Here are the five key battles to keep an eye on throughout the game.
Emilio Izaguirre v Lionel Messi
It is almost impossible to man mark Messi so Izaguirre has to be on top form in terms of the defensive positions he gets himself into. He cannot leave himself a lot of work to do if Messi looks for a ball slipped in behind the Celtic defence. He has to try and read the ball as opposed to the player in order to stop the Argentine striker. If he can stay on the right side of Messi throughout, he will give himself the best chance defensively.
Kelvin Wilson v David Villa
Villa will play at the top of the Barcelona attack because Messi often goes into the midfield looking for the ball and to link up the play. Wilson has a big job to do in terms of keeping the Celtic defence from dropping too deep. Villa is very good at pushing an opposition defence back which creates space between the midfield and the defence for the influential Barcelona players to do whatever they like with the ball.
Scott Brown v Xavi
If Celtic are going to have any chance of stealing an unlikely win in this game, they need to stop Xavi getting on the ball. Brown has to be careful because his role will be pressing and harassing the Spanish midfielder. Xavi has very quick feet and speed and will be looking to draw the foul. Xavi is a clever player and will know that if Brown is booked early on, he cannot be as aggressive trying to win back the ball when Barcelona are in possession.
Joe Ledley v Pedro
Barcelona will not be too concerned about trying to keep track of Ledley in terms of defence. They are much more likely to put one of the best wide players down the same wing and let the Welshman worry about their player. If Pedro can have a lot of success down the left side of the Celtic team then Ledley will naturally be pinned back and he won’t be able to get forward frequently as Celtic go hunting for a goal on the counter attack.
Tony Watt v Javier Macherano
Mascherano has been converted into a centre back during his time at Barcelona and he will be keeping his eyes pealed for any runs that Watt makes when Celtic are on the counter. Mascherano will be looking to stick his foot in early to show the Celtic striker that he means business. Watt can have some success if he can dictate the position that Macherano takes on the field although the Argentine is now a lot more disciplined than when he first took over the centre back role.
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