While 15 league games still remain in La Liga this season, Barcelona look to have all but wrested the league title back from the grasp of champions Real Madrid, who sit 15 points behind the Catalan club in third position, with Atletico Madrid 12 points adrift in second.
Despite concerns at the beginning of the season that Tito Vilanova may find it difficult to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Pep Guardiola, Barca have been in sublime form domestically and in Europe and find themselves fighting on three trophy fronts.
Despite losing to Real in the Spanish Super Cup at the beginning of the campaign, Barca are still on course to add the La Liga, Copa Del Rey and Champions League titles to their trophy cabinet this season, with their chances of doing so certainly not beyond them.
Next up for Vilanova’s men is a trip to Granada this weekend, who were unlucky not to have gained a share of the spoils when the sides met in September, where a Xavi strike five minutes from time and a Borja Gomez own goal handed Barca a 2-0 win at the Camp Nou.
The league leaders will need to be wary of complacency, as despite their lowly position that sees them sit just six points above the drop zone, Granada head into the game on the back of successive victories under Lucas Alcaraz, who took the reins two weeks ago.
Their last match at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes saw them record a shock 1-0 win over Real courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo own goal, which they followed up with a 3-0 win at bottom club Deportivo La Coruna, making it three wins in their last four outings.
As to be expected, Barca are odds on favourites to do the double over their hosts, priced at 11/50, with the draw at 5/1, while what would be just an eighth win of the season for Alcaraz’s men can be backed at a huge 21/2 in the bwin 3way football betting market.
Such is their dominance, it can be difficult at times to find betting value in Barca games domestically, but Lionel Messi to open the scoring a 3/2 is certainly worth considering, taking into account the Argentine has found the net 42 times in all competitions.
Messi has scored in 13 consecutive La Liga matches, six of which he has netted the first goal of the game, and given that Barca have scored in every league game this season, he’s not a bad shout, if the obvious choice, to get things underway on Saturday evening.
Goals haven’t been lacking when it comes to games involving the league leaders, 18 of their matches seeing over 3.5 strikes, which can be backed at 9/10, but it’s also worth considering the fact that 11 of those games have seen over 4.5 goals, priced at 2/1.
Punters who backed over 4.5 goals in their last outing would have seen a return on their investment, with the Catalan side running out 6-1 victors at home to Getafe on Sunday, taking their league goal tally to 78 for the season, averaging more than three a game.
While they’ve had not problems in attack, Vilanova’s side have been suspect at the back at times with only five clean sheets this season, and given their hosts will be in a confident mood, backing both teams to score at 3/4 could prove fruitful.
It would take a brave man to back anything other than a Barca win in this match, and the league leaders should retain, if not increase, their lead at the top of the division this weekend in what could potentially be another monumental season for the club.