Barcelona defeated Celta Vigo 1-0 on Sunday to retake the top spot in the LaLiga standings. It was their seventh straight victory. Gavi, who performed well, and Pedri, whose early goal was sufficient to secure the victory, were the difference-makers.
Barcelona’s 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo at Camp Nou to reclaim the top spot in LaLiga marked the beginning of a possibly season-defining stretch of six games in 17 days. Teenage midfielders Pedri and Gavi assisted Barcelona in winning the game.
The young midfield pair collaborated to score the game’s lone goal in the first half, despite Barca’s heavy reliance on senior striker Robert Lewandowski’s goals thus far this season. Gavi got past Celta’s offside trap, and when Unai Nunez only managed to save half of his dangerous cross, Pedri had the easy chore of putting the ball in the back of the net.
But more than simply the aim distinguished them from their teammates. 18-year-old Gavi, who was moving at a speed of 200 mph, was constantly making tackles and nearly turning in crosses at opposite ends of the field. The greatest cheer of the evening came from the home crowd when Pedri, 19, nutmegged Hugo Mallo while moving the ball forward and past three defenders before feeding Ferran Torres.
The challenge for the two young players is to perform against stronger competition, starting with a crucial Champions League match against Inter Milan on Wednesday and a trip to Real Madrid the following Sunday, a match in which Barca will enter as the league’s top team on goal differential thanks to Celta’s victory. Following are Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao, and Bayern Munich.
Iago Aspas enjoys taking against Barcelona in competition. In 16 games played against them while wearing the Celtic colors, he has 10 goals. Even better is his performance versus Marc-Andre ter Stegen: nine out of eleven games.
Then, you would have bet on him to silence Camp Nou and defeat Ter Stegen when the ball fell to him in the 84th minute. Instead, Ter Stegen became large and used his leg to turn the ball for a corner. The German goalkeeper, who has now kept seven clean sheets in eight LaLiga games, made yet another outstanding save.
If Celta had scored a last-second equalizer, Barca could not have protested. The second 45 minutes of a game of two halves were dominated by the opposition. The only things that kept Xavi Hernandez’s team from losing the three points were saves from Ter Stegen and last-ditch blocks from Marcos Alonso and Sergio Busquets.
Xavi is being forced to experiment because of Barca’s lengthy defensive injury list with the forthcoming games against Inter and Madrid in mind. As a result of the injuries to Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, and Hector Bellerin, he fielded a back four against Celta that featured three left-backs: Alonso, Alejandro Balde, and Jordi Alba.
Alba started in his normal position, although Alonso and Gerard Pique were used as temporary center backs, and Balde started at right back for the second straight league game. There will need to be speed to guard Vinicius Jr. versus Madrid, so that may be a hint as to who Xavi wants to field there.
Recent games versus Madrid have seen Araujo start at right-back, although the Uruguayan recently had surgery. Although Sergi Roberto is available, his recovery from an injury has only just begun. Therefore, the toughest challenge of left-back Balde’s short career could be presented to him at the Santiago Bernabeu the next weekend. Balde is 18 years old.