MX23RW : Sunday, June 20 12:47:09| >> :120:21076:21076:
Nov 9, 2019 at 8pm UK at Camp Nou (Barcelona)
Attendance: 71,209
Celta Vigo
Messi (23' pen., 45', 48'), Busquets (85')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Olaza (42')

Preview: Barcelona vs. Celta Vigo - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Celta Vigo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barcelona will be looking to return to winning ways when they host Celta Vigo in La Liga this weekend.

The Spanish champions are without a victory in their last two matches, losing at Levante in the league last time out before being held to a goalless draw by Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Match preview

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde pictured on November 5, 2019© Reuters

Incredibly, Barca have already lost the same number of league matches this season as they did in the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign. Indeed, the Catalan giants have been beaten in three of their 11 La Liga outings this term but are still top of the table heading into the next set of matches.

Real Madrid have dropped points in five of their 11 league matches this season, while Atletico Madrid have won just five of their 12 fixtures at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, meaning that Ernesto Valverde's side are top of the table largely due to the inconsistency of the teams around them.

That said, Barca did win seven straight matches in all competitions between September 24 and October 29 before losing 3-1 at Levante last weekend; then came a hugely disappointing goalless draw with Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

There remains widespread speculation surrounding the future of Valverde, although it is thought that the Spaniard will remain as head coach until the end of the campaign. He has delivered back-to-back La Liga titles since arriving from Athletic Bilbao, but their Champions League performances have been disappointing.

It would be a huge surprise if Barca did not return to winning ways this weekend, although Celta did record a 2-0 victory when the two teams last met in La Liga towards the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Real Madrid's Luka Modric in action against Celta Vigo in La Liga on August 17, 2019© Reuters

Celta are competing in their eighth straight season at this level of football, and they actually finished ninth, eighth and sixth between 2014 and 2016 during a very successful period for the club.

Two 13th-place finishes were followed by 17th last season, though, and it does appear that the club could be in for a relegation battle this term as they have struggled to compete in the opening months.

Indeed, a record of just two wins, three draws and seven defeats in 12 matches has left the Sky Blues in 18th position in the table. No team has scored fewer goals (six) in Spain's top flight this season, while they have lost each of their last four in the league since beating Athletic Bilbao on October 6.

The 1-0 home loss to Getafe last weekend saw Fran Escriba lose his job as head coach, with Oscar Garcia now in the position. Starting his reign with a trip to Camp Nou is not exactly ideal, but it could be a huge springboard if they manage to pick up a positive result this weekend.

The omens are not exactly terrific, though, as Barca have won 16 and drawn one of their last 17 home games in La Liga, while Celta have not recorded an away victory in the league since last December.

Barcelona form: WWWWWL

Celta Vigo form: LWLLLL

Team News

Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring their first goal against Sevilla on October 6, 2019© Reuters

Barca will again be without the services of Luis Suarez due to a calf problem, while Jordi Alba has emerged as a doubt after picking up a hamstring injury against Slavia Prague on Tuesday night.

Valverde otherwise has a fully-fit squad; changes are expected from the side that took to the field during the week, though, with Arthur, Junior Firpo and Sergi Roberto in line to start.

Ansu Fati could also be given the nod in attack as neither Antoine Griezmann nor Ousmane Dembele have impressed alongside Lionel Messi in the final third this season.

As for Celta, key attackers Santi Mina and Rafinha are both on the sidelines, while Kevin Vazquez and Claudio Beauvue are also out with hamstring and knee injuries respectively.

Iago Aspas and Denis Suarez are both expected to feature from the start, although Pione Sisto and David Costas are pushing for spots in the XI as Garcia will surely be considering changes.

Barcelona possible starting lineup: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; Busquets, De Jong, Arthur; Griezmann, Messi, Fati

Cela Vigo possible starting lineup: Blanco; Mallo, Aidoo, Araujo, Olaza; Suarez, Beltran, Lobotka, Mendez; Aspas, Fernandez

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We say: Barcelona 2-0 Celta Vigo

It is difficult to predict anything other than a home win this weekend when taking everything into consideration. Barca have not been at their best in recent games but should still have more than enough to triumph.

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