Barcelona’s statistics are looking fine at the minute, with a 100 percent league record, having played four and won four, scoring 12 goals and only conceding three. Their opponents tomorrow, Granada, travel to the Nou Camp sitting third from bottom with two draws and two defeats, having scored twice and conceded six.
No problem then, an easy win for Barca on the cards except for the fact that there is a problem at the heart of the Barcelona defence. Carlos Puyol and Gerard Pique are both on the injury list, so who will plug the gap? On Wednesday, Javier Mascherano was filling in for Puyol and was joined by the Cameroon international Alex Song when Pique limped off, but they did not inspire confidence as a central pairing.
The man most likely to be brought in to the starting line up is 21-year old Marc Bartra. The Spanish under-21 player has been at Barcelona since age 11. He has made 81 appearances for Barcelona B and played eight times for the full side, most notably in the last league game of last season. Bartra scored his first senior goal to help Barcelona come from behind to beat Malaga.
Bartra will probably play alongside Mascherano and the defensive solidity will be helped by the return of Jordi Alba at left back. The summer signing has been ill but is set to get his place back from Adriano, who is more comfortable attacking than defending.
If Vilanova is worried about his defence, he does have the option of adding Song to strengthen the midfield. With Busqueta and Song protecting the back four, Barcelona should have no problem repelling Granada, but would lose some sharpness in attack.