Camp Nou, Barcelona
November 1, 2014; 19:00 CET
FC Barcelona suffered a humiliating defeat against Real Madrid on last weekend and Luis Enrique’s men would be eager to come back at winning ways again when they host Celta Vigo on Saturday.
FC Barcelona sit at the top of La Liga table but considering their defeat against Real Madrid in El Clasico on last weekend, they will be under pressure to secure an easy win against Celta Vigo to convince the fans about their ability to win the La Liga title again after 2013.
Star striker Luis Suarez is in line to make his official Camp Nou debut against Celto Vigo and he will be eager to make it memorable by scoring a goal in front of a home crowd.
Team News & Tactical Brief
FC Barcelona suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in El Clasico and now, many doubts are being raised over the ability of Luis Enrique’s side to remain competitive for all season long as the challenge of both, Real and Atletico Madrid, is bigger than ever.
The midfield of FC Barcelona is considered as their biggest strength but the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta have struggled badly this season. Luis Enrique started the game against Real Madrid with Xavi but he failed miserably in that game while Iniesta was also ineffective. Considering this in mind, Luis Enrique is expected to start the Celta Vigo game with Ivan Rakitic as he has given some encouraging displays this season.
And apart from his struggling midfield, another area of concern for Luis Enrique is his leaky defence. FC Barcelona defence has 100 percent record against relatively modest oppositions but against Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid, their only world class opponents so far, they have struggled badly as they have conceded whopping 6 goals in those two games.
The problems ahead of coach Luis Enrique are there because Gerard Pique, who was solid like a rock alongside Carles Puyol, is not able to concentrate anymore while Javier Mascherano is not a natural defender. Jeremy Mathieu has looked settled at the club but Luis Enrique played him on the left side in a game against Real Madrid and this proved costly as the pair of Mascherano and Pique struggled badly against Benzema.
Considering this in mind, FC Barcelona are expected to start the game against Celta Vigo with Jordi Alba as a left back while Mathieu as a central defender.
Meanwhile, attack is the area where Luis Enrique has wealth of talent at his disposal as Luis Suarez is back from his ban while Messi and Neymar are looking in good touch. Luis Suarez is ready to make his official debut at Camp Nou and FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique looked excited about this moment in his press conference.
Luis Enrique said: “Suarez has good fitness and he is training at the same level as his team-mates, and now we see him play games. He’s a good fit for the squad, and we will see that throughout the season.”
The FC Barcelona coach also said that his players are recovered from their last weeks’ eye opening defeat. “We know that we are going to go through tough patches and being ready for that is part of gaining success over the course of the season. Defeats like last week’s always hurt but, you are going to suffer defeats like that – or worse.”
Current FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique was the manager of Celta Vigo last season and he said that the Saturday’s game is special for him. “t’s a bit more special to play this game. I have fond memories of Celta Vigo. They are a hard-working, attractive, very dangerous team who put pressure on their opponents.”
Predicted Starting XI: Bravo; Alves, Mascherano, Mathieu, Alba; Rakitic, Busquetes, Iniesta; Suarez, Messi, Neymar.
Celta Vigo have made an excellent start to their new La Liga season as they sit at the 6th spot and coach Eduardo Berizzo will be hoping that his team continues with the same run of form against FC Barcelona on Saturday.
Celta Vigo appointed Berizzo as their new boss in summer as Luis Enrique left for FC Barcelona and he has made an immediate impact as the Andalusians have played a free flowing football under their new manager.
Meanwhile, youngster Sergi Gomez highlighted the mood of Celta Vigo players ahead of their big test. Speaking in a press conference on the eve of the match, Sergi Gomez said that the mood is good in their dressing room and they will be playing a positive game against FC Barcelona.
Gomez said: “I am sure that the players are experienced enough to know how to turn the page. They lost at the Bernabeu, but that can happen. Now they need to immediately switch on to the next match and change the situation.
“This is a game that anyone would want to play. What most excites me is the idea of going back to the place where I grew up. I’m looking forward to seeing people that I met over the years, and my old team-mates. There are lots of memories to relive, that’s for sure. Celta Vigo have a very similar philosophy to Barca. We always try to keep the ball and play good, effective football. The coach has brought in his new ideas, which he’s added to the good things we already had before.”
Predicted Starting XI: Sergio Alvarez; Fontas, Carles Planas, Novigil Mallo, Cabral; Alex Lopez, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Nemanja Radoja; Orellana, Joaquin Larrivey, Nolito
Player To Watch Out For
Suarez is set to make his Camp Nou debut on Saturday and he will be eager to impress the home crowd by making a positive impact on the game.
FC Barcelona 3-1 Celta Vigo
Celta Vigo have made an encouraging start to their campaign but it is going to be extremely difficult for them to avoid a heavy defeat against FC Barcelona at noisy Camp Nou.
Blast From The Past