Barcelona have very little time to rest after last Satuday’s epic win over Real Betis and are right back in La Liga action for their penultimate home game of the season against Celta Vigo at Camp Nou.
Having clinched a place in next season’s Champions League at the weekend Barça will now focus on finishing second in the table, and need four points in the last three games to end up above Sevilla and Atlético Madrid in the race for the runner-up spot.
Celta have been very inconsistent all season but are a dangerous side that can cause problems for a Blaugrana team playing on a short turnaround with key players missing. Let’s see how Barça could line up on Tuesday.
Barça’s defense had a very hard time against Betis, and that shouldn’t be a surprise given how well Manuel Pellegrini’s attack had been all season. But it was still a concern to see the Blaugrana so vulnerable at the back, and they need to step up their level against a Celta side that can bring a lot of danger themselves.
With Gerard Piqué expected to miss this one due to a groin injury, it is unlikely that Xavi Hernández will make any changes to the backline: Dani Alves will be at right-back, Ronald Araujo will partner up with Eric García in the middle, and Saturday’s hero Jordi Alba will retain his place on the left.
Sergio Busquets will serve a suspension on Tuesday and will join the injured Pedri and Nico González on the list of unavailable midfielders for this one. A Barça B midfielder, possibly Jandro Orellana, will likely be called up to add an extra body in that area of the pitch, but the starting trio is set.
And it’s Riqui Puig time as the talented youngster will get a huge chance to prove that he deserves to be part of the plans next season, starting a game for the first time in several months against a good Celta side that will give him a strong test. Frenkie De Jong will start in Busquets’ position, and despite limping off the pitch on Saturday there is no indication that Gavi is injured and he is expected to be in the team for this one.
Xavi is enjoying perhaps the best run of depth for his attack at the moment, with five attacking players all deserving of minutes and only three starting spots to work with. Ansu Fati is back and looking as good as ever, but the Prince probably isn’t ready to start just yet.
Memphis Depay had another good showing against Betis and will be in contention for Tuesday, but the Dutchman could find himself back on the bench. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doesn’t spend too much time out of the starting XI, Ousmane Dembélé will keep his place and Ferran Torres rarely drops out, so it’s likely that Xavi goes back to his usual front three with Memphis and Ansu ready to wreak havoc off the bench.
Possible XI: Ter Stegen; Alves, Araujo, Eric, Alba; Gavi, F. De Jong, Puig; Dembélé, Aubameyang, Ferran (4-3-3)
How do YOU think Barcelona should line up against Celta? Let us know your thoughts, predictions and teams in the comments below!