Friday, 29 July 2016

Barcelona vs Celtic International Champions Cup Match Preview And Prediction - July 31, 2016

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Barcelona aren’t taking the International Champions Cup lightly this year, and it’s showed in their very strong squad selection. Both Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi have been included in the squad, and the only major absentees are those who were involved in the latter stages of Euro 2016 and those away on international duty at the Olympics. Neymar and Rafinha are both competing at the Olympics, whilst Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets are also absent.

However, their squad is still a star studded array of talent, and as such they are massive favourites for this tie. This will be the first of their pre-season friendlies, and matches against Leicester and Liverpool will follow in the coming week or so.

If Barcelona can continue their end of season form into the new season Celtic are unlikely to stand a chance. They have won six games on the bounce in all competitions, scoring a huge 26 goals and conceding none on their way to winning both La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

Celtic have named a pretty strong squad as well, which is somewhat surprising given that their competitive season has already started. They have already played three matches in Champions League qualifying and will be hosting Astana in a crucial second leg tie on Wednesday before the beginning of the Scottish Premiership season next weekend.

It’s been a rather hit and miss start to life at Celtic for Brendan Rodgers. They humiliatingly lost the first leg of their Champions League tie against part timers Lincoln Red Imps, but fortunately for them managed to come back from defeat at Celtic Park. They then lost on penalties to Leicester in their first International Champions Cup match, following that with a lucky 1-1 draw at Astana in the Champions League 3rd Qualifying Round.

With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez involved we can be almost certain of goals, but Barcelona’s second string defence and lack of match practice should give Celtic a chance to get on the scoresheet. Barcelona are without Jeremy Mathieu, Javier Mascherano, Jordi Alba, and Pique for this tournament and are beginning life without Dani Alves at right back.

Celtic have scored in 14 of their last 16 matches too, so them getting on the scoresheet is a good shout. I can’t see them limiting Barcelona to a single goal though, so I’m backing Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams to Score at 7/5 alongside a 3-1 win for Barcelona at 10/1 for my correct score prediction.

Barcelona have won five, drawn one, and lost one of their last seven meetings with Celtic.

Celtic have scored in 88% of their last 16 matches, and 76% of Barcelona's last 21 matches have seen at least three goals scored.

Defender Jeremy Mathieu is out injured, whilst Neymar and Rafinha are both away at the Olympics. A lot of the big guns are there though, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez expected to play. Notable absentees are Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, and Sergio Busquets, who are all on extended leave following Euro 2016.

Goalkeeper Logan Bailly, defenders Jozo Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata, and Erik Sviatchenko, and midfielders Kristoffer Ajer and Stefan Johansen are all expected to miss out through injury.

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