FC Barcelona would look to continue their onslaught when they turn their sight to the domestic sector as they lock horns with Celta Vigo at their new home Estadi Lluis Olimpic Companys. They are coming on the back of a historical 5-0 victory against UEFA Champions League debutants Royal Antwerp FC, after mauling Real Betis 5-0 last weekend.
A clash of domestic heavyweights
FC Barcelona have been on top notch form since the start of this season. Barring a goalless stalemate against Getafe in their league opener, the Catalans have looked terrific in consecutive matches, as top players like Lewandowski, Ferran Torres got into their groove in the perfect moment. With the signing of two ‘Joaos’, Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo, Barca have bolstered their attack and defense sector, and both of the loanees have exceeded their expectation while playing for the Catalans, scoring goals on their debuts. In the midweek clash against Antwerp, Felix decided to continue his dazzling form when he scored a brace and assisted a goal, thus being rewarded with a Player of the Match trophy. Ferran Torres, once considered to be an outcast in Xavi’s ranks due to the uprising of Dembele and Raphinha, has returned to his fine touch, as he became the first person for Barcelona to score from a direct free-kick after Lionel Messi, thus embodying his “bull” mentality. With all sectors falling in place and Xavi ticking all the boxes, FC Barcelona has rendered themselves the name of heavyweights and a force to reckon with.
Celta Vigo, on the other hand, have endured a rough start at the season, as they stand on a meagre 16th position, with 4 points in their bag, winning one and losing three. Compared to Barcelona, as the La Liga defending champions stand on second place, Celta Vigo might face an uphill task as they travel to Catalunya to face the title holders. In their last 20 fixtures against the Catalans, Celta has emerged victorious in 6 occasions out of 20 outings, placed a near second after Real Madrid as “Los Blancos” being the only team to defeat Barca more than them.
FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo: team news
With a heavyweight clash on the cards, both Xavi and Rafa Benitez will field their strongest possible eleven in pursue of three points. Former Barca midfield maestro Xavi would look for a couple of changes in the squad, which shone in the mid-week clash against Antwerp. Former Southampton star Oriol Romeu would look to steady his ship in the midfield as he has quickly settled in Xavi’s mindset, as he is expected to start. Youngster Lamine shone in the UCL fixture, becoming the youngest Barca player to achieve that feat, but Xavi might opt to go with seasoned Raphinha ahead of the La Masia starlet. It is highly unlikely that Xavi would change his backline which has been showering the club with incredible performances, as former Manchester City star Cancelo has settled the dust in becoming the perfect right-back in Barca’s set-up. Uruguayan wall Araujo will be on the sidelines till the international break in October, as Pedri and Araujo seems to be racing against time to recuperate from their injuries.
For Celta Vigo, Benitez had experimented with his formation, as he started off his Celta managerial stint with a 4-4-2 line-up, but the seasoned tactician has switched to his favorable back three, in the next games. He would be without any injury concerns at this moment, although being without midfielder Franco Cervi, as the star is recuperating from a muscle injury. Former Barca full-back Oscar Mingueza might be in contention to start this game against his former club.
FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo: predicted line-up
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Balde, Christensen, Kounde, Cancelo; Romeu, De Jong, Gundogan; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Felix
Celta Vigo: Villar; Nunez, Starfelt, Dominguez; Mingueza, Beltran, De La Torre, Ristic; Douvikas, Aspas, Bamba
FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo: predicted score
FC Barcelona 3-1 Celta Vigo
FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo: head-to-head
FC Barcelona victories: 16
Celta Vigo victories:6
Last Meeting: Celta Vigo 2-1 FC Barcelona (4th June, 2023)
FC Barcelona vs Celta Vigo: venue, date, time, where to watch
Venue: Estadi Lluis Olimpic Companys
Date: 23rd September, 2023
Time: 10:00 PM (Indian Standard Time)
Where to Watch: Sports 18