In La Liga, it usually feels quite wrong to bet against Barcelona. The club have been for the last decade one of the most imperious on the planet. In the eyes of many they have taken the mantel of Real Madrid as the world’s most prestigious club. Given their utter dominance of La Liga in recent years in comparison, it would be hard to argue.
However, a trip of Vigo is one of the most challenging nights of the year these days. Celta have not started the season anything like the way that they could have, but they are unbeaten since Atletico Madrid won 4-0 in Galicia back in early September.
Since then, the club has managed to re-arrange itself on the pitch. Draws away to Standard Liege and Osasuna tallied well with a home win against Sporting Gijon and an away win against Espanyol. As such, Barcelona arrive here knowing that a performance as good as the one that Atletico put on will be necessary if they wish to topple Celta.
No Historical Repeats
However, we doubt that it will feel anything like the match that we seen in the last year. Last September, Barcelona witnessed a thrashing to match all thrashings in a mental 4-1 loss at Celta. Somehow, we just don’t see the same start to this season unfolding for the Spanish giants.
They simply lack the capacity to lose like that at present. The home loss to Alaves a few weeks back served as the ideal wake-up call, as they have looked imperious since. Celta have been consistent since they were shell-shocked by Atletico, but still don’t seem to be hitting the kind of form that you would expect of a side so talented.
Our suggestion for this match, though, is a score draw.
Barcelona play Borussia Monchengladbach midweek, whilst Celta are playing host to Panathinaikos in the Europa League. Celta have become more dogged since the drubbing at home and we expect that this week they may provide a similar robustness as they have shown since.
After all, Barcelona aren’t imperious so far this year. They scored a glut against Glasgow Celtic recently, and also thrashed Sporting Gijon 5-0 away, so they know how to score. The problem is that, for Barcelona, they seem to have regular dips in goalscoring consistency. A heavy thrashing of the likes of Leganes one week, a frustrating draw soon after.
This is why we’re backing a score draw here. Gladbach are a fine side and, presuming they turn up on the night, should give Barcelona a tough game. Panathinaikos are not of the same level of Celta, so we would expect a good win at home for them.
The Galicians, then, can into a game against a somewhat tired Barcelona with the hope of making a steady impact on the match. So long as they don’t try and push for a 4-1 and leave themselves exposed, we could see Celta frustrating Barcelona and making life difficult.