PONTEVEDRA, SPAIN – JUNE 27: (LR) Ansu Fati of FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona during  the La Liga Santander match between Celta de Vigo / FC Barcelona at Estadio de Balaidos on June 27, 2020 in Pontevedra, Spain (Photo by David S Bustamante / Soccrates / Getty Images)
He is considered Ronald Koeman’s first major test on the road for FC Barcelona, given that so far the new head coach has only managed his squad from the comfort of Estadi Johan Cruyff or Camp Nou
Thursday night in Spain, in their second competitive clash of the season, the Blaugrana will travel to the Estadio Municipal de Balaídos – where they are winless out of six – to take on Celta Vigo in La Liga
Barca’s last outing on the ground was of course at the end of June, where after being held to a final 2-2 draw by the hosts, the top-flight national title began to slip out of their reach and within reach of the eventual champions of Real Madrid
Still, Koeman refuses to hang on to the past, events that were beyond his control, and also remained coy about whether the Catalans will change their 4-2-3-1 for this one at his conference press release before the match yesterday
« For me, the important thing is that we have a system that everyone feels comfortable in and that there is competition for that system. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes it can’t. to be changed, » revealed the Dutchman « We have to take into account the opposition and see where it can hurt us. We don’t know if Celta will play with a 4-4-2 or a 5-3-2 So the most important thing is to make our system work and if we work little by little we will assume what we need «
Also insisting that rotations will not be necessary given that a two-week hiatus in the international fixtures calendar is on the way, the Blaugrana are expected to line up quite similar to their 4-0 beating from Villarreal Sunday, except for a major change
In goal, Neto therefore keeps his starting place given the knee-surgery-induced absence of Marc-André ter Stegen, who is expected to return later this month
Jordi Alba, impressive with an assist for Ansu Fati this weekend, starts at left-back, and is joined by Clement Lenglet, Gerard Pique and Sergi Roberto in defense
As for the double pivots, Frenkie de Jong should keep his place and welcome new recruit Mirlaem Pjanic to the fold in place of Sergio Busquets, who often gave the ball in his last performance
Fati cannot be abandoned from the left wing after his recent brace, and on the other side of central attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho is an Antoine Griezmann whom Koeman has sworn to be « very happy » with.
At the top, only fake 9 Lionel Messi will trade with Griezmann, and the coach insists he’s not embarrassed by the comments the Ballon d’Or holder recently made to the media
« There is never a quiet day, but it is always positive that the captain gives this message, and let’s see if we have a little more peace now, » the Dream Team legend joked.
Now based in Barcelona after six years in São Paulo, I have written at length on these topics through insights and analysis while also covering match reports for
Now based in Barcelona after six years in São Paulo, I have written at length on these topics through insights and analysis while also having covered match reports for tournaments such as the Copa America In addition to write for Forbes Sports, I edit Yellow & Green Football: a site about Brazilian football which is part of the Guardian Sport Network and partner of O Globo
Celta Vigo – Barcelona
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