Barcelona v Benfica
All eyes will be on the action on the pitch at Celtic Park tonight but all ears will be listening to events at the Nou Camp. The Hoops need a favour from Lionel Messi and co. in order to make the Champions League 16. Put simply, they need to better Benfica’s result.
Pity then for Celtic that Barca have topped the group already and look like resting several first team players. It’s likely they’ll do without Mascherano, Alba, Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and Pedro but we can expect a decent level of fringe players to fill the void.
Most importantly though is the fact that Lionel Messi will be in the starting line and he’s hungry for goals. He’s hunting down Gerd Muller’s record of number of goals in a calendar year and the games are running out. So while points may not be the motivation for the Argentinian genius goals certainly are.
Benfica almost certainly have to give it go tonight at some stage and that means there’ll be room to be exploited at the back. Messi to score is too short to be backing but I think there will be goals. I even think Benfica will get on the scoresheet but won’t do enough to win.
Looking at Barca this season they’ve often left their best until last, snatching several victories in the final few minutes. You won’t see a more patient team, although some decry their lack of a Plan B. They’ll just keep plugging away until the goals come. With that in mind I like the look of BetInternet’s 23/20 on Barcelona scoring most goals in the second half.