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Celta Vigo vs Barcelona, 2016 La Liga: Key Battles, What to look for

A few talking points ahead of Barça's visit to Celta Vigo

David Ramos/Getty Images

After a midweek sojourn in the UEFA Champions League, Luis Enrique's men in Blaugrana travel to Galicia to take on Celta de Vigo in La Liga. It will be a homecoming of sorts for both Lucho and Rafinha Alcântara. Denis Suárez as well - the midfielder will be returning to his hometown club.

Celta would not be a team on a list of "ideal" opponents to face on the back of a midweek Champions League game. Eduardo Berizzo's team are probably one of the trickiest opponents in the league, outside of the traditional big teams.

Old wounds in Balaidos

The 4-1 defeat in Balaídos happened just a little over a year ago, in September 2015. As much as that defeat was hard to watch, Celta thoroughly deserved that win. Nolito & co were outstanding on the day. The team has changed since then, with key players like Augusto Fernandez and Nolito having left the club. Celta will nevertheless pose a threat in today's game. Barça youth products Andreu Fontàs, Sergi Gómez and Carles Planas will be, as with contexts like this, eager to perform well against their former club.

A renewed Celta

Celta have recruited well. 2015/16 signings - the likes of John Guidetti, Daniel Wass and Marcelo Díaz - are now much more settled into their side. Guidetti is a battering ram of a centre forward who plays with much aggression and won't stop running and working for his team. It would be easy for Wass to go under the radar in a macro-perspective but he is an important player for Celta with his dynamism and technical ability. Wass scored a great free kick in midweek Europa League action. Díaz has stepped into Augusto Fernandez's shoes as a midfield lynchpin for Berizzo.

This past summer, Celta have done well in the transfer market. One-time Barça target Giuseppe Rossi is back on the pitch after a harrowing few years out due to injury. A forward of the Italian's class, guile and all-round ability must be kept in check - Rossi and Iago Aspas would be a partnership to keep an eye on if both are on the pitch at the same time. Chilean livewire Fabián Orellana gives Celta pace and creativity from a wide position. Pione Sisto is a little gem of a player - pace, flair and technical ability - who Celta signed from Midtjylland. Whether from the start or off the bench, Sisto is a player I'd most recommend keeping an eye on. He is full of surprises.

A strong start

After the initial failings in Germany in midweek, it is imperative that Barça start as they mean to go on. Neymar & co must start strong right from the first whistle. There is strength on the bench, such as when Arda Turan and Rafinha came on against Borussia Mönchengladbach and helped turn the game around. That said, there is no guarantee of such an impact being made in every game. A weak start today could prove fatal given the characteristics of both Celta Vigo and the atmosphere from the home fans that would inevitably build the longer Celta remain in the running for at least a point.

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