Barcelona vs Celta Vigo
The reigning champions sign off for Christmas at the Nou Camp with top spot in La Liga all but guaranteed.
However, us fans expect them to maintain their three point advantage at the summit with victory in this one.
Indeed, one suspects coach Ernesto Valverde would be disappointed himself if the club’s lead over Sevilla and the Madrid clubs is any less going into the winter break.
Last time out the league leaders ran riot which simply cemented why they are title favourites with La Liga 2018 betting odds.
Unsurprisingly, the main man in their 5-0 victory over Levante was the diminutive Lionel Messi.
That game, in which he netted a hat-trick and set up two, took his tally for the season to 14 goals and 10 assists.
No wonder the Argentine magician is considered the man who produces the most La Liga 2018 highlights single-handedly.
At the other end, Barcelona have also been productive this week.
The signing, on loan, of Valencia centre back Jeison Murillo (announced now, although he is ineligible to play until January) will strengthen a squad weakened by an injury to Samuel Umtiti and which, uncharacteristically, has conceded 19 goals in its first 16 league games this season.
The rear guard will certainly have to be alert against opponents who have the third best attacking record this season in La Liga with 28 goals – albeit some 18 goals fewer than the Catalan club.
Iago Aspas is expected to lead Celta Vigo in winning against Barcelona
Although in ninth spot, Celta are only four points off sixth place which is a guaranteed European spot, while in 10-goal Iago Aspas they have a genuine danger man.
He and Maxi Gomez have scored 18 of Celta’s 28 league goals this term and those two will be key to the away side’s chances of success this weekend.
Their problem has been at the back though where they have conceded 24 – only Huesca, Rayo Vallecano and Levante have conceded more.
They struggled last time out too as they were held at home by Leganes which left the Galicians, who had dominated long spells of the game, particularly frustrated.
It extended Vigo’s unbeaten run to three matches but, during the same period, Barcelona have won three in a row, scoring 11 goals without conceding any.
All in the all, the stats suggest we could be in for a pre-Christmas cracker with goals galore.
When you look at the recent history you can see why Barcelona are overwhelming favourites.
In 11 of the last 20 meetings, Barca have come out on top, drawing five and losing four.
From the last 10 matches played at the Nou Camp, Celta have managed to win only once while Barcelona have been successful on seven occasions.
More still, Barca have scored 18 times in their last five homes games against Celta, averaging more than three goals a game.
The last two La Liga matches between Barcelona and Celta have actually finished level, including a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp last season.
On that occasion Messi and Luis Suarez were on target but their goals were cancelled out by Aspas and Gomez Gonzalez.
The rematch last April also finished 2-2 with Aspas rescuing a point for Vigo, albeit against a weakened Barcelona who rested players with the title all but won and the Copa del Rey Final just days later.
They twice fought back with Jonny Castro also scoring after Barca had twice been in front through Osumane Dembele and Paco Alcacer, now banging in the goals for Borussia Dortmund.
Celta have actually won three and drawn two of their last eight La Liga games with Barcelona.
But they were thumped two seasons ago, going down 5-0 in the Nou Camp.
||Barcelona vs Celta Vigo
||Total Goal 2-3 @ 3.05
|December 23, 01:30 (GMT+8)
Celta Vigo put up a spirited showing against Real Madrid last month but still lost and I expect them to lose this one too.
The odds naturally are weighted in the champion’s favour.
So much so, in fact, that 1X2 odds offer Barca @ 1.12 with Celta Vigo a gulf apart, rather than distant, @ 18.50.
The draw @ 8.25 even seems unlikely with these odds.
Asian Handicap odds are equally adamant that a home victory is the most likely result.
You can get odds of Barcelona -2.50 @ 1.81 and -2.75 @ 2.01.
In contrast, how about Vigo + 2.50 @ 2.13?
Even over 4.25 goals will only pay out @ 1.89 and total goal 4-6 @ 1.71.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:
| = €20 (Highly confident)
|| = €10 (CONFIDENT)
|| = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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