How Barcelona Will Line Up Against Celta Vigo
Well, El Clasico is over. After Barcelona’s 2-1 victory over Real Madrid on Saturday, the attention now turns to the upcoming match against Celta Vigo on Tuesday.
Barcelona’s schedule is starting to get a bit hectic and manager Tata Martino is sure to keep up his rotation policy that has brought success thus far.
In this slideshow we will take a look at how Barcelona will line up against Celta Vigo, while also discussing why some key players might need a rest in this match.
All statistics are courtesy of WhoScored.com.
The Barcelona Defense
Yet again there is no debate about who will start in goal. Victor Valdes is having arguably the best season of his career and should yet again be in the starting XI.
However, the back four will be a difficult selection for Tata Martino.
Dani Alves, Adriano and Gerard Pique could all use a rest, but not everyone will be able to get the time off they need.
Adriano is currently the only true left-back in the squad. Not only does he deserve a rest, but a random injury would severely hurt Barcelona. Martin Montoya should make a spot start in place of Adriano while Dani Alves should continue to man the right side of the back line.
Marc Bartra will likely make his return to the starting lineup. The 22-year-old has surprisingly only featured in four La Liga matches this season but has been by far the best defender in the squad.
Alongside Bartra will either be Javier Mascherano or Carles Puyol. With big games coming up and fitness needed, expect Martino to opt for Puyol to start alongside Bartra again.
The Barcelona Midfield
As always there are many options for Barcelona’s midfield. However, at this point the most important thing is making sure that Xavi gets the rest he needs.
Cesc Fabregas should start in place of Xavi in what is becoming more common this season, and fans should expect Andres Iniesta to start alongside him.
After Iniesta’s dominant performance against Real Madrid, Martino will look to keep his form going and now is not the time for his to take a match off.
The real question will be regarding who plays in Barcelona’s single pivot role. Sergio Busquets remains the undisputed starter, yet the Catalan midfielder could use a break as well.
For the match against Celta Vigo, expect Alex Song to make one of his rare starts. However, Busquets will still be on the bench and could be available to come on at any moment to give stability.
The Barcelona Attack
This will not be a match in which both Lionel Messi and Neymar start. One of the dynamic pair needs to be rotated out and whoever it is will dictate the other two forward spots.
Letting Messi take the match off makes the most sense. He is still recovering and could a bit more time to rest. However, this is Barcelona, and Messi will probably end up starting, with Neymar relegated to the bench.
Alexis Sanchez has earned a place alongside Messi in the starting XI with his goal against Real Madrid, leaving only the left-wing vacant.
Cristian Tello should get his chance to impress Martino and will likely take Neymar’s place on the left.
With Tello and Sanchez flanking Messi, Barcelona will be able to create many chances. Yet, fans should also expect both Neymar and Pedro to enter the match at some point as well.
Predicting a starting lineup is always tricky. However, the real debate among fans is always how well will Barcelona play and what will be the result of the encounter.
This season Celta Vigo has been at the top of the mountain and in the bottom of the valley; they stand 15th in the table. Their roller-coaster year has made them an unpredictable side to face, but Barcelona knows how to handle teams in Spain.
This will be an important match for Barcelona as Messi will have the chance to get his legs back in a more toned-down match while Marc Bartra can keep his incredible form going.
I predict a win for the Catalans with Barcelona scoring three goals and Victor Valdes keeping a clean sheet. Anything can happen, but Barcelona remain the reigning champions and current leaders of La Liga.
Who will start for Barcelona? Which players need to be rested? What will be the outcome? Leave your thoughts and comments below!