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The Galicians' changing fortunes, the after-effects of the Copa del Rey semi-finals and Valentine's Day plans are among the things fans will be discussing in the build-up to Sunday's Liga clash at the Camp Nou.
Celta’s dropped form…
Celta blitzed Barça at Balaídos earlier this season, so Luis Enrique has every right to feel concerned about meeting the Galicians again.
But that 4-1 win for Celta was part of their impressive eight-match unbeaten start to the season. Their current league form has changed dramatically for the worse. They’ve only won one of seven games since Christmas and have lost all three on the road, at Málaga, Rayo Vallecano and Las Palmas.
…and the reasons why?
Pundits are putting that lull in form down to the absence of so many key players in the Celta squad. So how serious is the problem? The main issues are Andreu Fontàs (Achilles tendon) and Nolito (hamstring), two players with Barça pasts that had fine starts to the season, but have not featured in 2016. And defensive midfielder Augusto Fernández is sorely missed since his departure to Atlético Madrid.
To make matters worse, Iago Aspas, Fabián Orellana, Sergi Gómez and Theo Bongonda are all suspended for this game. So it’s fair to say that, yes, manager Eduardo Berizzo does have a problem.
Beating Valencia 7-0 at the Camp Nou meant that Luis Enrique could afford to treat the Copa del Rey second leg at Mestalla like a friendly, giving run-outs to some of his less regular players.
Celta, meanwhile, did all they could to make up a four-goal deficit against Sevilla in their cup second leg this week. On a rain-soaked pitch they managed to pull two of those goals back, but eventually to no avail. At least in theory, they’ll be the more tired of the two teams going into Sunday’s match.
Luis Enrique connection
Not only do Celta have a number of former Barça players in their squad, but this was also the club from which manager Luis Enrique arrived in the summer of 2014. So comparisons are only natural, for the same man had a hand in the building of both teams.
The Asturian doesn’t see things that way though. “I didn’t start anything” he said on Saturday. “Celta have had this idea for a long time. They have always sought managers that fit their style of play.”
Valentine’s Day dilemma
February 14 is a day to spend with that special person in your life, but you don’t want to miss the match! And if your partner doesn’t share your love for football and Barça, this could be difficult.
What’s more important, football or your relationship? If you are undecided, then follow our advice. Go for that romantic meal, but make sure you’ve got your mobile charged. When he or she isn’t looking, you can get all the latest updates from the Camp Nou on our social networks. Problem solved!
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