Dembele and Messi's first half goals were enough to see Barça comfortably passed Celta Vigo, as Valverde's men sign off 2018 with four wins in their last four games.
Barcelona vs Celta Vigo - match report:
La Liga champions Barcelona ensured they will end the year sitting top of the table by strolling to a comfortable 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday, inspired by another superb display from Lionel Messi.
Messi played a pivotal role in Ousmane Dembele opening the scoring against the Galicians in the 10th minute, firing a shot at goal which Celta's Ruben Blanco could only parry at the feet of the French forward, who squeezed the rebound through the goalkeeper's legs.
The Argentine then scored a sixth goal in three La Liga games to stretch his side's advantage on the stroke of halftime, latching onto a pass from Jordi Alba and producing an irresistible finish beyond Blanco just as he entered the area.
Celta had conceded 18 goals in their previous four visits to the Nou Camp and although they fared better in defence this time, they struggled to cause Barca many problems, particularly after Spain international and top scorer Iago Aspas went off injured early in the second half.
Barca lead the standings on 37 points, three ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid and six clear of Sevilla who play against Leganes on Sunday. Real Madrid, who were crowned Club World Cup champions on Saturday by beating Al Ain 4-1, are eight points back from Barca in fourth place but with a game in hand.
Match report by Reuters
Barcelona vs Celta Vigo - as it happened
Barcelona vs Celta Vigo - preview:
Barcelona will be aiming to extend their lead at the top of the LaLiga table, as they host Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Saturday.
Ernesto Valverde’s side go into the game having won their last two league games 11-0 on aggregate (2-0 against Villareal, 4-0 against Espanyol, 5-0 against Levante), and will be confident of picking up three points to keep them ahead of Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, who sit three points behind them.
Lionel Messi has had a major impact since his return from injury, scoring a hat trick and setting up Barca’s other two goals in their previous encounter with Levante. The Argentine talisman is currently LaLiga’s top scorer with 14 and will be expecting to add to his tally this evening.
Lying fourth in the LaLiga top scorers leaderboard with 10 goals is Celta Vigos’s Iago Aspas. He and his strike partner Maximiliano Gómez González have 18 goals between them in LaLiga and will be hoping to break down a strong Barca defence that have not conceded a goal in Barca’s last three league games.
Celta travel to Barcelona on the back of a decent run of recent form. Unbeaten in the last three games, they are currently sitting just three points off the Europa League places in tenth place. Miguel Cardoso's men will be looking for a better showing than their last visit to the Camp Nou in January, which ended 5-0 to the hosts, but will have to be have at their best to leave with at least point against a rampant Barcelona side.