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Dec 11, 2013

When Group H schedule was first announced, I was dead sure that this match would be nothing more than a practice game for Barca and crunch game for Celtic. How wrong I was? Tonight when we host Celtic at the Camp Nou, Celtic got nothing to lose, they are already out of the Group and their away supporters are banned from attending this match. But FCBarcelona's situation is a bit different. We have already qualified for the Group stage but the defeat against Ajax in Netherlands means we need to secure at least a point from this match to top the Group. If we lose and then Milan win against Ajax then we will be dropping to second position; in contrast an Ajax win should not affect our standing unless they over come the goal difference. A lot of people disagreed when I called out Group as the Group of Death (Barca drawn in to Group of Death) along with Group F. Now it looks like it was, even though it can't rival the drama of Group F.

Even though this a crunch match, we have a some notable absentees in the squad. Most of them are missing due to injury and the list includes aldés, Dos Santos, Messi and Afellay; Cesc Fabregas meanwhile will also be missing after being banned for this match. Xavi and Iniesta are both back from their injury; atleast one of them is expected to start. The whole squad list announced by Martino is Pinto, Olazábal, Montoya, Piqué, Puyol, Xavi, Pedro, Iniesta, Alexis, Neymar Jr, Mascherano, Bartra, Sergio, A. Song, Jordi Alba, Tello, Adriano, Sergi Roberto, Adama and Dongou.

With both Cesc and Messi absent it is interesting to see how Barca line up in the front. One option which has been discussed a lot is to have Neymar as center forward. But that will take him from the wings where he has been rather good this season. So my call will be to have Sanchez as Center Forward with Neymar and Pedro in his either flanks. Considering that we will be facing Villareal this week in League, I do think that Xavi may not start this match. That means we should see a midfield of Busquets, Iniesta and Sergi Roberto. The defense has been the biggest talking point and there is no denial that Pique needs some rest. I would see this match as the best one to give him some rest. My choice of defense will be Adriano, Mascherano, Bartra and Montoya.

Celtic may be out of the Champions League, but I am not sure how that's gonna play. It could go either way - they could be extremely motivated to get something out and trouble us or they could be demoralised and simply just turn up. The latter has a higher chance especially with no support in the stadium. But none of this matter to our boys, we have a job to do and have to try to win this and top the Group. With the last setback against Ajax, they should be motivated to grab this match by the neck and finish off early.

All About FC Barcelona is a Blog dedicated to the Most prestigous Club in the world, FC Barcelona by an ardent fan. Here I discuss about the Latest happening surrounding our Club and present my Views about the same.

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