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|To Win and Both Teams to Score||Odds|
|Barcelona and Yes||+123
|Celta Vigo and Yes||+1400
|Barcelona and No||-177
|Celta Vigo and No||+5000
The odds for Chelsea vs Leicester are provided by Unibet.
|Barcelona’s form has been shaky of late, and they have sometimes struggled to overcome teams they are expected to beat at the Camp Nou this season. They should pass the test this time around but it could be close.|
|Barcelona vs Celta Vigo Information|
|Teams||Barcelona vs Celta Vigo|
|Location||Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain|
|Time||Sunday, 16 May 2021, 12.30 PM EDT|
|How to watch||beIN SPORTS|
Had Barcelona been told back in early December that they would still be part of the La Liga title conversation with two games to play, they would have been delighted. Things looked rather bleak for Ronald Koeman’s side back then. A 2-1 defeat by Cadiz was damaging not only to Barcelona’s reputation but also to their chances of a successful season. That result left the club ninth in the table and 12 points off top spot. Even Champions League soccer could not be taken for granted at that point.
Barcelona have, for the most part, done brilliantly in the subsequent months. Since that loss on December 5, Koeman’s men have taken 62 points from a possible 78 – four more than Real Madrid and Sevilla over the same period, and eight more than Atletico Madrid. If they fail to win the championship, their slow start to the season will have been a costly period.
Yet there is also a sense that Barcelona have also failed to capitalize on a favorable position in recent weeks. Having got themselves back into the race, the Blaugrana have inexplicably stumbled in matches that should have been relatively straightforward. A 1-1 draw with Cadiz was followed by six successive successes before Barcelona went down 2-1 to Real Madrid last month. Since then they have lost at home to Granada and, most recently, drawn 3-3 with Levante after being 2-0 up.
Barcelona are not the only title contender that has stumbled; Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid have too. But with two games left to play, Barca sit third. To have a chance of glory, they need to take six points from six and hope both of their rivals slip up. It does not look likely.
The mood around Celta Vigo is significantly brighter. European soccer is probably out of reach – they would need to overturn a five-point deficit in matchdays 37 and 38 – but Eduardo Coudet’s charges are one win away from securing a top-eight finish. Since the Argentine was appointed in the middle of November, only the division’s top four – Barcelona, Atletico, Madrid, and Sevilla – have taken more points than Celta.
The club’s position in the top half of the table is particularly welcome after two consecutive relegation battles. Celta finished 17th in each of the last two La Liga seasons. They went through four different managers and were still unable to drag themselves clear of trouble. A third consecutive campaign of struggle appeared to be in store under Oscar Garcia, and Celta were even propping up the table after 10 games. Yet the decision to replace Garcia with Coudet has proved to be a masterstroke.
The team’s improvement has largely come at the top of the pitch. In Coudet’s tenure, Celta are averaging more goals-per-game than both Atletico and Sevilla, and only slightly fewer than Real Madrid. Celta have leaked more goals under Coudet than the likes of relegation-threatened Real Valladolid and Getafe, but putting the ball in the back of the net at the other end of the field has not been a problem in the slightest.
Barcelona’s task is simple: anything other than a win here will end their chances of winning the title. Even victory will probably not be enough, but Koeman’s side must get the job done to keep themselves in the mix in case Atletico and Madrid wobble once more.
There is no doubt that Barcelona have the firepower to blow Celta away on Sunday. The Blaugrana are, by some distance, the top scorers in La Liga, and their opponents have the joint-fifth worst defensive record in the division. With Barcelona knowing that nothing less than a win will do, we should expect them to find the net at least twice.
Celta, though, are capable of causing their illustrious opponents problems at the other end. Coudet’s men have the luxury of being able to play with a sense of freedom, having already achieved their objectives for the season. That makes them threatening to Barcelona, as does their excellent record in front of goal under their current boss.
All of which suggests we could be in store for an entertaining encounter at the Camp Nou on Sunday, as Barcelona fights to remain in the title race. Back the home team to emerge victorious in a game featuring goals for both teams.
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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