Messi comes to Valverde’s rescue again
Ernesto Valverde and Barcelona came into the match under pressure after going two games without a win and after some ugly performances against Levante and Slavia Prague.
They didn’t start off too well against Celta Vigo either until Lionel Messi decided enough was enough and popped up with the 34th La Liga hat-trick of his career.
The first came from the penalty spot as he calmly sent Ruben Blanco the wrong way, and the other two were both brilliant free-kicks that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
Messi now has eight goals from six La Liga starts this season and half of those have been from free-kicks. He’s also now second in the Pichichi list despite giving everyone else a bit of a head start by missing the start of the campaign.
The wins sends Barca back to the top of the table heading into the international break and will ease the pressure on Valverde for a couple of weeks at least.
Barcelona are running out of right-backs
Nelson Semedo was forced off after just 20 minutes or so against Celta, and initially there was a bit of confusion over whether he was injured or it was actually a tactical decision.
Barcelona later confirmed that he had picked up a calf problem and will now miss the next five weeks of action for the champions.
The international break will cover some of that but Semedo is also likely to sit out the games againts Leganes, Dortmund, Atletico, Real Mallorca, Inter Milan, Real Sociedad and possibly even Real Madrid.
To make matters worse Sergi Roberto picked up his fifth booking of the season and will be suspended for Barca’s next match against Leganes.
Over to you Moussa Wague.
Griezmann’s struggles continue
Antoine Griezmann was in from the start against Celta Vigo and finally stationed in a central role with Luis Suarez only fit enough for the bench.
Yet the France international still had little impact on the game, and one stat in particular stood out from the first half.
0 - Lionel Messi y Antoine Griezmann completed 0 passes between them in the first half against Celta de Vigo. Chopped.#LaLigaSantander #FCBarcelona pic.twitter.com/K1uMm2uFh5— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 9, 2019
The two did combine after the break with Messi teeing up Griezmann for a fine chance, but he smashed a good opportunity into the side-netting and was then hooked on 73 minutes.
Messi's heatmap left, Griezmann's right. I swear nobody has any idea what his actual role is in this team. pic.twitter.com/qcYlgLRpvZ— Robbie Dunne (@robbiejdunne) November 9, 2019
Valverde said he wasn’t worried about the Frenchman’s form after the match: “we’re always patient. With Griezmann and everyone else.” France boss Didier Deschamps said something similar in midweek after announced his latest squad.
Yet this was another night to forget for Griezmann, and he may find himself back on the bench when Barcelona return to La Liga action now Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele are fit again.