When Barcelona faces Celta Vigo in a La Liga clash on Tuesday, the full scope of the mismatch can be expressed in one statistic—Celta Vigo has as many points this season (nine) as Barcelona has wins.
The Catalan giants are fresh off an El Clasico victory over Real Madrid this weekend, 2-1, so perhaps Celta Vigo's best chance is that Barca is still a bit hungover from that crucial victory. Seeing as Barcelona is undefeated in 15 matches this season in all competitions, however, it's the longest of long shots.
When: Tuesday, October 29 at 5 p.m. ET (9 p.m. GMT)
Where: Estadio Balaidos, Vigo, Spain
Odds: Barcelona (61.1 percent), Celta Vigo (19.1 percent) and draw (19.8 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
While Gareth Bale generally disappointed in his Clasico debut for Real Madrid, Neymar shined, scoring a goal and adding an assist in the key win. WhoScored.com gave him an 8.28 match rating for the encounter, named him Man of the Match and has given him an average match rating of 8.01 in La Liga play this season.
In other words, any concerns about how he might adjust to European football can officially be put to bed.
While Celta Vigo will hope for a letdown from Barcelona following the win, Barca manager Gerardo Martino feels it will have the opposite effect.
From Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:
To win a Clasico always gives you an important boost, the result was more important for the spirit of the squad than the three points. Our spirit could not be better now—after winning a very tough game, when both teams had periods where they were on top.
In that report, Martino also noted that he'll call up all of his first-team options except for Gerard Pique—though he did acknowledge that he could somewhat rotate the squad—so don't expect Barca to field a weakened side.
But enough about Barcelona. The club is good, we get it. Celta Vigo come into this game after absolutely smashing Malaga, 5-0. The home side may not be having a great season, but it isn't for a lack of goals—it's scored 13 on the season, tied for eighth in the league.
No, the problem is that the club has let in the same number of goals it's scored, a ratio that looks even worse when you consider it came into the weekend with a minus-five goal differential. Charles (four goals), Alex Lopez and Nolito (both with three goals) may keep on scoring, but unless the defense tightens, the wins will continue to be few and far between.
Which team wins?
At home, following a huge win for Barca and with a good enough offense to steal a goal or two, Celta Vigo has a shot. But let's be realistic—Barcelona is on amazing form right now and isn't about to drop these league points, especially with Atletico Madrid even on points at the top of the table.
Celta Vigo will play well, but it won't be good enough. Barcelona wins, 3-1.