Barcelona 5-0 Celta Vigo: full-time report
With one eye on PSG and news of Luis Enrique's departure at the end of the season still not stale, Barcelona welcomed Celta Vigo to the Camp Nou with some memorable battles in the very recent past fresh in the memory. Based on all the previews and predictions, we were in for the same thing on Saturday night with plenty of goals, but from the start, it was clear that Barcelona were not to be trifled with.
Neymar was in flying form down the left from the start and had Hugo Mallo under pressure very early on. He probably should have had a penalty but was denied but Lionel Messi had Barcelona one up just minutes after Neymar was pulled down. The Brazilian made it two with the help of Messi just 15 minutes later when his deft chip left Sergio Alvarez watching the ball float over his head, helpless. It was how his side would feel by the end of the night too.
Upon the restart, Barcelona had regained control with Celta showing little or no signs of a comeback. Rakitic made it three with a finish from an offside position but despite this slup-up by the ref, it wouldn't have mattered. Four minutes later, Umtiti scored his first Barcelona goal and three minutes after, Messi had his second of the night and Barcelona's fifth. They had chances late on to make it six but could not convert while Celta tried hard to at least put a dent in the scoreline, to no avail.
Barcelona return to the top of the table for now. Luis Enrique might not have much more bad news to break but if this is how his side react to news of his departure, he should try doing so on a more regular basis. The most complete performance from Barcelona all year with Ter Stegen barely tested, the defense holding firm, the midfield pulling their weight and the attack chipping in with a dazzling display.
FT - Game over as Barcelona run out very comfortable winners.
Min 90 | Aspas works it into a reall good position again but he fires wide! So, so close.
Min 88 | Lionel Messi with a one-two with Suarez before he gets a cross into Denis Suarez. He can't beat Sergio though. Reall is inspired stuff by Barcelona.
Min 87 | That would have been something really, really special as Messi nutmegs a Celta defender before a number of neat passes ends up with the ball going out for a goal kick! It just needed the finish.
Min 85 | Messi and co. on the hunt for number six but it's just not falling for them.
Min 84 | A look at Bartomeu in the director's box. He might have Barça's new manager hunt on his mind or he might be considering pleading Luis Enrique to stay after this!
Min 81 | Nearly six again. Iniesta finds Messi and he finds Suarez but he can't get hit shot on target.
Min 79 | Maybe a little bit too kene. He drives it over the bar. The night just got more frustrating for him.
Min 78 | Aspas fouled by Pique in a dangerous position. He is lining it up himself. Frustrating night for him and he looks very keen to launch this one towards Ter Stegen.
Min 74 | Messi breaks free and tries to put Suarez in but he can't reach him. He was free there. So close to number six! Messi should have tried to go it alone there, you might have thought.
Min 70 | Celta Vigo running around desperately to grab a goal to take some of the sheen of the scoreline for Barça.
Celta Vigo substitution - Danies Wass is whipped off for Marcelo Diaz.
Barcelona substitution - Sergi Roberto is replaced by Andres Iniesta.
Barcelona substitution - Neymar is taken off to a rousing round of applause. Denis suarez is his replacement.
Min 65 | The game is wide open now and as Aspas breaks and finds Wass, the Dane fires wide. Reall good chance for a consolation.
GOAL! Actually, no wait, that sums up Celta Vigo's night as Messi cuts inside two Celta defenders and slots home.
Min 64 | And that sums up Celta Vigo's night as Iago Aspas slips just as he got himself into a lovely position and looked like he might score.
GOAL! Umtiti turns Messi's cross home. Game, set and match. Celta have been dismantled by an excellent Barcelona side. Even Luis Enrique can afford a big smile on the sideline.
Celta Vigo substitution - John Guidetti is replaced by Jozabed.
Barcelona substitution - Busquets goes and is replaced by Javier Mascherano.
GOAL! Ivan Rakitic slides under Sergio to make it three. Neymar and Messi heavily involved. Replays show he was two yards offside. It seems Gil Manzano will be involved in another controversy as Rakitic was about tow yards offside!
Min 54 | Sisto has made a difference but his teammates are all still second best. This time Wass coughs it up and the long ball to Neymar is whistled as the Brazilian is offside.
Min 52 | Aspas with a through ball for John Guidetti, who sets off with his head down, but he gives up when he realises Ter Stegen is off his line like a light.
Celta Vigo substitution - Theo Bongonda off and Pione Sisto is on! Celta make the first movee
Min 51 | Neymar on the left. He slips just as he is striking the ball and it goes well wide.
Min 51 | Pique up front now and nearly gets in but is denied.
Min 50 | Sergi Roberto through on goal and gets denied by Sergio but it nearly lands to Neymar. Corner!
Min 49 | Sergi Gomez comes out and upends Neymar. He gets a yellow too.
Min 47 | Aspas on the edge of the square, gets his cue with Guidetti wrong and passes it straight to Busquets.
Min 46 | Gil Manzano gets us underway for the second half.
HT! That was impressive by Barcelona. Celta have no response.
Min 44 | Bongonda tries to bring down a cross-field ball with his arm/chest. The ref decides it was more arm than chest and blows a free.
Min 42 | Bongonda swings in a cross but Guidetti can't reach it. All he had to do was get anything on that and the goal was wide open!
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! It was a miracle that Celta had not conceded more than one. They have just conceded two. Neymar with the finish as Messi puts him through. His chip as delicate as you like with Sergio left standing and looking at the ball floating over his head. World class!
Min 40 | Aspas wins a free and chips it towards Jonhny. Sergi Roberto looking to clear and he swings and misses! Luckily for him, he is in position to recover and he drops it back to Ter Stegen , who clears!
Min 38 | A rare sighting of Celta Vigo with the ball in the box. After it breaks down, Radoja is booked for a foul on Neymar.
Min 37 | Messi curls over. It wasn't even close but I guess he is allowed to not score a free-kick every now and again!
Min 35 | Cabral goes through the back of Suarez as he gets himself booked. This is definitely in Messi territory.
Min 33 | Messi to Rafinha, who does a little jig and loses his man before firing tamely into Sergio's gloves. All bark and no bite.
30 minute update - This score could be anything here the way Celta are defeding and how well Barça's front two are playing in Neymar and Suarez. Celta don't seem to have a set gameplan and are neither sitting deep or pressing high. Should be interesting to see if they can make it to half-time without conceding again.
Min 30 | Backs to the wall stuff now for Celta as Messi and Neymar run the show. Messi the latest with a shot that gets deflected out for a corner.
Min 28 | Alba and Hugo Mallo collide heads as the two hit the ground. Play halted.
Min 26 | Neymar is inspired tonight and Messi is not too far behind him! Rafinha gets a shot away at the end of a move involving the pair and it is deflected over the bar for a corner.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Messi with a trademark run before curling one past Sergio Alvarez. Really good finish by the Argentine as he extends his lead atop the Pichichi and Barcelona go back on top of the league!
Min 23 | Mallo, again under pressure, tackles Neymar in the box but the referee says play on and that he got the ball. Replays suggest he was wrong and that he got the man first. Neymar picks himself up slowly.
Min 22 | Neymar skips by Mallo yet again (Celta have a real problem in that position) before he lays it off to Messi and his cross to Suarez only makes it to Sergio.
Min 21 | From the resulting free, Umtiti fails to clear and Roncaglia hits it just wide of the post.. So close to an opener for Celta Vigo and he really should have scored.
Min 20 | Really early yellow for Sergio Busquets as he hauls down Theo Bongonda.
Min 19 | Absolutely world class by Suarez. He nutmegs a defender before striking the ball off the post. It rebounds to Messi and hits the exact same spot on the exact same post! It bounces of Sergio's back and goes out for a corner.
Min 18 | Messi puts Rakitic in but his shot is blocked and put out for a corner. Corner leads to a throw and the ball ends up back with Pique.
Min 16 | Cross by Mallo is too close to Ter Stegen, who gathers with ease.
15 minute update - All Barcelona so far. Celta Vigo have not set up to soak up possession but Barcelona have started with intent and Neymar, in particular, is looking very dangerous.
Min 15 | Neymar skips by two defenders and, from a tight angle, tries a chip that is off target. Reall good idea but poor execution. He knows it too.
Min 13 | Messi and Neymar throwing the ball around like they were at training before Messi has a shot. Sergio gets down to save but this could spell trouble if Celta Vigo don't close them down soon.
Min 11 | Neymar on the ball again looking to take on Mallo but he gets help and the ball is deflected out for another corner. All Barcelona so far.
Min 9 | Neymar with a quick free to Messi, who gives it back and takes it again. His through ball to Suarez is cut out. Messi looking lethal early on, as he always does.
Min 8 | Neymar skips by Mallo on the left hand side and causes panic with his cross into the box. It get sent back up into the air by Roncaglia and out for a corner.
Min 6 | Rafinha tries to push the ball through to Suarez and he does but puts too much on it. The Barça striker getting pushed over the end line by Roncaglia just after the ball.
Min 4 | Wass under pressure from two Barça players, manages to get it back to Cabral and his clearence is put out for a throw by Barcelona. Choppy start to this one with a lot of frees and throw-ins.
Min 2 | Neymar thinders down the left and tries to get a cross to a teammate. Cleared by Celta before Rakitic fouls Cabral.
Min 2 | Neymar and Mallo acquaint themselves early on as the latter catches the former with a hand in the face.
Min 1 | Luis Suarez wins a header and knocks it straight into the path of Messi but he is stopped in full flight as the ball is taken away from him.
Min 1 | Jesus Gil Manzano gets us underway at the Camp Nou!
Barcelona - Celta Vigo: team news
Barcelona - Celta Vigo: latest news
20:45 | Barcelona's Sporting Director has said that the new manager will need to know the club on the inside, which goes along with what was previously said about a former player getting the job. Ernesto Valverde?
20:43 | Jesus Gil Manzano is the man in the middle for today's game. I wonder will he leave the Camp Nou with a goodie bag tonight after the game!?
20:39 | The Camp Nou is looking fabulous tonight as the sprinklers get turned on for one last coat of water to make sure the surface is good and slick for kick-off.
20:33 | How will Celta cope with their firts choice centre-back pairing not available tonight? Sergi Gomez, former Barcelona academy player, steps in in place of Fontas.
20:30 | Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique are one yellow card from incurring a ban for one game with Deportivo La Coruña next up for the reigning LaLiga champions.
20:27 | Celta have drawn two and won one since their collapse against Atletico Madrid four games ago. Iago Aspas has scored in all three of those games.
20:22 | John Guidetti in the starting line-up also suggests that Celta will try to test out Barcelona in the physical stakes to start. Aspas tends to do really well when the big Swede is beside him. Wass and Bongonda have also been a revelation at time this season on either wing. Theo Bongonda keeping out Pione Sisto for much of the season.
20:19 | It is getting to the stage now that you have to wonder about Andres Iniesta's place in Luis Enrique's side for the rest of the season. The 32-year-old has played in just 12 LaLiga games this season. Hopefully it is not the end of the little magician.
20:17 | Barcelona, of course, can regain their status as league leaders with a win tonight after Real Madrid took their place with a win against Eibar earlier.
20:12 | Edinson Cavani landed a late winner for PSG today as Unai Emery rested some of his players for the Barcelona game. Cavani, in flying form, now has 37 goals in 36 games! Not bad at all.
20:04 | Eduardo Berizzo could be an outside candidate to take over from Luis Enrique. A good performance by Celta tonight could see his stock rise?! They do play an entertaining tyle and that's why I think it will be a high-scoring game with more than four goals.
19:56 | And so, we have the team news! Not too many surprises from either coach really. Rafinha retains his place alongside Busquets and Ivan Rakitic. Andres Iniesta remains sidelined while Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba play on the flanks!
19:26 | Barcelona have lost three of their last five games against Celta Vigo. They have conceded nine in their last three games against them and four on two occasions! This has goal-fest written all over it tonight.
19:22 | In the NFL combine, John Ross III just ran the quickest ever recorded 40-yard dash. I wonder could any Barça players give him a run for his money? I wouldn't rule Neymar out!
18:54 | Barcelona have had some time to swallow the news that Luis Enrique is leaving Barcelona. Ivan Rakitic says they were left open-mouthed when he broke the news to them after the Sporting Gijón game during the week.
18:36 | We have three contenders for the Pichichi award playing tonight at the Balaídos with Iago Aspas, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez vying for more goals!
17:30 | Check out this cheeky dummy from Javier Mascherano during training for tonight's game - highly innovative, to say the least...
16:25 | Things are underway at Ipurua, where Eibar host Real Madrid. Stay up to date with Robbie's mighty fine live feed.
16:01 | A look back at Luis Enrique's trophy-laden career at Barcelona. Impressive stuff.
15:33 | Pep Guardiola has had a whole library of books written about his successes as a coach. He knows that twill change if the tide turns and his critics are just waiting for him to lose. He says they don't write books about losers.
15:07 | Check out Salgado's stunner in 1998 that was enough to see Barça draw 2-2 with Celta Vigo. Great finish.
14:55 | Barça goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen has less than happy memories of today's visitors to the Ciudad Condal.
14:35 | Celta come into today's clash out to repeat their win over Barça in the sides' first league fixture this term - here's Eduardo Berizzo's squad.
14:30 | Former Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov reckons Jorge Sampaoli is the man to step into Luis Enrique's shoes...
13:20 | Today's game is Barça's first since Luis Enrique's announcement that he'll be leaving this summer - and the speculation over his successor is well and truly underway...
12:25 | Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has named his squad for today's game against Celta - here's the full the lowdown.
11:50 | If you're after some info on how and where to watch Barcelona - Celta Vigo, then you've come to the right place.
11:25 | Why not get yourself started with a read of our lovingly crafted preview, which is awaiting our esteemed readers below.
11:00 | Good morning! Stay tuned for all the build-up ahead of tonight's game!
Barcelona - Celta Vigo: preview
Barcelona host Celta Vigo at Camp Nou in the side’s first match since Luis Enrique announced that he will step down as coach at the end of the season. In their last outing Barcelona thrashed Sporting Gijón 6-1 and will have half an eye on becoming the first side to overturn a 4-0 deficit in the Champions League when they play PSG next week. Celta beat Barça in the reverse fixture in Balaídos earlier in the season and will fancy their chances of giving Luis Enrique’s side a challenging game.
Luis Enrique may be in his final season now at Camp Nou after the strains of the past two and half years finally took their toll but that does not mean he will have lost the stomach for the fight on three fronts and he will be keen to leave with further silverware on his CV after winning eight of the 10 trophies he has contested at Barcelona during that period. Beating Celta will keep his side one point clear at the top of La Liga but the Barça boss will doubtless be equally concerned about the visit of PSG and may make changes with that in mind.
Barça were not wholly convincing in victory against Leganés and Atlético and the scoreline against Sporting was aided by several defensive lapses on the part of the visitors. Enrique has the bonus on Saturday of having almost a fully squad to choose from, with only long-term absentee Aleix Vidal and Jérémy Mathieu on the injury list.
AS player to watch: Leo Messi
The Argentinean remains key to Barça’s trophy hopes and has salvaged valuable points for his side in recent weeks as his goalscoring form continues apace.
Celta have been held to a draw in their last two Liga outings and last tasted victory against Osasuna, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table. The visitors will be hoping that Barça are distracted by next week’s uphill battle against the French champions to carve out a result in Camp Nou and will be buoyed their 4-3 success earlier in the season at Balaídos.
Eduardo Berizzo’s side have been in good form at home but on the road Celta have struggled this season with just two wins and four draws from 12 away games, leaving them in 10th and seven points adrift of the European places.
Berizzo is without the injured Nemanja Radoja and Pablo Hernández while Andreu Fontás is suspended after being sent off against Espanyol.
AS player to watch: Iago Aspas
The Celta forward is in sparkling form and has scored in his last two Liga outings and was on target in the 4-3 victory in Balaídos.
Barcelona - Celta Vigo: potential line-ups
Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen, Roberto, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Messi, L. Suárez, Neymar
Celta Vigo XI: Álvarez, Mallo, Cabral, Roncaglia, Jonny, Wass, Radoja, Jozabed, Aspas, Guidetti, Bongonda