We’ll start with the sides’ form going into the tie. The graphic below shows the previous ten games for both teams in every competition. Perhaps surprising to some is that it is the Scottish side that have the better record. Both have earned seven wins while Celtic have drawn twice and lost once, compared to Barça’s one draw and two defeats.
In terms of goals, it is no surprise to see the Catalans ahead. Luis Suárez. Lionel Messi and Neymar have helped Barça notch up 25 goals in the last ten games and have scored on average 2.5 goals per game. This comes from an incredibly high shot rate with an average of 13 per game and 5 per goal. This gives Barcelona a conversion rate of 22% which is 3.6 times better than what Celtic can boast. The Scottish reigning champions have a significantly less shots per game average at just two however this does give them a greater shots per goal average of 1.
At the other end, Celtic have a very impressive record. They have conceded just an average 0.7 goals per game and typically only allow 5 shots to their opponent. Barça on the other hand have conceded more than a goal a game on average and allow two more shots to their opponents then Celtic do.
So now if we switch to their Champions League form, we see Celtic suffer as the strength of the opponent increases. In their last six home games, the hooped team have only managed one win and suffered four defeats. Conversely, Barcelona’s away form is superb. Three wins, a draw and two defeats has helped put Barcelona in a comfortable position at the top of the group.
If we then compare the forms in all of their recent Champions League games, the reading only gets grimmer for Celtic. They are without a win in their last six and in their previous 20 games, they have secured just four victories. Barcelona, meanwhile, have lost less games in their previous 20 then Celtic have in their previous six. Not exactly hope inspiring statistics for Brendan Rodgers who desperately needs a win if his European football is going to continue this season.
Finally, we will look at some of the predictions for the game. An away win is massively favoured at 76% and a mauling wouldn’t be surprising with 25% thinking Barcelona will score 4+ goals. It is expected to be a high scoring affair with 66% predicting over 2.5 goals however those goals won’t all be one way with 52% foreseeing both teams scoring. The front trio of MSN are widely expected to bag these goals with 46% predicting one of them will be the first goal scorer.
So there is a graphical preview to Wednesday night’s game with Barça widely expected to dominate and secure their passage into the next round.
(Graphics provided by kickoff.co.uk)