FC Barcelona (1st, 34pts) vs Celta Vigo (11th, 21pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 17
Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti, Malcom, Sergi Samper, Thomas Vermaelen, Rafinha, Munir, Jeison Murillo (out)
Celta Outs and Doubts: David Juncà (out)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 22, 2018, 6.30pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 5.30pm GMT (UK), 12.30pm ET, 9.30am PT (USA), 11pm IST (India)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Eduardo Prieto Iglesias
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 2 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others
Happy Holidays! Barcelona will play their final game of 2018 before Spanish football takes a break for two weeks, and it’s an important one: the Blaugrana welcome Celta Vigo to Camp Nou looking for a win and hoping to be at least three points clear of Sevilla and Atlético Madrid.
Barça have won their last three in the league, with the last two wins, over Espanyol and Levante away from home, especially impressive. It really seems like the team is using the opportunity to focus solely on La Liga and playing as hard as they can to build a comfortable lead before the Champions League starts again. There’s about two months between now and the first leg against Lyon, and Barça must take advantage.
Win four and row here, and 2019 brings a somewhat easy January with four winnable games that could push the streak to eight wins and the lead to more than just three points. Let’s not look ahead, though. Let’s focus on a good Celta team first and play our strongest team and our best game. If we do, the year will end on a high.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé
Celta (4-4-2): Blanco; Mallo, Araújo, Costas, Alonso; Méndez, Beltrán, Yokuslu, Boufal; Aspas, Gómez
I hate when I’m so optimistic about Barça games, but I can’t help it with this one. We’re playing really well and the Celta defense is bad: 4-1 to the champions.