Celtic In A Messi Situation in Spain

Image courtesy of thesun.co.uk
Barca talisman Lionel Messi has been in hot goalscoring form. Image courtesy of thesun.co.uk
Scottish giant Celtic has only won one of its past 21 away matches in the Champions League. It just so happens that its solitary victory came in Russia a couple of weeks back when the Bhoys snatched a 3-2 win over Spartak Moscow.

They’ll no doubt be buoyed by that result, but the Hoops face a monumental task to make it two in a row. There can be few bigger tasks in world football than travelling to the Nou Camp to face Barcelona . Barca is unbeaten in its last 17 Champions League home games recording 14 wins and three draws.

The Spanish heavyweights could be short-handed for the match with a quarter of stars set to sit out. Sergio Busquets will miss the game due to suspension, while skipper Carles Puyol, Dani Alves and Gerard Pique are injured. It hasn’t stopped the Catalan club up front, though, judging by their 5-4 win over Deportivo la Coruna at the weekend.

One man who will be there is Lionel Messi, who has netted 71 goals in this calendar year. It puts him just four behind Pele’s effort in 1959, but he still has a while to go before chasing down Gerd Muller who scored an amazing 85 times for Bayern Munich and West Germany in 1972. Messi has led the Champions League goalscoring table the past four seasons, and posted a double last time these teams met in 2008.

Celtic has won its past four matches in the Scottish Premier League, but Barca has been even more impressive, winning seven of eight in La Liga, only dropping points in the 2-2 draw with Real Madrid in early October, averaging almost three goals per game. In last year’s Champions League, they also averaged a tick under three per match, whereas Celtic has failed to score in five of its last nine matches . In the 2011-12 competition, Barcelona matches finished with more than 2.5 goals in 75 per cent of games . 

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