RC Celta Vigo (17th, 40pts) vs FC Barcelona (CHAMPIONS, 88pts)
Competition/Round: 2022-23 La Liga, Matchday 38
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Pedri, Ronald Araujo, Alejandro Balde (out)
Celta Vigo Outs & Doubts: Agustín Marchesín, Fran Beltrán, Joseph Aidoo (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, June 4, 2023, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Monday)
Venue: Balaídos, Vigo, Spain
Referee: Juan Luis Pulido Santana
VAR: Mario Melero López
How to watch on TV: ESPN Deportes (USA), Viaplay Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Sports18 (India), Not Available (Spain, Canada), others
Following a brilliant win over Mallorca in the Camp Nou farewell last weekend, Barcelona return to action for the 2022-23 season finale as they make the annual trip to hell known as Celta Vigo away at the Balaídos on Sunday Night Fútbol.
Barça come into this one having signed off on their home season in style, saying goodbye not only to the current version of their legendary stadium with a fantastic performance but also seeing the end of the Barça careers of two legendary figures in Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba.
Neither has made the trip to Vigo and neither will travel with the team immediately after the end of the match for a post-season friendly against Andrés Iniesta’s Vissel Kobe, and with three other starters out through injury this is a very thin squad for Xavi Hernández ahead of the final two games of the campaign.
But the title is wrapped up, the impression left after last week was nothing but positive, and this is simply a formality. Xavi will have no choice but to go with a strong team with so few players available, and he said on his pre-match press conference that goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen will indeed start as he tries to set the league record for clean sheets.
Robert Lewandowski will also get a run looking to add to his Pichichi tally which currently stands at 23 goals, and the likes of Marcos Alonso, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati will look to earn more minutes next season.
But this promises to be a brutal challenge against a desperate Celta side that sits in 17th place, just one point above the relegation zone. Celta are involved in a wild six-team race to avoid the drop, and only a win will guarantee safety for the Celestes.
They will count on their amazing crowd and on talisman striker Iago Aspas, who has long been one of the league’s top goalscorers and always seems to play his best when facing Barça at home.
These two teams always put on a show whenever they meet at Balaídos and there is always a wild finish, and with so much on the line for Celta it wouldn’t be a shock to see another dramatic game coming down to the wire between these two rivals.
This will be loads of fun, even if means nothing for Barça.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, Christensen, Alonso; Kessie, De Jong, Gavi; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Fati
Celta Vigo (4-4-2): Villar; Mallo, Núñez, Domínguez, Galán; Pérez, Tapia, Veiga, Cervi; Aspas, Seferovic
Every Celta-Barça game at Balaídos follows the exact same script, and I’m not about to try and change it: It’ll be wild and Barça will look in control at some point, but Iago Aspas will somehow score a last-minute equalizer and the game will end 2-2. Because it always does.