La Liga 2016/17: Celta Vigo 4-3 Barcelona - 5 Talking Points

RC Celta v FC Barcelona - La Liga : News Photo
Celta Vigo were surprise victors against Spanish giants Barcelona

After Real’s fourth consecutive draw in 4 games (including 3 draws in 3 La Liga games), Barcelona had the chance to go one point ahead of Real Madrid in the standings this week, away against Celta Vigo.

However, In a shock result, Celta Vigo managed to hold Barcelona down to three goals in the second half, in what was perhaps the most exciting game of the La Liga season so far, after taking a 3-0 lead to the dressing room at half-time.

Pione Sisto struck first for the hosts, placing a low shot into ter Stegen’s lower right-hand post. Iago Aspas doubled the advantage in the 31st minute from a counter attack, running at Pique and Busquets from the half court and finishing emphatically past the Barca custodian.

Two became three in a short while as miscommunication between Mathieu and ter Stegen caused the Frenchman to turn a sumptuous cross past the German into his own net.

The result leaves Barcelona 4th on the table, two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.

Here are 5 talking points from the game:


#1 ter Stegen’s bad form

RC Celta v FC Barcelona - La Liga : News Photo
ter Stegen had a night to forget

In one of the worst performances in a Barcelona shirt, ter Stegen gifted Celta Vigo the points this weekend with a number of errors. Throughout the game, the German custodian was clumsy in dealing with the ball and put his defence under pressure.

The first Celta goal came after a weak clearance by ter Stegen, which was miscontrolled by Busquets, whose dispossession started the sequence leading to the goal.

ter Stegen was directly culpable for conceding Barca’s fourth goal of the evening, as his attempted clearance from his own goalmouth ended up in his net in the 78th minute. Failing to notice the onrushing Pablo Hernandez, ter Stegen tried a lofted pass to his left-back that Hernandez blocked.

The ball ricocheted off Hernandez’s head onto ter Stegen’s far post and into the goal, in one of the most comical goals conceded.

#2 Iago Aspas’s impact

Iago Aspas vs Barcelona
Aspas was a threat to the Barcelona defence throughout the night

The Galician took this opportunity to kick-start his season, having failed to make much of an impact in Celta’s earlier games. As the leader of Celta’s attacking line, Aspas was effective against the Barca centre-back pairing of Mathieu and Pique, his touch and technique led them to drop off when they came up against him.

Aspas created Celta’s first with a neat through ball straight into Sisto’s path, before scoring their second with a wonderful left-footed piledriver that gave no chance to ter Stegen in the Barca goal. Aspas was also at hand to turn in Daniel Wass’ unerring cross, before Mathieu managed to bundle it into his own net.

Throughout the second half, Aspas’ presence provided Celta a valuable out-ball to play through and hold on to possession for longer periods of time.

#3 Barcelona’s squad rotation backfires

Barcelona vs Celta Vigo, Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique rested Iniesta, Rakitic and Mascherano

Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta and Javier Mascherano were all missing from Barca’s first-choice starting XI as Enrique started with the trio of Busquets, Gomes and Rafinha in midfield, while Messi was replaced by Arda Turan in the Barca attack. Mascherano’s loss of form meant that Mathieu would start his second game in succession.

The effect of the squad rotation was felt dearly by the visitors. None of the players in Barca’s midfield trio was able to draw out the Celta midfield players. The disciplined performance by the hosts’ midfielders also gave Barca no inroads to work the ball through.

After the halftime scoreline of 3-0, Rafinha was withdrawn for Iniesta, whose ability to play through packed areas gave Barca the cutting edge they had missed for in the entire first half, but the Blaugrana could not complete their comeback because of their own failings in other departments.

#4 Neymar and Suarez’s below par performance

RC Celta v FC Barcelona - La Liga : News Photo
Neymar scored one, but didn’t have his usual affect on the game

The Barca duo, both of whom have legitimate claims to be awarded the World Player of the Year award, were expected to shoulder the brunt of Barcelona’s attacking buildup following Messi’s injury, which will keep him out till the game against Manchester City on 19th October.

While both of them certainly turned up for the occasion in their trademark style, they found the going very tough against an organised and disciplined Celta backline in the first half.

Neymar and Suarez of them had their moments in the game, but sheer numbers and incessant marking gave them few clear-cut opportunities to let fly on goal.

Neymar was able to deliver a number of balls into the box and was even able to get on the scoresheet following a penalty earned by Gomes, but Suarez had nothing to show for yesterday.

#5 Gerard Pique’s rearguard action

Gerard Pique goal vs Celta Vigo
Pique scored another goal for Barcelona

As the leader of a backline that had failed its objective by conceding 3 goals in 11 first-half minutes, Pique made up for it by getting himself involved in attack.

The Spaniard was in imperious form, scoring 2 important goals to keep Barca’s chase going.

His first came off a header after goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez left his goal open and messed up a punch that was never to be. His second, also a header, paved the way for a grandstand finish, as the 7-goal thriller received its final push from the despairing Barcelona side that threw in the kitchen sink at the home side.

Pique stayed forward during the final minutes and played as an auxiliary striker, as Barcelona had almost exclusive access to possession in the middle third against the tiring Celta players.

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Edited by Staff Editor
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