Barcelona is set to take on Celta Vigo in a highly anticipated La Liga clash on Saturday evening.
With five consecutive wins across all competitions, Barcelona aims to continue their winning streak and secure three more points against Celta Vigo, who have had a lackluster start to the season.
After a disappointing goalless draw with Getafe on the opening weekend, Barcelona has been in exceptional form, winning their last five matches in all competitions.
Victories against Cadiz, Villarreal, Osasuna, and Real Betis have propelled them to second place in the league with 13 points, trailing leaders Real Madrid by just two points.
In their most recent outings, Barcelona thrashed Real Betis 5-0 in La Liga and replicated the same scoreline in the Champions League against Royal Antwerp.
The Catalan side now faces a crucial series of league games against Celta, Mallorca, and Sevilla before their next Champions League fixture against Porto.
Currently, it seems difficult to predict when Barcelona’s unbeaten run will come to an end.
Barcelona’s recent deadline-day signings, Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo, have seamlessly integrated into the team, strengthening their squad for the demanding season ahead.
In their previous encounter at Camp Nou last season, Barcelona narrowly defeated Celta 1-0.
However, Celta emerged victorious with a 2-1 win in the reverse fixture in Vigo on the final weekend of the previous campaign.
Celta Vigo has struggled to find their rhythm this season, managing only four points from their first five matches. This disappointing start has left them in the 16th position in the league table.
They secured a win against Almeria before the international break but suffered a 1-0 defeat to Mallorca in their last outing. Now, they face the daunting task of playing an in-form Barcelona side.
Despite finishing 13th in the previous La Liga season, Celta Vigo has been a consistent presence in the top flight for the past 12 seasons, achieving several top-half finishes.
However, their goal-scoring form has been lacking this season, with only four goals in La Liga so far, and their main striker, Iago Aspas, is yet to open his account in the 2023-24 campaign.
Barcelona will continue to miss the services of Pedri due to a thigh problem, but Ronald Araujo might return to the squad as he nears full recovery from a hamstring issue.
Coach Xavi faces tough decisions regarding his team selection, particularly in the attacking third, with Raphinha, Ferran Torres, and Lamine Yamal vying for the starting role on the right-wing.
Joao Felix, who showcased his goal-scoring prowess with a brace against Antwerp, is expected to retain his spot on the left flank.
Alejandro Balde, fresh from signing a new contract, will feature at left-back.
Celta’s squad is in good shape, except for Franco Cervi, who is nursing a muscle injury.
Coach Rafael Benitez is unlikely to make significant changes following their recent defeat to Mallorca, although Tasos Douvikas could be pushing for a starting position in the attack alongside Iago Aspas.
Jonathan Bamba and Lucas de la Torre are expected to maintain their roles in the starting lineup.
Cancelo, Kounde, Christensen, Balde;
Gundogan, F de Jong, Gavi;
Yamal, Lewandowski, Felix
U Nunez, Starfelt, Dominguez;
Mingueza, Beltran, De la Torre, Ristic;
Douvikas, Aspas, Bamba
Barcelona is currently in scintillating form and is highly likely to secure another victory against Celta Vigo.
While Celta has the potential to make it a challenging encounter, Barcelona’s strength should overpower their opponents, resulting in a 2-0 win for Xavi’s side.