La Liga table-toppers Barcelona are flying high at the moment and they will be aiming to make it seven domestic league victories in a row when they host the ever-dangerous Celta Vigo at home at the Camp Nou Spotify on 10th October, Sunday night.
The Catalan giants will be hoping to recover from their demoralizing and controversial 1-0 loss to Inter away from home in the Champions League. Meanwhile, Celta Vigo are arriving here on the back of a 1-0 victory over Real Betis in the Spanish top flight last weekend.
Despite beginning their league campaign with a goalless draw at home to Rayo Vallecano, Barcelona have been in stupendous form since then. They have won all six of their following fixtures and are the only undefeated side in the league along with Real Madrid.
With six wins and a draw from seven games, Xavi’s side have 19 points to their name and Real Madrid’s recent 1-1 draw with Osasuna allowed Barcelona to climb to the top of the La Liga standings and displace the defending champions for the first time in over a year. Madrid, however, have reclaimed their place at the top with a 1-0 win over Getafe and the onus will be on Barcelona to respond back.
They have been in sensational form in the league and have conceded just one goal, during the 4-1 win against Real Sociedad. Despite being rocked by an injury crisis at the back, Barcelona will be hoping to continue their wonderful run of form in defence as they have kept clean sheets in their last five against Real Valladolid, Sevilla, Cadiz, Elche and Mallorca, scoring 15 times in the process. Xavi’s side are also the joint top-scorers in La Liga with 19 goals (along with Real Madrid) despite playing a game less.
Although La Liga 2022/23 is still in its early stages, it is already shaping up to be a glorious title race between Barcelona and Real Madrid and every dropped point could prove to be pivotal in the context of that battle.
The last time they were involved in league action, Robert Lewandowski scored his ninth goal of the campaign to secure a 1-0 win over Mallorca. At the Champions League front, however, Barcelona have plenty of work to do.
The Catalans have been rocked by two consecutive defeats at the hands of Bayern Munich and Inter Milan and have been left in a tight spot in their group. Their recent 1-0 loss at the San Siro was filled with controversy as Barcelona seemed to have been denied a legitimate penalty in the dying minutes.
The Catalan outfit are currently third in Group C on three points, three behind second-placed Inter and six from leaders Bayern Munich, with the team set to welcome Inter to Camp Nou for a huge contest next week.
With that being said, they will be trying to switch their focus back to the league campaign and preserve their wonderful run of form. Xavi will have to make several adjustments given the injury crisis that has plagued the club since the international break.
While Celta Vigo were taken to the cleaners and suffered a 3-1 loss on their last trip to the Camp Nou last season, they are a daunting side who are proficient in getting the best out of their Catalan rivals. It was evident when Celta recorded a 2-1 victory at the Camp Nou in May 2021 and the likes of Iago Aspas and co will be hoping to torment Xavi’s side once again as they are most certainly the fresher of the two sides entering the contest.
Eduardo Coudet’s side suffered back-to-back defeats to Atletico Madrid and Valencia before the international break, conceding seven times in the process, but they will enter this match off the back of a morale-boosting win. Gabri Veiga scored the only goal of the match against Real Betis last weekend, with the victory leaving Celta in 11th position in the table, boasting 10 points from their opening seven matches.
The outfit based out of Vigo in Galicia finished 11th in the Spanish top flight last season, but they had been contending for European football prior to that by finishing eighth in 2020-21 and sixth in 2015-16. Therefore, a push into the top half of the league table might be a genuine expectation for them during the 2022/23 season.
Celta do not have any European commitments this season but still have a busy October, facing Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid, Getafe and Almeria before the end of the month. Managing to take points from the Camp Nou and bringing to an end Barcelona’s run of successive wins will be a massive morale boost ahead of that.
BAR vs CEL, La Liga 2022/23
Date: 10th October, 2022
Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Camp Nou Spotify, Barcelona
Barcelona La Liga form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Celta Vigo La Liga form:
Barcelona wins: 70
Celta Vigo wins: 27
Barcelona Team News:
As mentioned before, Barcelona are going through a troubling injury crisis. Several players are out injured including Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie, Hector Bellerin, and Memphis Depay while Andreas Christensen became the latest to join the treatment room after suffering an injury while facing Inter at the San Siro.
Amidst positive news, Frenkie de Jong has received his medical green light and he is fit to return to action once again, although it is unlikely that Xavi will start him. The duo of Pedri and Gavi have been trusted over the Dutch international in most matches this season and that is expected to be the case here as well.
Gerard Pique may replace Christensen at the back, as he did during the game against Inter and Ansu Fati and Alejandro Balde are pushing to return to the side following the clash with Inter at San Siro.
Ousmane Dembele caused the Celta Vigo defence plenty of headaches the last time they visited Camp Nou and he should warrant a start on the right ahead of Raphinha. Robert Lewandowski will be expected to lead the attack as usual.
Celta Vigo Team News:
As for Celta, Franco Cervi will miss the match through suspension, but the visitors are otherwise in good shape heading into the clash at Camp Nou.
Iago Aspas should be back in the starting side after being named on the bench against Real Betis last time out, with Carles Perez likely to be the player to make way in terms of the starting XI.
Jorgen Strand Larsen should again feature in the final third of the field, with Goncalo Paciencia and Luca de la Torre expected to be on the bench for the visitors this weekend.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; S Roberto, Pique, E Garcia, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Dembele, Lewandowski, Fati
Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Marchesin; Mallo, Aidoo, Nunez, Galan; Beltran; Rodriguez, Veiga, Solari; Larsen, Aspas
Following their disappointing dejection against Inter as well as being on the wrong end of a refereeing error, Barcelona will be all fired up to return to winning ways with as big a statement as possible.
Robert Lewandowski and co have been firing on all cylinders and Barcelona have plenty of quality in their attack and midfield to trouble Celta throughout the 90 minutes. Their problems lie at the back where the Catalans are hurt by the loss of three central defenders.
Iago Aspas is known to raise his game against Barcelona and it will be up to Eric Garcia and Gerard Pique now to stop him. With that being said, Barcelona should have enough in them to secure a win over Celta Vigo, especially on home soil.