Barcelona will be hoping to return to winning ways when they host Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Matchday 13 of the 2019-20 La Liga this weekend.

FC Barcelona would like to resume their La Liga campaign with a win after back to back underwhelming results this week. The Blaugrana will look to redeem themselves when they host Celta Vigo at the Camp Nou on Saturday.

Ernesto Valverde’s men suffered a humiliating 3-1 defeat against Levante in the league last weekend while they only managed a 0-0 draw against Slavia Prague in their midweek Champions League clash. However, the Catalan outfit cannot afford another off day with their rivals Real Madrid catching up in the points table.

On the other hand, Celta Vigo have their different set of problems, as they find themselves in the relegation zone earning nine points from 12 matches. The Celticos have lost last four matches on the trot and have also sacked their manager, Fran Escriba after the disappointing start to the season. Oscar Garcia has taken charge of the club recently and this will be his first game at the helm.

Team News & Tactics

Barcelona

Ernesto Valverde will be missing the services of Jordi Alba after the Spaniard pulled his hamstring against Slavia Prague recently. There is a boost though with Luis Suarez recovering from the injury he picked up against Levante. However, Valverde might look to play it safe and not start with the Uruguayan on Saturday.

Junior Firpo and Sergi Roberto ought to start in full-back positions with Clement Lenglet and Gerard Pique playing at the heart of the defence.

In midfield Sergio Busquets is an obvious call and alongside him players like Arthur Melo and Frenkie de Jong are likely to feature. Busquets will sit deep initiate buildups and aid the backline whenever required. Arthur Melo and de Jong will venture forward and be more active in the attacking buildup.

Teenage sensation Ansu Fati may start in attack as both Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele have failed to put impressive performances this season. So, the 17-year old is set to start on the left with Griezmann taking the right flank and Lionel Messi starting as the centre-forward. However, the front three are expected to shuffle through the game with Messi dropping deep and orchestrating play.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; Arthur, Busquets, de Jong; Griezmann, Messi, Fati

FC Barcelona

Celta Vigo

Oscar Garcia has quite a long injury list at Celta with creative attacking players like Santi Mina and Rafinha already out injured and joining them are Kevin Vazquez and Claudio Beauvue who are also unavailable after sustaining injuries in their hamstring and knee respectively.

In defence Ghanaian centre back Joseph Aidoo will partner Nestor Araujo while Hugo Mallo and Lucas Olaza pick themselves for the full-back spots. In midfield, the four spots will be taken by Brais Mendez, who is likely to play from the right with Stanislav Lobotka partnering 20-year old Fran Beltran in the centre of the field.

Denis Suarez is set to feature against his former club and the midfielder will have some added motivation to prove himself on the night. Pione Sisto and Okay Yokuşlu will also look to prove themselves as the new manager is set to make changes to the starting eleven.

Experienced Spanish forward Iago Aspas will lead the line alongside Gabriel Fernandez. Celta have scored the least amount of goals in the league thus far scoring six goals from the first 12 fixtures and it is a statistic which they share with the other two teams in the relegation zone.

Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Blanco; Mallo, Aidoo, Araujo, Olaza; Mendez, Lobotka, Beltran, Suarez; Aspas, Fernandez

Celta Vigo

Key Stats

  • Celta Vigo have managed to muster nine points from their first 12 matches in La Liga this season – their worst record at this stage since 1985/86 season where they had seven points.
  • Celta Vigo have managed to win one match out of their last 10 La Liga fixtures, losing their last four and failing to find the net six times. Also, they have not scored more than once this season till now.
  • Barcelona have scored at least once in their last 32 La Liga matches at home (W27 D4 L1) with a goal average of 2.9, enjoying a winning record in their last 12 La Liga matches at Camp Nou.
  • Among all the sides Barcelona have faced at least 50 times at home, against no other team they have lost fewer times than Celta Vigo ( P53 W40 D11 L2)
  • Celta Vigo have not won away from home in La Liga since last December.

Player to Watch

Antoine Griezmann

Under pressure to deliver (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Under pressure to deliver (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

The Frenchman is not having the best time at Barcelona since his high-profile transfer in the summer. Reports about his trust issues with star man Lionel Messi and other Barcelona players have been doing the rounds in the media of late, adding further pressure. So, Griezmann will be hoping to prove his doubters wrong with a strong performance on the pitch.

The 28-year old has scored four goals in La Liga till now but a good match against Celta will hold him and his team in good stead after a frustrating week full of disappointing results. This is probably the perfect time for Griezmann to step up as Barcelona seek to return to winning ways.

Prediction

Barcelona 3-0 Celta Vigo

With everything being said regarding Barcelona’s recent form, the Catalans will be under immense pressure to get a positive result out of this game against the relegation-threatened Celta Vigo at Camp Nou. The clock is also ticking for Ernesto Valverde which the Spaniard knows pretty well, therefore, they need a convincing win to get back on track.

Oscar Garcia has just taken over the reins at Celta Vigo, who are in a deep hole, having lost four consecutive La Liga fixtures. And playing Barcelona at this stage is probably not good for the transformation which Garcia is expected to bring at the club.

The visitors have also failed to find the net consistently which means it should be smooth sailing for Valverde and his men. The Hard Tackle predicts a solid 3-0 win for the hosts which will solidify their position as league leaders.

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