The Catalans are getting ready for the first game of 2018 and there are some big changes in the squad.
Barcelona had an unbelievable start to the season and will look to continue the run in 2018. The Catalans will kick-start the year with a Copa Del Rey game against Celta Vigo.
Valverde’s men were handed a difficult draw against Celta Vigo in the Round of 16. The two teams played out a 2-2 draw in the league fixture back in early December. Celta is managed by ex-Barca Assistant manager Juan Carlos Unzué and Valverde knows the threat of Célticos.
‘We have a lot of respect for them because of the trouble they caused us at the Camp Nou in the league and they will be battling hard to qualify too.”
Dembele is Back:
But the Catalans have received a huge boost ahead of the game as the club’s record signing Ousmane Dembele returned to the Squad after 3 months on the sidelines due to injury.
“Recovering Ousmane is very positive for us. He was injured when he was adapting, he is an important player, we have him for this month of January.” Said the manager in the pre-match press conference.
The Spanish tactician has also rested some of Barcelona’s big names for the game, ahead of the hectic schedule in January. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Andres Iniesta have not traveled with the team to Vigo. Gerard Deulefou’s exclusion is another notable thing from the announced squad as the rumors around the winger’s departure keep getting stronger.
Samuel Umtiti and Paco Alcacer remain unavailable due to injuries and the manager has not selected Arda Turan and Rafinha despite being fit.
The Catalans are the 3-time defending champions of Copa Del Rey and have won record 29 titles in the competition.
⚽️ Celta v Barça
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 3, 2018
Expected Line-Up: 4-4-2
Cillessen, Lucas Digne, Pique, Vermaelen, Semedo, Denis Suarez, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Paulinho, Jose Arnaiz, Ousmane Dembele
Subs: Ter Stegan, Mascherano, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Andre Gomes, Aleix Vidal, Alena
Barcelona’s game is certainly a difficult one when compared to the fixtures of other big La Liga clubs. Celta Vigo plays the high pressing game and caught the Catalans on the break again and again in the 2-2 draw in the league. Dembele will have to play a crucial role in the absence of Messi and Suarez immediately after recovering from the injury.
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