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Match Preview: FC Barcelona v Celta

Match Preview: FC Barcelona v Celta

Following their safe progression to the next round of the Copa del Rey, Barça's focus shifts back to LaLiga and a meeting with ninth-placed Celta

FC Barcelona kick off a busy December with a big match at the Camp Nou this Saturday (1pm CET, TICKETS HERE), as they take on Celta Vigo on Matchday 14 of the LaLiga season. Still 4 points clear of nearest rivals Valencia at the top of the table after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw last weekend, Ernesto Valverde's men will look to pick up all three points and continue their unbeaten start to the 2017/18 campaign.

The match will be a reunion of sorts with Celta coach Juan Carlos Unzué, a former Barcelona goalkeeper most recently at the club as Luis Enrique's assistant from 2014 until this past summer. His side have experienced a stuttering start to the season, but a 1-0 victory at home to Leganés last time out means they start the weekend in ninth place.

TEAM NEWS

Ernesto Valverde rested several regular starters for the 5-0 Copa del Rey win against Murcia, but brings Messi, Umtiti, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Luis Suárez, Jordi Alba, and André Gomes back into the fold. Gerard Piqué is available for league action once more after missing the Valencia game through suspension. Rafinha, Mascherano and Dembélé are all still  missing due to injury.

The full squad for the Matchday 14 fixture is: Ter Stegen, Cillessen, Piqué, Rakitic, Sergio, Denis, A.Iniesta, Suárez, Messi, Paulinho, Alcácer, J.Alba, Digne, André Gomes, S.Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Umtiti and Vermaelen.

FORM GUIDE

Barça (1st in LaLiga): W D W W D

Celta (9th in LaLiga): W W L W L

THE COACHES

In his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, Ernesto Valverde said of the Saturday game:  “With Unzué as coach, that means Celta have a very clear way of playing, they want to take the initiative in the game and they will want to do that at Camp Nou.”

Celta Vigo's Juan Carlos Unzué knows all about Barça, and spoke about what he expects from his return to the Camp Nou: “You can only beat Barça if you perform perfectly as a unit in terms of attitude.”

HISTORY

Recent encounters between Barça and Celta Vigo have been high scoring affairs: There have been 24 goals scored in the last four meetings. Back in March, an outstanding performance earned Barça a 5-0 win at the Camp Nou, in which Lionel Messi bagged a brace, Neymar and Ivan Rakitic found the net, and Samuel Umtiti scored his first goal for the club.

WORLDWIDE TV COVERAGE

No matter where you are in the world you can watch the game LIVE. You can also listen to live English commentary on Radio Barça (the link will appear on the home page shortly before kick off), as well as follow our minute-by-minute updates on FC Barcelona's official English language Twitter account. Don't miss it!

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