Celta Vigo 4-1 Barcelona: 5 Talking Points

Gerard Pique Celta Vigo 4-1 Barcelona
Gerard Pique did not have a good game as Barcelona conceded four times

Defending champions Barcelona finally lost their first game of the La Liga season when they were thrashed 4-1 by a confident Celta de Vigo side at the Balaidos. With this loss, Barcelona have now dropped to fifth in the league with the top spot being claimed by Real Madrid after their victory over Athletic Club Bilbao.Nothing went right for Barcelona in this game in which they were outplayed by Celta on all fronts. Former Barcelona striker Nolito opened the scoring with a curling stunner and then set up the former Liverpool and Sevilla man Iago Aspas twice to make the score 3-0. Neymar got one back late in the game but the hope was short lived as Guidetti immediately scored another to complete the humiliation.Here are the major talking points from the game.

#1 Things not working out for Gerard Pique

Gerard Pique Celta Vigo 4-1 Barcelona
Gerard Pique did not have a good game as Barcelona conceded four times

From being booed by his own countrymen to being banned for almost doing nothing to conceding four goals twice in the season already, things have not been going right for Gerard Pique. This was his first game after serving the four-match ban which he received during the Spanish Super Cup game against Athletic Club Bilbao.

Pique being arguably Barcelona’s best defender, this should have been a positive result considering the fine form of the team in the league. On the contrary, the Barcelona defence was completely annihilated by Celta de Vigo.

While the whole defence was at fault, Pique was especially poor. He gave away the ball too easily at times and one of these mistakes led to the second goal. He was lazy at times and without him being at his best, the defence just fell apart.

This is a reminder of the bad patch he was having early last season as well, when he had to benched by Luis Enrique for a couple of games. Maybe the trick will work this time too?

#2 Transfer ban finally starting to take its toll

Messi falls Celta Vigo
Can Barcelona pick themselves up before the January transfer window?

Prior to the last season, Barcelona were banned by FIFA from signing any players in the transfer window. Luckily, the ban didn’t turn out to be much of a problem last season as no player suffered any serious injury or illness. The season went smoothly and Barca won the treble.

But things have been different this season. With players like Xavi and Pedro having have left the club and others having been hit by injuries, the squad has been left without much depth. Having a smaller pool players to select from coupled with a very tight schedule of fixtures is posing a major threat to Barcelona’s title hopes.

Players looked fatigued and were not being able to perform to the best of the abilities in last night’s game. With the plea to register Arda Turan early having been rejected by FIFA, Barcelona has to figure out a way to deal with the ongoing crisis if they want to have a serious shot at the title.

Certainly the main focus has to be on dropping as few points as possible before January.

#3 Celta Vigo are a force to reckon with

Celta Vigo
Celta Vigo have already beaten both the Champions League and Europa League winners this season

Celta de Vigo have been a decent La Liga side over the years. This season, they are looking even better than before. Still unbeaten, they have four wins from five games and currently sit second on the table with Real Madrid leading them just on goal difference.

They have a pool of high-quality players like Nolito, Aspas and Alvarez who have the potential to give the big guns a run for their money. Celta played exceptionally well tonight and outplayed Barcelona in every possible way.

Flawless passing, defending and attacking against a team like Barcelona? It simply doesn’t get better. Even Luis Enrique said: “I'd rather lose to a team that plays like Celta did today, without any tricks, purely winning through their football. I congratulate them and hope they can carry on playing like that.”

Celta are looking a great side who might just have big things in store for them. Having already beaten Sevilla and Barcelona, they look like serious contenders for a top four finish.

#4 Jordi Alba\'s absence proves fatal

Jeremy Mathieu
Jeremy Mathieu (R) – not good enough for the left-back role?

Last night’s game once again showed that Jordi Alba is way more critical to the team than people think he is. This was one of the many occasions this season where the defence has been undone in his absence.

The team which had one of the best defensive records in Europe last season have already conceded four goals thrice this season, all in Alba’s absence. This stat just begins to describe how important the little Ferrari is to the team. He is undeniably one of the best full-backs in the world, both when it comes to attack and defence. And when such a player is missing from your team, you are in for some serious trouble.

Apart from being completely torn apart in defence, Barcelona were also lacking the attacking edge he provides on the left flank. While Jeremy Mathieu might be a decent choice at the centre-back position, he nowhere close to Barcelona’s standard when it comes to the left back position.

Luckily, Alba had only a minor neck problem and will be back for the game against Las Palmas this weekend.

#5 Barcelona still susceptible to counter attacks

Marc Andre ter Stegen
Marc-Andre ter Stegen was left stranded on two counter-attacks that led to goals

Barcelona play a high line and thus run a high risk of conceding on counter-attacks. Thanks to a tired and uncoordinated defence, this was exactly what happened. Barcelona were caught on the counter many times in the game and, given the way they were defending, some might just say that they were lucky to get away with conceding only four goals.

Losing the ball in critical areas coupled with bad defensive positioning is the perfect opportunity for the opponents to initiate a counter and Celta didn’t seem in the mood to miss one such opportunity. Scoring once on the counter, Celta created various other chances which, luckily for Barcelona, they failed to turn into finished products.

Celta might have just set an example for the team on how to beat this powerful Barcelona side which won everything last season.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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