When The Celts Come Marching In

After a 5 year stint in La Liga Adelante, Celta de Vigo is back in La Liga Primera and eager to make a statement.  They return to Camp Nou tonight (early game starting at 6pm CET), and are keen to take at least a point home with them.

At least, that’s what Javi Varas says.

Remember Javi?  He played Goalkeeper for Sevilla last season – in that scoreless game at Camp Nou where he had a blinder of a match; denied Barça chances from all angles including a Messi penalty; stopped 7 shots on goal, and earned the admiration of Pep, who said, “you have to praise Javi for his performance  – you’ve seen tonight that keepers also play!”

Javi was later interviewed on Barça TV’s “Barça ADN” (Barça DNA) program, where he commented that although the game was his biggest in terms of media coverage, his best game (in his memory) was winning the Copa del Rey, when Sevilla played Atlético de Madrid in the 2010 Final at Camp Nou.

Celta and Barça have a few ties in players both past and present, as well as in their coaches.
~ Tito played for Celta between 1992 and 1995.
~ Mazinho – Thiago and Rafinha’s old man – played for Celta between 1996 and 2000.
~ After leaving Betis, Pinto joined Celta for 10 years between 1998 and 2008, and was team captain.  In the 2005/06 season, Pinto won the Zamora Trophy after letting in only 29 goals in 37 games for a ratio of 0.78.
~ Vigo’s Manager, Paco Herrera (Barcelona-born), was Sports Director of Club Deportivo Badajoz when, in 1995, he signed Tito Vilanova (away from Celta) to play for the Second Division team.
~ Current Celta player, Toni, played for Barcelona Youth Teams between 2002 and 2005.

Celta de Vigo has the distinction of having 2 of the longest sponsorship deals in Spanish Football history.  Citroën (Galicia’s biggest employer) has been the official shirt sponsor since 1985.  Umbro (also local) supplied the kit for 24 years from 1986 – 2010 until the deal was terminated when Li Ning came onboard as the kit manufacturer.

Celta’s away record this season is not good – 4 losses from 4 games with 3 goals scored and 8 against.  Overall they have played 9 games: won 3, drawn 1 and lost 5 to sit mid-table in 13th place.

In recent games over the past week, Celta has experienced some difficult times.  The Galician Derby match against Deportivo de La Coruña last weekend was a torrid affair which ended in a 1-1 draw.  The card-happy referee was keen to flash his red and yellow, and Celta’s Cabral received 2 Yellows in 3 minutes and was red carded from the pitch in the 50th minute.  He misses tonight’s game.

In the mid-week CdR match, Celta lost to Almeria 0-2, and CB Samuel was injured in that game and is expected to miss several weeks with meniscus damage to a knee.  Mid-fielder, Natxo Insa, is also injured and will be missing from tonight’s line-up.

With key defenders Samuel, Cabral and Natxo missing, Celta will be a bit shy of defensive players but don’t expect them to lie down because of it.

The team consists of more than a few home-grown players, and a mix of Internationals.  Notable Spanish players include a couple of youth players – Jonathan Castro Otto (playing in the Spanish U19 squad) and Hugo Mallo (playing in the U21 squad).

Internationals include Danish winger Michael Krohn-Dehli, Gabonese Lévy Clément Madinda, Argentine Augusto Fernández and Venezuelan Andrés José Túñez Arceo.  Krohn-Dehli, Madinda and Augusto have all been called up for International Duty in the next friendlies to be played mid-November.

Perhaps the most well-known of their international stars is Park Chu-Young.  After Germany’s Lukas Podolski signed to Arsenal at the beginning of the season and took the #9 shirt from Park’s back, the South Korean player was loaned to Celta.  He’s most likely ruing that day in August 2011 when he disappeared from his French hotel room, mid-way through completing medicals for French club Lille, to jump the English Channel and sign for Arsenal.  Look where it got you, Park.

With South Korean film crews following his every move, Park scored soon after being subbed in for his debut game earlier this season.  The South Korean woman reporter cried.  Since then, he’s been unable to find the net, but playing against Barça does tend to bring out the best (and worst?) in players.

 

What of Barça?

Messi will be presenting his Golden Shoe Trophy and Xavi will be showing off his Prince of Asturias Award that he co-shares with Iker Casillas.  Xavi is also donating the €25,000 that he got for the Award to a children’s charity in Terrassa.  What a guy.

Tonight, there’s a new daddy in the ranks.  Messi will be very keen to score and dedicate a goal to #1 son, Thiago Messi, who will be about 24h hours old when his Papa takes to the pitch.

I expect that Vilanova will put out a strong line-up which will include Pinto in goal, for nostalgia’s sake.  ;.)

The team will be looking for a win to make this the best-ever start to a season for the club.

Game starts in about an hour – click here for the time in your part of the world:  FC Barcelona vs. Celta de Vigo

Streams for the match are usually found here, here and here

Força Barça!

 

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130 Comments

  1. nzm
    November 3, 2012

    Line-up announced:
    Valdes
    Adriano Busquets Mascherano Alba
    Xavi Cesc Iniesta
    Pedro Messi Villa

    Subs:
    Pinto Alves Montoya Bartra Song Alexis Tello

    No Dos Santos tonight.

    • yassir (Formerly Extreme barca fan)
      November 3, 2012

      That is one very offensive line-up, wonder if Tito wants to score early goals and then give some of the guys a rest!!!, perhaps he is thinking of the midweek game!!!

    • barca96
      November 3, 2012

      We need Busi in midfield. And wow. The awkward moment when Adriano kicked both Montoya and Alves out of their RB spot. And he has hardly even played there for us.

      “They never said ” =p

    • nzm
      November 3, 2012

      Adriano played RB (either last season or the one before? Can’t remember for sure) and did really well for us there when Dani was injured and out for a spell.

      But it does make a statement!

      Adriano has been playing very well recently (and without injury) so his performance is being rewarded.

      It will be interesting to see how Cesc handles the true midfield position between Xavi and Ini.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      Love this lineup. Absolute attacking intent.

  2. barca96
    November 3, 2012

    So you’re from New York Isaiah? It’s nice of
    you to volunteer. I can’t imagine how tough
    it is especially when the waters are close to
    freezing.

  3. mom4
    November 3, 2012

    On the way to the Irish pub to watch it on a real TV not a stream for once.
    Enjoy the game, y’all!

    @nzm FBd you.

    • nzm
      November 3, 2012

      FB’d you back!

  4. replayed
    November 3, 2012

    Villa, the complete player!

  5. pr17
    November 3, 2012

    would have liked to see monty instead of adriano.

  6. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    with Alba and Busquets attacking, only two defenders…

  7. Blau-Grenade
    November 3, 2012

    Its very interesting. Barca is playing with a

    3 man back line of Jordi sMash and Adriano.
    2 man midfield Xavi and Busi playing
    Front line of Iniesta Fab and Messi and Pedro and Villa playing the next line

    The lineup is almost like a 3 2 5 with a couple of people from the front line dropping back when defending.

    Just wow.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      Love what David Villa is doing so far in this game, and that is dropping back to defend and make space while still playing the attacker role.

  8. replayed
    November 3, 2012

    Lovely, flowing attack today. Me like.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      Wow, what beautiful flowing attacks. And Valdes makes the save of a life time in a one on one situation.

    • replayed
      November 3, 2012

      Yeah, I think Mascherano got sucked in again and had to be rescued by Valdes.

  9. replayed
    November 3, 2012

    So, so pretty. Well done, Adriano.

  10. Blau-Grenade
    November 3, 2012

    This was bound to happen. The goal was coming for the last 20 minutes. It was fair that Adriano was rewarded with it.

  11. Blau-Grenade
    November 3, 2012

    Game on.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      Villa!!!! Love villa in this match. Perfect game till now. Iniesta Magic.

  12. nia
    November 3, 2012

    That three man backline comes back to bite us 🙁

    • alpinegroove
      November 3, 2012

      Three in the back, and one of them scores…

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      Both Adriano and Alba were up front for that one. It was more like a 1 man back line. Lol. I’m not worried about it though. I can see Barca banging in about 10 goals in this match the way it is going.

  13. replayed
    November 3, 2012

    Ah, the ever adventurous back line. Adriano giveth, Adriano taketh away.

  14. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    This is and is going to be really fun to watch…

  15. nia
    November 3, 2012

    gooooaaaallll!!! Villa

  16. replayed
    November 3, 2012

    Even prettier!

  17. replayed
    November 3, 2012

    If Villa’s name isn’t automatic in the lineup after today, I’m gonna cut a bitch.

  18. pr17
    November 3, 2012

    anarchic lineup but i am loving it. wouldnt mind a 5-4 if we win it.

  19. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    It looks like Busquets in a defender now. Cesc is less advanced.

  20. pr17
    November 3, 2012

    is that a defensive diamond. innovative formation

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      From what I see its a 3 2 5 formation.

      Alba sMash Adriano
      Xavi Busi
      Villa Cesc Iniesta Messi Pedro

      with Cesc and Iniesta dropping back to defend and build up play.
      Villa Messi and Pedro are also dropping back to build up play.

  21. Blau-Grenade
    November 3, 2012

    Brilliant by Busi! Beat 3 forwards to pass Xavi. Xavi did another beauty, and Iniesta completed the beauty of the move to bring the ball forward.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      Minute 20:00

  22. pr17
    November 3, 2012

    the best thing about the match is no of players who are moving when midfield has the ball. pedro, villa, messi and cesc. last year so often it was only messi.

  23. yana
    November 3, 2012

    Pretty, pretty, pretty.

    According to Euler, we are playing a 2-3-5. O.o

    Okay now, (new) papa needs a gol!

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      After the counter where celta got the goal Busi is staying back. It has gone to the traditional formation of

      4 3 3

      Alba and Adriano are bombing forward.

      so yes in essence

      during attack a formation of 2 3 5
      in defence 4 3 3.

    • G6O
      November 3, 2012

      I have been trying to figure out the formation the whole half and I couldn’t make any sense of it.

      2-3-5 looks about right indeed.

      That said, the “you score as much as you can, we score as much as we want” approach has a certain dramatic appeal to it, but I would rather have a solid defense and firm control over the game because it is not going to work against the top teams

  24. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Masch gets out of position too often.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      Masch has been a rock in the defense for me. He is playing a very defensively complicated game, with his wingbacks bombing forward, with only Busi to support him. He has had an outstanding game so far.

  25. pr17
    November 3, 2012

    messi should have had a hat trick

    • alpinegroove
      November 3, 2012

      He was probably up all night.

    • G6O
      November 3, 2012

      And he probably consumed more alcohol than a professional footballer is supposed to within 24 hours of a game

  26. nia
    November 3, 2012

    Adriano looks broken, Dani to come on?

  27. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Adriano limping.

  28. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Bartra warming up.

  29. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Puyul and Pique looking at the defensive formation and trying to figure out what the hell that is.

  30. Blau-Grenade
    November 3, 2012

    Wow Alba Villa and Messi tracking back to retrieve the ball. Love this team.

  31. yana
    November 3, 2012

    I love when we’re in “gang of pickpockets” mode.

  32. pr17
    November 3, 2012

    for all of alexis’s hard work he never wins ball back much. villa’s defensive positioning is wholehearted. love the guy.

    • November 3, 2012

      What? This criticism of Alexis is completely out of hand. He’s an outstanding defensive player.

    • nzm
      November 3, 2012

      You might want to recant on that after Alexis’ amazing recovery just after he came on.

      That’s something that he does every game.

  33. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Villa just sprinted like 60m to track back.
    He is looking great!
    Cesc is also having a great match.

    • Blau-Grenade
      November 3, 2012

      That was a beautiful sight to see. Almost brought a tear in my eyes.

  34. olbucky
    November 3, 2012

    anyone have the bein link with Phil and Ray if it’s available?

  35. Jim
    November 3, 2012

    Nice when a team tries to have a go at us. Definitely worth it at the moment.

  36. Blau-Grenade
    November 3, 2012

    Yay, Bartra coming on!!! Ouch Fab going out.

  37. November 3, 2012

    Barca started the match in a 3-1-3-3 formation. Celta was defending in a relatively unorthodox 4-5-1. They arranged their block in 4 bands – essentially a 4-3-2-1 – likely to mark Busi/Xavi deep while creating a box around Messi.

    Usually what a 4-5-1- block does is allow the defense to defend wide well in midfield. In the 4-3-2-1 bock Celta was conceding space where the Attacking FBs would be in a 4-3-3.

    So Tito changed shapes to take advantage of this open space wide. He went to a 2-3-5 / 2-5-3 with Alba and Adriano as wing backs.

    Adriano was consistently the player w/ the most space/time on the ball. Interestingly Pedro sacrificed his own game often to provide tactical width so that Adriano would have a channel to run into. That’s how Adriano scored (and part of why Pedro didn’t).

    On the other flank Alba would often make forward runs to the outside. This provided Villa with enhanced freedom to drift in centrally.

    Really like this tactical change from Tito. It’s a risk at the back but the trade off is worth it. It prevents Celta from controlling space defensvely despite defending in numbers.

  38. Jim
    November 3, 2012

    Messi is exhausted. That can lead to injuries. We need to get him off now IMO. Mind you, I’m not volunteering to tell him.

  39. nia
    November 3, 2012

    goal. Alba!!!

  40. nia
    November 3, 2012

    That was waaay offside, if i have to teell the truth

  41. Jim
    November 3, 2012

    Offside but great play again from Villa.

  42. Ryan
    November 3, 2012

    Villa’s back heel passes are on point today!

    • replayed
      November 3, 2012

      David Villa’s entire game is on point today.

      I want Messi to score just so we can get the Thiago dedication out of the way. Then maybe Tito will have a prayer of getting him off to bed. Maybe.

  43. yana
    November 3, 2012

    The left with Alba, Iniesta, Villa, is so, so nice.

    (And that goal was so, so offside!)

    • replayed
      November 3, 2012

      “The left with Alba, Iniesta, Villa, is so, so nice.”

      QFT.

    • G6O
      November 3, 2012

      BTW, that was exactly the same play as the Alba goal for Spain against Belarus, only it was Pedro with the backheel there. And that one was two meters offside too.

  44. nia
    November 3, 2012

    Celta are determined not to let Leo score today. Thay are swarming him everytime he gets the ball.

  45. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Villa is making center runs. Messi is too tires to kick him out…

    • replayed
      November 3, 2012

      Hee, Villa is totally poaching in Messi’s turf today.

    • alpinegroove
      November 3, 2012

      He is making good runs.

  46. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Alexis about to come out. How about Messi Villa Alexis?

  47. alpinegroove
    November 3, 2012

    Another great match for Alba.

    • replayed
      November 3, 2012

      Second only to MaraVilla as my MOTM.

  48. Jim
    November 3, 2012

    Oh, Tito. That was your chance. I don’t even think Messi would have argued.

  49. yana
    November 3, 2012

    If there was ever a match to sub out Messi instead of Villa… the kid looks dead tired (aka “new father”).

    • Ryan
      November 3, 2012

      He did rest Messi for an entire Copa match, to be fair!

    • yana
      November 3, 2012

      Yes, but that was before his son’s birth, not barely 24 hours later.

      …ugh, exhaustion leads to injury…

  50. nia
    November 3, 2012

    The ref could have jumped out of the way there.

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