
Time and again, Barca's playmakers tried to pressurise the opponents and the latter had no option but to turn to tactical fouls which helped them somehow nuetralise the attacking overload displayed by the La Liga leaders.
Things got ugly in the 69th minute when German Sanchez was sent off for a second yellow card offence on Lionel Messi.
One man down and with all the Catalan club players lurking around to pounce on every opportunity for a goal, led to the 1-0 winner which was enough to secure the three points.
#2 Cruyff philosophy captures Camp Nou again
Quique Setien has always made it clear that he is a follower of the Total Football philosophy popularised by Johan Cruyff in his managerial as well as playing career, and the philosophy was on display last night at the Camp Nou.
Creative passing, coupled with the attack starting from the back was clearly implemented by the Blaugranes and it is surprising how quick Setien has been able to convey his playing style to the squad, given that he has been in charge for just a week.
Barcelona made 1005 passes in the game compared to Granada's 205, with a total possession of 83% throughout the game.
Compared to the reverse fixture played earlier this season in which Granada pulled a 2-0 shocker against Barca, this was a total rout by the Catalan giants as they made their ambitions clear going to the top of the table again with this win.
#1 Lionel Messi steps up again for Barcelona
For the past few seasons, it has been reiterated that Barcelona have been dependent on their stalwart Lionel Messi a bit too much, and that might have been the case last night too.
Even if the entire team played an amazing brand of football to create a lot of chances, none of the attackers were clinical in front of goal. Ansu Fati, Antione Griezmann both squandard chances in front of goal and Barcelona's positioning inside the penalty box left a lot of be desired.
With that context, the mercurial Argentine took it upon himself and he finished an Arturo Vidal back-heel in the bottom right corner with his weaker foot and made sure Setien had a winning start to his tenure.
With Luis Suarez out with a long term injury and Antoine Griezmann not living up to expectations, Barcelona's La Liga campaign will definitely go to the last 5 fixtures as rivals Real Madrid catch on.
The Galacticos are tied up with Barcelona, with the same points tally just behind on goal difference.
It has been a winning start to the Setien era for Barcelona, and fans would be expecting to see similar displays when the team plays bigger games in the upcoming months.Published 20 Jan 2020, 14:22 IST