Verdict: Over 3,5 goals – yes
Best Odds: 18/1
FC Barcelona have registered 39 straight La Liga games without defeat dating back to last season, and as a result they have yet to taste defeat during the 32 games they have played during the current league campaign. With the aim of making it 33 during the current campaign but also looking to take another step towards what appears to be an inevitable Liga title, Los Blaugramas will travel to Balaidos to take on Celta de Vigo this Tuesday.
Celta de Vigo
Celta de Vigo were expected to take a massive step forward this season after reaching the UEFA Europa League semifinals during the 2016-17 campaign, but things haven’t gone according to plan for the Galicia side. In fact, Celta sit in ninth place of the Liga standings with 43 points and are riding a poor run of results thanks to just one win in their latest five outings (W1, D2, L2). However, Los Celestes are only five points behind Villarreal in the race for a UEFA Europa League berth so it’s not like they are doomed, either. Getting a good result against Barca will always be complicated, but Celta have been quite solid at home (P15, W7, D5, L3) and they are also riding a five-game undefeated streak (W3, D2) in front of their own crowd thanks to three wins in the past four matches. They will have to be almost perfect to get a win against Barca, but their home form gives fans the chance to at least dream about pulling what would be a substantial uspet.
Chilean midfielder Pedro Pablo Hernandez and veteran defender Hugo Mallo are out due to suspensions.
Robert Mazan has been listed as doubtful due to a tight injury, but is not expected to play.
On the other hand, Barcelona have been nearly unstoppable this season at the domestic level. They are yet to lose during the current term (W25, D7) and own a nine-point advantage over Atletico Madrid with only six games left in the schedule, so all signs indicate this is Barcelona’s title to lose. They have also been the best away side in the league with 11 wins and five draws in 16 matches. However, Los Blaugranas can’t get complacent. After all, it has been less than a week that they were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League at the hands of AS Roma, in what has been one of the most shocking results in Europe in the past 10 years. But Los Blaugranas need to bounce back before it’s too late. And winning against a very inconsistent Celta team seems like the perfect way to heal their wounds. After all, a win here would practically give Barca the league title they have deserved during the entire season.
Ernesto Valverde has chosen to rotate the side ahead of this game. As such, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique will all receive rest looking towards the Copa del Rey final this weekend.
Lucas Digne recovered from his injury and made the matchday squad. However, Ivan Rakitic is out due to a hand injury.
Key Factors to Consider
- Barcelona need to be wary of Iago Aspas. The Spanish international has netted four times in the past five Liga games against Barca.
- Los Blaugranas are unbeaten through 32 Liga games this season (W25, D7). In fact, they have 39 games overall without tasting defeat.
- The reverse fixture earlier this season ended in a 2-2 draw at Camp Nou. Celta are just one of two teams to steal points from Camp Nou in league play this season.
- Barcelona have the best attack in the competition with 81 goals scored, while conceding only 17. On the other hand, Celta have scored 50 times but have conceded 44.
- Celta only has one win in their last five league matches. They register a mark of W1 D2 L2 over that span.
Celta have looked solid at home this season. However, Barcelona are unstoppable right now and seem ready to take another step towards the title. I expect Los Blaugranas to take home the three points in this one winning at both HT and FT.
Verdict: Away win at HT/FT – yes
Best Odds: 18/1
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