Celta Vigo vs. Barcelona: 3 things that will shape their showdown

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Barcelona travel to Balaidos this weekend looking to avenge the defeat that befell them at the hands of Celta Vigo earlier in the season.

It was the Galician's first win at Camp Nou in 38 years and well deserved it was too. Eduardo Berizzo's side came to play football rather than sit and defend for 90 minutes and the winning goal, when it arrived, was a finish of sheer beauty and class.

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Ex-Barca man Nolito's delightful back heel fell neatly into the path of the on rushing Joaquin Larrivey who finished with aplomb and silenced the home support. The loss of three points piled more early season pressure on ex-Celta boss Luis Enrique, but Lucho is unlikely to have lost too much sleep over it, especially as he now finds his Barca at the top of the pile and playing the best football in the division.

However, a professional performance is necessary to keep the four-point gap between the Catalans and the chasing pack.

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Let's take a look at three things that could shape the outcome of this one...

Missing Messi?

Lionel Messi's injury concerns whilst away with the Argentinian national team have been well documented. To that end, Barcelona would be foolish to risk their star man in this one.

Messi will, of course, want to play every minute possible but now, more than ever, Luis Enrique needs to stand firm and studiously manage the needs of his side.

An injury to Messi now could be fatal to Barca's chances of success both domestically and in Europe.

European push for Celta?

Celta sit halfway down the La Liga table in tenth, in amongst a group of five teams that are split by just five points. Whilst they remain nine points from Malaga in the last Europa League qualification spot, a win here sets them on the path to a final push up the table.

With 27 points still to play for at the conclusion of proceedings this weekend, seventh place remains a realistic and achievable target. Berizzo's mindset and game plan will author exactly how the hosts approach this one.

Current form

To put Celta's win at Camp Nou into perspective, that was their first victory against Barca, home or away, in 12 years. They've won four of their last eight, but that's a little misleading for the form guide.

Prior to their win against Cordoba on the last day of January, Celta had gone three full months without claiming three points. Coincidentally the win at Barca was the last time they had done so.

Presently, the Catalans have won 18 out of their last 19 in all competitions.

Lightning can't strike twice, can it?

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La Liga
Lionel Messi
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