Celta Vigo vs. Barcelona: Complete La Liga Preview

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Celta Vigo vs. Barcelona: Complete La Liga Preview
David Ramos/Getty Images

Celta Vigo host Barcelona in Galicia this weekend, with games running out for them to pick up the points they'll need to stay up.

They sit second bottom in the table, three points above bottom-placed Deportivo La Coruna and three behind Real Zaragoza, who occupy the last safe position.

At the other end of La Liga, Barca arrive with a mammoth 13-point lead over Real Madrid at the summit and boosted by Tito Vilanova's return to Catalonia following his treatment in New York.

The hosts will seek hope in the disruption of an international break this week and La Blaugrana's upcoming Champions League clash with PSG.

 

Team News

Iago Aspas, Celta's best player this season, will miss the match on the back of a red card he picked up for headbutting a Depor player two weeks ago. 

Defender Andres Tunez is also suspended. He picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the same match.

Right-back Hugo Mallo is out for the rest of the season, and there are doubts over Alex Lopez and Enrique De Lucas.

Barcelona will once again be less than thankful to the Spanish national team as several players returned damaged this week. Jordi Alba picked up an injury against Finland and joins would-be-replacement Adriano on the treatment table—Martin Montoya could come in at left-back.

Against France, Pedro also picked up a knock, while Xavi played through the pain and will likely be saved for Tuesday's match in Paris.

Carles Puyol (injured) and Victor Valdes (suspension) remain sidelined too.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

 

Form

Things have not been particularly pretty for Celta recently on their return to La Liga.

A slide in results post-Christmas saw them eventually sack Paco Herrera and replace him with former Atletico Madrid, Real Valladolid and Granada manager Abel Resino.

His reign started with a win, but it has been three straight defeats since; including a devastating 3-1 derby defeat against Deportivo last time out.

Following three defeats in four games—two against Real Madrid and one versus AC MilanBarca have enjoyed a three-game winning streak.

The 4-0 hammering of Milan in the Champions League saw them return to their intensive pressing game and has set them up nicely for the final stretch of the season.

 

Men to Watch

Augusto Fernandez

Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Undoubtedly a talented footballer, Augusto Fernandez has struggled with consistency during his first season with Os Celestes.

There are signs recently, though—two goals and an assist in his last five games—that the Argentinian winger is getting it together.

And with Alba and Adriano out of the match, the 26-year-old will hope to capitalise on a weakened left-side of the Barca defense. 

 

David Villa

Obviously Lionel Messi is the normal protagonist, but El Guaje—"The Kid" in Asturian—has been crucial in Barca's return to form.

He'll look to add to goals against Milan and Rayo Vallecano when La Blaugrana make the trip east this weekend.

 

Last Time

The Camp Nou played host to Celta Vigo back at the beginning of November.

Barca picked up the three points on that occasion and scored three goals in the process—Adriano, David Villa and Jordi Alba on target.

Veteran striker Mario Bermejo had briefly levelled things up in the first half.

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