Can Tito and the team finally achieve the best start ever in La Liga? Celta de Vigo is coming to the Camp Nou with a mixed form with 2 wins, 2 losses and 1 draw in their last five games. What does Paco Herrera have up his sleeve tonight? Find out what we think after the jump.
A Catalan coach
Celta Vigo’s coach Paco Herrera was born in Barcelona and is popular through his work with Rafa Benitez in his Liverpool era. There he served as Assistant Manager and Chief Scout from 2004 until 2006. Then he served as Director of Football in Espanyol for three years. He coached Celta Vigo since the 2010/2011 season and helped the Galician club achieve promotion last year.
So far, Paco favors a defensive 4-2-3-1 formation with counter attacking intent. However, Celta Vigo is also capable to keep possession in short spells. Their best player so far in attack is their striker Iago Aspas who has scored 3 goals and has 1 assist so far.
Javi Varas revisits the Camp Nou
No cule can forget Javi Varas’ sensational performance with Sevilla less than a year ago where he kept all Barcelona players from scoring. In total he produced 7 saves including 1 penalty. Since then, no other keeper has left Camp Nou unscathed. He’s back this time around with Celta de Vigo. Fortunately for Barcelona, Celta’s best defender Gustavo Cabral will be serving his suspension from the red card that he received in the 1-1 draw with Deportivo.
Back with Bartra?
With Puyol still out from contention and Pique still doing recovery work, Tito has to trust a converted CB as a part for his defense. Mascherano will definitely play as he has been accustomed to the position more than Song, so the case is once again between Song and Bartra.
With Celtic game approaching in 4 days, it might be wise to have some rotation with this match. Song can be played in Champions League, and starting Bartra in a less risky match is the way to go. Celta Vigo is a team mainly doing long shots and counter attacks, therefore Bartra’s great anticipation can be deployed to good use.
Fàbregas leading the midfield
Tito has started Fàbregas in all La Liga match this season, and today looks to be no exception. Busquets and either Iniesta or Xavi will complete the midfield trio. It looks likely that Xavi might again get the nod after being rested in Alaves due to the importance of keeping possession and attacking patiently.
Dani Alves, who was very good against Alaves, might be rotated to be used against Celtic instead who will have a more physical approach than Celta, with Adriano or Montoya as the left back tonight.
Messi not starting
Messi might not be starting tonight as he didn’t partake in the last training due to the birth of his baby. More importantly, Messi is more needed in the match against Celtic where Barcelona looks to achieve the safe spot as soon as possible.
Villa is set to have his first full match this time around after opening the score in two successive matches with Alexis and Tello/Pedro completing the forward three. Tito will employ the 4-3-3 formation he has used in all La Liga games this season.
Barcelona has won against Celta Vigo in the last 4 matches in all competitions. Barcelona will also look to achieve history in getting the best start ever for them in La Liga
|Barcelona||2 – 2||Real Madrid CF|
|Deportivo||4 – 5||FC Barcelona|
|FC Barcelona||2 – 1||Celtic|
|R Vallecano||0 – 5||FC Barcelona|
|Alavés||0 – 3||FC Barcelona|
Pique and Puyol is still out although already doing some recovery work. Muniesa and Cuenca is still recovering from his surgery, meanwhile Thiago has yet to receive medical clearance.
Predicted Starting XI: Valdés; Bartra, Mascherano, Alves, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi, Fàbregas; Pedro, Villa, Alexis
Celta de Vigo
Celta has lost their last 4 away games and will be hoping to improve this time around.
|Celta Vigo||2 – 1||Getafe|
|Granada||2 – 1||Celta Vigo|
|Celta Vigo||2 – 0||Sevilla FC|
|Real Madrid||2 – 0||Celta Vigo|
|Celta Vigo||1 – 1||Deportivo|
Celta held out with 10-men for 40 minutes to claim a draw in the Galician derby last time out but will be without centre-back Gustavo Cabral who gets the marching orders. Natxo Insa is also injured for Celta.
Predicted Starting XI: Varas; Mallo, Samuel, Tunez, Lago; Bustos, Lopez, Oubina, Fernandez, Krohn-Dehli; Aspas
FC Barcelona 4 – 0 Celta de Vigo