Barcelona will play Celta in Matchday 32 of La Liga at the Estadio de Balaidos on Saturday. Barca have no choice but to add another three points if they are to continue to challenge leaders Real Madrid for the domestic league crown.

Celta Vigo currently sit 16th in La Liga with 33 points, seven points above relegation, having scored 29 goals and conceded 35 in their 31 matches so far. The team managed by former Barca and La Masia player Oscar Garcia have won their last two matches and scored seven goals in the process.

Following their 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao, and as explained in much more detail in our latest The Barcelona Podcast, it has become increasingly clear that many of Quique Setien’s key players would benefit from a much-needed rest – and the sooner, the better.

Here is my suggested XI for Barcelona’s away match against Celta Vigo:

As I explained in our latest The Barcelona Podcast, Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati have done more than enough to be trusted from the initial whistle. The hunger, energy, freshness and clarity of ideas that both La Masia graduates bring to the team is simply too impactful for Setien to ignore any longer.

Luis Suarez has played a whopping 175 minutes of football in Barcelona’s previous two outings, which is baffling after Setien admitted the Uruguayan forward would struggle to last a full game following his injury.

With that in mind, I would give Griezmann the nod as our central striker. Sure, the French World Cup winner is currently going through his worst goal-scoring drought since 2016 (seven matches without scoring in La Liga), but hopefully a return to being the main central attacking reference once again will help him bounce back to form.

In the absence of the banned Sergio Busquets, I would start Ivan Rakitic as a defensive midfielder. While it is obvious that the Croatia international is unfortunately past his peak, I do believe that his passing, positioning and experience make him the best possible option at the heart of midfield that Setien has at his disposal.

I am well aware that regular starters such as Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba, Arturo Vidal and even Leo Messi will need to be rested soon but, with Barcelona having only won 22 of a possible 45 points away from the Camp Nou, I am afraid they will have to wait a little longer.

Listen to The Barcelona Podcast for more specific discussion on the Arthur – Pjanic swap deal and Riqui Puig’s progress, right here:

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Returning from Vigo with the three points under their belt is crucial for Barcelona. Frankly, nothing but a victory will do, especially given the way in which Real Madrid seem to always find a way past their opponents since La Liga restarted – feel free to read between the lines here.

As a result, I predict a narrow 1-2 win for Barca against Celta in Balaidos on Saturday.

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