Image for Greg Lea Greg Lea - October 14, 2022

Barcelona vs Celta Vigo: Blaugrana to March on This Weekend

  • Barcelona rose to the top of the table for the first time this season last weekend
  • Celta Vigo were victorious last time out to climb into the top half of the table
  • Barcelona should have little trouble picking up another win when Celta come to town

Barcelona vs Celta Vigo Odds

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To Win to Nil Odds
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Barcelona vs Celta Vigo Pick

The Blaugrana have been solid at the back so far this term and another clean sheet against Celta Vigo looks likely.

Back Barcelona to win to nil on Sunday.

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Barcelona Vs Celta Vigo Araujo

Barcelona’s Strong Starts Raises Hopes of La Liga Title Triumph

The last time Barcelona were top of La Liga at the end of a matchday, Quique Setien was in charge. That feels like a long time ago now, perhaps even longer than the two years it actually is. But the Blaugrana are indeed back on the summit of the standings after taking 19 points from the first 21 available this season. Real Madrid’s slip-up against Osasuna last time out – the pair drew 1-1 at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu – allowed Barcelona to climb above the defending champions on goal difference.

Perhaps a La Liga title tilt is within reach after all. After Barcelona opted to overhaul their squad in the summer, many expected this to be a transition year before a sterner challenge in 2023/24. In fact, the first two months of the campaign suggest that Xavi Hernandez’s charges are capable of finishing on top of the pile in his first full season at the helm.

Xavi has done a masterful job of bringing everything together quickly, but it is fair to say that Barcelona probably would not be where they are right now were it not for Robert Lewandowski. Having dominated the Bundesliga top scorer award in recent years, the Poland international will take some stopping in the equivalent La Liga race. It was Lewandowski who notched the only goal of the game against Real Mallorca last weekend, taking his tally for the season to 12 in nine games.

The former Bayern Munich striker shows no signs of slowing down in his mid-30s, much to Barcelona’s delight. There are plenty of positives to be found elsewhere too, such as a surprisingly solid backline (more on which below), the continued development of Pedri and Gavi, and the rejuvenation of a fully fit Ousmane Dembele.

Inconsistent Celta Vigo Out to Cause Major Upset at Camp Nou

Celta Vigo have had an inconsistent start to the La Liga season. They began with a 2-2 draw with Espanyol, then suffered a 4-1 thrashing by Real Madrid, before registering back-to-back wins against Girona and Cadiz without conceding a goal. That was followed by hefty defeats at Atletico Madrid and Valencia, but Celta were impressive in beating Real Betis – a team with Champions League aspirations – last time out.

Perhaps it is only natural that Celta are yet to find an equilibrium. For one, if you include this trip to the Camp Nou, they have had a tough start to the campaign, facing each of the big three in their first eight outings.

It should also be remembered that Celta had a turbulent summer. Denis Suarez and Santi Mina, two of the team’s best players last season, were made available for transfer but getting them off the books was not easy. Suarez remains at Balaidos but has been on the treatment table in recent weeks, while Santi Mina finally found a new club in Al Shabab in Saudi Arabia.

Those twin sagas proved to be a distraction for the manager Eduardo Coudet, who in the circumstances has done a good job at the start of the season. Celta will now look to cause an even bigger upset than their defeat of Real Betis on matchday seven.

Barcelona’s Defensive Solidity Has Been Hugely Impressive

There was always great belief that Barcelona’s attack would do the business this season, with Dembele and Ansu Fati ready to support new signings Lewandowski and Raphinha. Xavi’s team has lived up to expectations in that regard, scoring a league-high 19 goals heading into the weekend.

Perhaps more surprising, and by extension more impressive, is their defensive record in the first couple of months of the 2022/23 campaign. Barcelona have conceded just one goal in their first seven outings; by way of contrast, Atletico Madrid have let in six and Real Madrid have shipped seven.

To put it another way, the Blaugrana have kept a clean sheet in more than 85 percent of their La Liga assignments, including five on the bounce ahead of the visit of Celta. Alexander Isak is the only opposition player to find the net against Barcelona – and he has since left Spanish soccer, joining Newcastle United in the Premier League shortly before the summer transfer window closed for business.

Celta do carry an attacking threat and Iago Aspas, their talisman, has made a fantastic start to the season. But Barcelona’s backline, particularly at home, is very difficult to prise open at the moment. Go for a home win to nil in this match on Sunday.

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How to Watch Barcelona vs Celta Vigo

Teams Barcelona vs Celta Vigo
Location Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Time Sunday, 9 October 2022, 15.00 PM EST
How to watch ESPN+

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AUTHOR

Greg Lea

592 Articles

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]

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