Barcelona have a real shot at the La Liga title for the first time this season after Real failed to notch a win against a spirited Las Palmas side in the midweek, against Barcelona’s 6-1 demolition of Sporting Gijon.
The Catalans are sitting second in the La Liga table with 56 points, one behind Real but they have played a game more. If the Catalans keep up the pressure successfully, then their fate is pretty much in their hands as they might have a chance to get things levelled in the next El Clasico. And with Luis Enrique leaving the managerial position at the end of the season, he would want to end it in the strongest way possible.
Barcelona host tenth placed Celta de Vigo this Sunday, and Messi and company won’t forget the shocking 4-3 defeat they had incurred when they played them away from home last October. Barcelona’s home record, however, is encouraging as they have collected 27 points from 12 home fixtures and should see off Celta de Vigo quite comfortably given the form they are in.
Strongest Barcelona XI vs Celta de Vigo
Ter Stegen will take his position under the bar once again. The German shot-stopper looks to have shaken off the humiliation against PSG and with back-to-back decent displays, he would hope to capitalise on it before they face the French side again for the 2nd leg showdown.
Enrique’s team setup was quite effective in the last game as his three at the back gave huge liberty to the players up front in expressing themselves. And if the Catalans are planning on deploying this same tactic to attempt to cut PSG’s four-goal advantage at Nou Camp, they better practice it well.
We expect the three at the back setup to be the same with Gerard Pique at the heart of the defence partnered by Lucas Digne and Sergi Roberto on either side. Lucas Digne and Gerard Pique was left on the bench and with little rest between the fixtures, we expect a squad shuffling. The manager would like to keep his defenders fit for the next midweek Champions League clash.
Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti are expected to start from the bench this game.
The four-man midfield is also expected to change. The central midfield duo of Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic should give way to Andres Iniesta and Andre Gomes. We expect Roberto to push up in place of Rafinha as the game progresses and Denis Suarez to hold to his place, He has been brilliant in his role.
The attacking trio needs no change with all the three- Neymar, Messi and Suarez getting goals in the last game.
Neymar – Suarez – Messi
Suarez – Iniesta – Gomes – Rafinha
Digne – Pique – Roberto
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