November 3, 2012
Barca wait on Messi
Team Stat Comparison
|Goals for *||3.3||0.7|
|Goals against *||0.8||1.6|
|Last 5 home||W-W-W-W-W||W-L-D-W-L|
|Last 5 away||W-W-D-W-D||W-L-W-L-L|
|* Goals per match - home matches for home club and away matches for away club|
|Stats: Barcelona | Celta Vigo|
|3/16||H: Osasuna||3/15||A: Levante|
|3/23||A: Real Madrid||3/21||H: Malaga|
|3/26||H: Celta Vigo||3/26||A: Barcelona|
|3/29||A: Espanyol||3/29||H: Sevilla FC|
|4/6||H: Real Betis||4/6||A: Rayo Vallecano|
Barcelona are waiting to hear whether star forward Lionel Messi will be available for the Primera Division fixture at home to Celta Vigo.
The Argentina international missed training on Friday with reports in Spain saying he is attending the birth of his first child.
Coach Tito Vilanova refused to confirm the reports, but remains hopeful the player will be present at the Nou Camp.
"Leo had permission not to train today (Friday) and, in principle, will be in the squad for tomorrow,'' he told a press conference.
"The matter is personal and it's not my job to tell you what is happening. However, if all goes well, he will play.''
The Catalan club are looking to defend their unbeaten start to the season, a run which has seen them win nine of their opening 10 fixtures.
That record has only been matched by Atletico Madrid, with the two teams seven points clear of the chasing pack.
In addition to Messi's possible absence, coach Tito Vilanova is still without defensive pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, although both players are back in training following injury.
Defender Javier Mascherano will return to the side after sitting out last weekend's 5-0 thrashing of Rayo Vallecano through suspension.
The meeting with Celta will see Vilanova come up against the club he spent three years with as a player.
The Barca coach said: "I have fond memories of Vigo because they treated me very well.
"I would have liked to play more, but I gave everything I could at a professional level and I think people appreciated that.
"The current team tries to play football, is quick up front and has very clear ideas. They will try to steal the ball and make us do the chasing.''
Barca will be overwhelming favourites heading into the match, with their opponents lying 13th in the table following a 1-1 draw with Deportivo La Coruna last time out.
Despite the gulf between the two teams, Celta coach Paco Herrera has no plans to change his normal approach to the fixture.
"I want to play as we usually play,'' Barcelona-born Herrera told Esports COPE.
"We have to be on the attack and shore up in defence, but we should not go crazy. The key is to defend your position and evaluate it later.
"We know getting a result is probably 90 per cent against us, so what concerns me most is that we learn from this match.''
Herrera also voiced his admiration for Vilanova and his impressive run of results since taking over from Pep Guardiola at the start of the season.
"The thing that worried me most was how the media issue would affect Tito,'' he said.
"I know Vilanova as a person and I was worried that he could personally affect the whole coaching environment at such an important club as Barca.
"But instead Tito has passed the test with flying colours. He has been extraordinary in every way.''
Celta will be without defender Samuel and midfielder Natxo Insa through injury, while centre-back Gustavo Cabral is suspended.