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Three talking points ahead of Celta Vigo vs Barcelona | La Liga GW25

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Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

A week after crashing to a 3-3 draw against Granada, Barcelona return to action in La Liga on Saturday. The two dropped points on the night went a long way in helping Real Madrid extend their advantage at the top, and the trend could continue tomorrow as the Catalans lock horns with another nemesis – Celta Vigo.

Over the years, Barcelona and the Galician side have produced some nail-biting action and enthralling hours of football. Both sides are in jeopardy this time around, thus setting up a level field once more.

Rafael Benitez’s men are currently in 17th place in La Liga with just 20 points after 24 games. They have won just four games all season, losing 12 and conceding 35 goals in the process. Heading into tomorrow’s clash Celta have lost four of their last five games in all competitions.

Barça Universal brings you three talking points ahead of Celta Vigo vs Barcelona.

Estadio Municipal de Balaidos

Galicia has not been particularly welcoming to Barcelona in recent years. Any campaign in recent history holds frightening memories of the Catalans in action at Estadio Municipal de Balaidos, for they have grossly been outplayed at the venue time and time again.

The Blaugranas’ record at the stadium is appalling, to say the least.

Of the nine encounters Barcelona and Celta Vigo have played out at Balaidos since September 2015, the Azulgranas have won only one. Further, the hosts have come out victorious on four of the remaining eight occasions with the others ending in a draw.

A dive deeper back into history does not make the record any rosier. Of the last 25 games against Celta Vigo at Balaidos dating back to 1994, the Galicians have come out on top nine times. Seven games have ended in draws with Barcelona winning on nine occasions.

It does thus not require much more elaboration that the venue has historically been a very difficult one for the Catalans to conquer. In fact, Xavi’s only away game against Celta as a manager ended in a 2-1 defeat last June despite the team going on to lift the title.

For Barcelona to conjure resources and take all three points against Benitez’s men tomorrow, thus, will be far from a simple task. After all, the Catalans are in a world of pain and uncertainty themselves, far from their best form.

Eyes at the back

Time to step up. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

Barcelona’s fall this season has largely been down to the poor defensive shift put in by the players. The Catalans are a long way from the resilient unit they were last season, and the same is reflected in the fact that they have conceded 33 goals in just 24 league games so far this season.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s injury earlier this season forced Inaki Pena into the goalkeeping role in Catalonia for close to three months, and the youngster’s inability to step up adequately was one of the other triggering factors for the same.

The German, however, returned to action last weekend against Granada after his lengthy layoff. His first game saw him concede three questionable goals, but one can cut him some slack as his rustiness is understandable.

Barcelona, however, need the shot-stopper to step up and get back to his best at the earliest. As the captain, the onus of leading from the front falls on Ter Stegen’s shoulders, and his shift against Celta Vigo thus becomes critical for not just tomorrow’s result but the team’s spirit.

Need for momentum

Barcelona’s story has been woeful across all competitions this season. Their charge to the Spanish Super Cup was cut short by a disastrous performance against Real Madrid in the finale while they were knocked out of Copa del Rey after an uninspiring performance against Athletic Club.

In La Liga, Barcelona are now ten points behind leaders Real Madrid who have only lost once all season. Moreover, Girona sit five points ahead of them and it is almost clear that the title race is close to being wrapped up.

The UEFA Champions League, thus, is the only competition where Barcelona are still alive and fighting for the prize. They may not be favourites given their current run of form, but it is perhaps the only competition with something at stake.

Xavi’s men will continue their campaign in Europe next week when they take on Napoli in the first leg of the Round of 16. Tomorrow’s clash, in many ways, will set the team’s momentum for the big game.

Barcelona drew their last league game against Granada, and the result did not go down well in Catalonia with some unwarranted reactions in the stands taking to the headlines. A second consecutive poor result would thus intensify the negativity around the team ahead of the Napoli clash.

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