News Matches
Winners & Losers

Pedri to the rescue for Barcelona! Winners, losers & ratings as injury-hit La Liga leaders seal narrow win over Celta Vigo

00:01 SAST 2022/10/10
Pedri-Barcelona-2022-23-Celta-Vigo
Barcelona moved back to the top of the La Liga table with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo at Camp Nou, thanks to a first half effort from Pedri.

Barcelona had teenagers Pedri and Gavi to thank after returning to the top of the table ahead of next weekend’s trip to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid.

Xavi had to prepare his squad for the contest while coping with a long list of injury absentees, including the likes of Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen, Ronald Araujo and Hector Bellerin.

Despite the loss of some key men, Barca took an early lead when Gavi teed up Pedri to open the scoring in the 17th minute.

Barcelona were dominant in the first 45 minutes and were good value for their half-time lead but Celta came roaring back after the break and had chances to equalise.

Strand Larsen did get the ball in the back of the net for the visitors but Barcelona escaped when it was ruled out for an offside in the build-up.

Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen then saved from Iago Aspas in the closing stages as Barca hung on to three vital points that will see them arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu on October 16 above Real Madrid in the table.

  • Pedri Gavi.2022-23

    Winners

    Pedri: The Barcelona teenager got his name on the scoresheet for just the second time this season with the opening goal. He made the run into the penalty area and was rewarded when the ball broke kindly to him, giving him a very simple finish.

    Barcelona have been reliant on Robert Lewandowski for goals this season and Pedri’s strike is exactly what Xavi will want from his midfielder this season.

    The 19-year-old has now scored eight goals in La Liga so far from just 16 shots on target.

    Gavi: The teenager was the absolute star of the show for Barcelona with a typically tenacious, hard-working and thoroughly effective performance. He drove the Catalans on and was a big reason why Xavi’s side took home all three points.

    The first goal came from Gavi’s drive and desire to make things happen. The teenager escaped down the left and put a ball into the box which was finished off by Pedri to give Barcelona the lead.

    Gavi followed that up with a brilliant piece of play that summed him up completely. The teenager chased back and put in a superb challenge to take the ball off Iago Aspas, seconds later he was connecting with a cross at the far post and was inches away from scoring. Absolutely Relentless.

    Barcelona left-backs: Xavi named not one, not two but three left-backs in his starting XI for the clash against Celta after seeing Araujo, Kounde, Christensen and Bellerin all ruled out through injury.

    Eric Garcia was left on the bench, perhaps with one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Inter, leaving Xavi to start young left-back Alejandro Balde on the right, with Jordi Alba on the opposite flank and Marcos Alonso in the middle alongside Pique.

    It was a patched-up defence and had a few shaky moments, especially in the second half, but ultimately did the job against Aspas and Co. The results also means that Barcelona have still only conceded once in La Liga so far this season.

  • Ferran Torres 2022-23

    Losers

    Ferran Torres: The Spain international was handed a rare start by Xavi but did little to suggest he should stay in the starting XI ahead of key games against Inter and Real Madrid.

    Torres is struggling for form and confidence and an early miss will have done little to help his cause. Another tame shot was comfortably saved by goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin.

    The January signing was replaced by Ansu Fati just after the hour mark and he will have to get used to life back on the bench.

    Raphinha: The Brazilian was back on the right flank for Barcelona after a tough time on the left against Inter in midweek in the Champions League.

    Raphinha certainly didn't lack for effort but is struggling to convince at Camp Nou right now. He tested Marchesín with an early shot from range but the goalkeeper was equal to it.

    The summer arrival was then left furious after being denied a penalty in the first half and was hooked for Ousmane Dembele on the hour.

    Iago Aspas: The Celta Vigo striker usually loves playing Barcelona and headed to Camp Nou with 10 goals in 15 games against the Catalan giants.

    The striker’s eyes may have lit up when he saw Xavi’s teamsheet too, with three left-backs in the back four, but the hosts coped with the threat of Aspas well.

    Aspas also spurned a glorious chance to equalise with 83 minutes on the clock. The striker only had Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat inside the penalty area but saw his effort saved by the German's right boot.

  • Gerard Pique 2022-23

    Barcelona Ratings: Defence

    Marc-Andre ter Stegen (7/10): Another clean sheet for the goalkeeper who has still only been beaten once this season. Made an important stop from Aspas late on to preserve the win for the hosts.

    Alejandro Balde (6/10): The teenage left-back was deployed on the right once again due to Barca’s injury problems and put in a solid shift. Replaced late on by Sergi Roberto.

    Gerard Pique (7/10): Started the season on the bench but Barca's injury crisis has allowed him back into the starting XI. Put in a solid showing and had a chance at the other end with a header that flew over.

    Marcos Alonso (6/10): The left-back partnered Gerard Pique at centre-back and did a good job up against Aspas. Brilliant block to deny Oscar in the second half.

    Jordi Alba (6/10): Back in the starting XI and put some quality deliveries in the Celta penalty early on but was guilty of some sloppy passing that put Barca in trouble after the break.

  • Pedri 2022-23

    Midfield

    Sergio Busquets (6/10): Had to drop really deep in the second half as Celta pressed hard for the equaliser. Could be seen urging his team-mates on as the visitors threatened a comeback.

    Gavi (8/10): An all-action showing from the teenager. Was absolutely everywhere and set up the first goal for Pedri.

    Pedri (8/10): Followed Gavi into the box and was on hand to net the winner with his second goal of the season. Won’t score many easier goals in his career.

  • Raphinha

    Attack

    Ferran Torres (4/10): Looks absolutely devoid of confidene and was whistled by some sections of the support. Missed a good early chance after a cross in from Alba and saw another tame effort saved.

    Robert Lewandowski (6/10): A rare quiet night for the Poland international. Didn’t have many sights of goal and failed to score for just the second time in La Liga.

    Raphinha (5/10): Was back on the right for Barcelona and looked a bit more comfortable but didn't create much and it was no surprise when he was replaced by Dembele.

  • Xavi 2022-23

    Subs & manager

    Ansu Fati (6/10): More minutes for the fit-again striker but couldn't add to Barca's lead.

    Frenkie de Jong (6/10): Returned after injury and gave Pedri a breather for the last half an hour.

    Ousmane Dembele (5/10): Given the last 30 minutes but couldn't conjure up another goal for Barca.

    Sergi Roberto (n/a): Came on in the closing stages for Alejandro Balde.

    Eric Garcia (n/a): A late sub for Jordi Alba.

    Xavi (7/10): The Barcelona manager said before the game he wanted his team to head into the Clasico on top of the table and that is exactly what his team will do after beating Celta. It wasn't the prettiest performance from Barca but the coach will be satisfied after seeing his injury-hit side take all three points and keep another clean sheet.