5th April 2015, 00:30 IST
Celta Vigo play hosts to Barcelona at the Balaidos as La Liga returns to action following the international break.
Celta Vigo will be hoping they can do the double on Barcelona after they handed their former manager Luis Enrique his first home defeat as Barcelona head coach in the return game. Celta have a good home record as well, winning 5 and drawing 4 games, and losing only 4. Currently in 11th place with 35 points, they have not much to play for in the rest of the season and so will come at Barcelona with an intent of taking some points off them.
Barcelona have been in a good run of form, and their win against Real Madrid was particularly helpful in opening up a gap at the top. But the international break has come at the wrong moment for them, and the manager and players would hope that they have not lost the momentum they had built up winning all those games. Luis Enrique would want to extract revenge over his former club for the defeat earlier in the season, and a win will take them further away from the chasing pack in the league.
Team News and Tactics
Celta Vigo have been a little bit of a bogey team for Barcelona, in that it is not just this season that they have put the brakes on the Blaugranaa s season. Even two seasons ago, they dropped a couple of points thanks to a late goal from Borja Oubina in an otherwise flawless season under Tito Vilanova. They will be hoping to do the double this season, and if not, at least take a point from the encounter.
Unfortunately for Celta, they will not be able to call on Oubina to do the same once again, having been sidelined by an injury. He will be joined by other long term absentees Carles Planas and Levy Madinda. Celta Vigo could possibly line up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Norito, Larrivey and Orellana making up the frontline. In central defence, the manager would likely go with Fontas and Cabral, who can play the high line if need be.
Probable Line Up: Alvarez; Jonny, Fontas, Cabral, Mallo; Fernandez, Radoja, Krohn-Dehli; Nolito, Larrivey, Orellana.
With Real Madrid facing a relegation threatened Granada, Barcelona would have to assume that they will get all 3 points. So the onus would be on them to win the game against Celta Vigo if they are to maintain their 4 point lead over their rivals. While the win against Madrid was important in the title race, it is even more necessary to keep the momentum going, especially after a very unwelcome international break. With Atletico Madrid seemingly out of the title race, Barcelonaa s focus should be on ensuring that they maintain their lead over Real till the end of the season and no slip ups would be helpful.
Javier Mascherano is suspended for this game, and thata s a pity for Barca considering that he has been in great form for the team. They will also be without Jordi Alba, who joins Thomas Vermaelen in the injury list. While Vermaelen is back in training, this game is too soon for him to play. There were worries that Lionel Messi may not be available for this game following a foot injury he suffered in the game against Madrid, but he seems fit and should start the game. Sergio Busquets also returns to the squad and should make the team.
Probable Line Up: Bravo; Adriano, Mathieu, Pique, Alves; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Neymar, Suarez, Messi
- In the last 11 games in the La Liga, Barcelona have won a resounding 10 of them.
- In all competitions against Celta Vigo, Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals.
Celta Vigo 1-3 Barcelona
Although Celta Vigo may have proved to be a thorn for Barcelona in the past, they have literally nothing to play for in this game and everything to play for Barcelona. While it may not be an easy breeze through, Barca should win this without too much of a fuss.