Barcelona played the last game of 2018 at home against Celta Vigo, and they made sure the Camp Nou crowd would not leave disappointed. The Blaugrana won 2-0 with ease and finished the year three points clear at the top of the La Liga table, and Barça can now enjoy two weeks of holiday break knowing they’ve won four in a row in the league.
Barça made a fast start to the game, controlling possession and making some sweet passing sequences to create chances and hurt the Celta defense. It took just 10 minutes for Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba to carve open the opposition, and after a pass from the full-back resulted in a shot from the captain being saved, Ousmane Dembélé was first to the rebound and buried home the opener.
It seemed like the home team was ready to kick on from there and really look to end the game early, but credit to Celta as the visitors weathered the early storm and managed to stay solid defensively while giving the Barça defense some problems, especially with striker Maxi Gómez who used his large frame to cause Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet some problems inside the box. Nothing too dangerous, though, so Barça were quite comfortable for most of the half, though they couldn’t create any real opportunities.
Until Jordi Alba played an absurd pass that opened the entire Celta defense, and his through ball put Messi one on one with the goalkeeper. It was easy to know what would happen next: 2-0 Barça just before halftime, a big goal to not only increase the Blaugrana lead but to destroy the confidence of a Celta team who thought they had a good chance in the second half.
At halftime, it wasn’t a vintage Barça performance by any means, but they were good enough when they needed to be and got two goals. It was all about finishing the job in the second half.
The second half followed a predictable script: Celta tried as much as they could to score a goal and get back in the game, while Barça looked to kill the game whenever they had the ball on the counter. Luis Suárez wasted a golden chance in front of goal in what was the best chance of the first 25 minutes of the period, and we didn’t see much meaningful action as Celta lost their best player in Iago Aspas to injury and struggled to create anything.
The final few minutes were quite boring, with Barça not that interested in scoring while Celta just didn’t have any idea of what to do with the ball. The last whistle came to confirm Barça’s victory, and the Blaugrana will finish the year top of the table and three points clear of second place. Not the best performance of all time, but it’s a fourth league clean sheet in a row and another easy win. Things look good for this team ahead of 2019.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal (Arthur), Busquets (Aleñá), Rakitic; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé (Coutinho)
Goals: Dembélé (10’), Messi (45’)
Celta Vigo: Blanco; Mallo, Araújo, Costas, Mazán; Méndez, Yokuslu (Lobotka), Jozabed, Boufal (Sisto); Aspas (Beltrán), Gómez