The future is now: Teenagers Pedri and Gavi extend Barcelona's win streak to 7

Pedri taps it home to give Barcelona the lead (0:30)

Pedri finds the ball at his feet and puts it in to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead. (0:30)

BARCELONA, Spain -- Barcelona moved back to the top of the LaLiga table with a 1-0 over Celta Vigo on Sunday. The win was their seventh in a row.

- Report: Celta Vigo-Barcelona | LaLiga table | Upcoming fixtures

The difference-makers were Gavi, who played well, and Pedri, whose early goal was enough to seal the win.

ESPN's Sam Marsden has reaction and analysis from Spain.

JUMP TO: Player ratings | Best/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Post-match quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Rapid Reaction

1. Youngsters Pedri and Gavi lead Barca to win

Teenage midfielders Pedri and Gavi helped Barcelona over the line as they kicked off a potentially season-defining run of six games in 17 days with a 1-0 win over Celta Vigo at Camp Nou to move back to the top of LaLiga.

Barca have been so reliant on veteran striker Robert Lewandowski's goals so far this season but it was the youthful midfield duo that combined to score the game's only goal in the first half. Gavi breached Celta's offside trap and when his dangerous cross was only half dealt with by Unai Nunez, Pedri had the simple task of rolling the ball home from close range.

It was not just the goal that marked them out from their teammates, though. Gavi, 18, was everywhere, flying around at 200 miles per hour, making tackles at one end and then almost turning home crosses at the other end seconds later. Pedri, 19, meanwhile, brought perhaps the biggest woo of the night from the home crowd when he nutmegged Hugo Mallo as he beat three men to carry the ball forward before feeding Ferran Torres.

The task for the two youngsters now is to deliver against superior opposition, starting with a must-win Champions League game against Inter Milan on Wednesday and then away at Real Madrid next Sunday, a game Barca go into as league leaders on goal difference after the Celta win. Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao and Bayern Munich follow.

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2. Ter Stegen breaks Aspas curse

Iago Aspas loves playing against Barcelona. He has scored 10 goals in 16 games against them in Celta colours. His record against Marc-Andre ter Stegen is even better: nine in 11 outings.

When the ball dropped to him in the 84th minute, then, you would have put money on him silencing Camp Nou and beating Ter Stegen. Instead, Ter Stegen made himself big and turned the ball behind for a corner with his leg. It was another huge save from the German goalkeeper, who has now kept seven clean sheets in eight LaLiga games.

Barca could not have complained if Celta had found a late equaliser. In a game of two halves, the away side dominated the second 45 minutes. Only saves from Ter Stegen and last-ditch blocks from Marcos Alonso and Sergio Busquets ensured Xavi Hernandez's side held on for the three points.

3. An anti-Vinicius plan

Barca's length injury list in defence is forcing Xavi to experiment ahead of the upcoming matches against Inter and Madrid in mind. With Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen and Hector Bellerin all injured, he fielded a back four which included three left-backs against Celta: Alonso, Alejandro Balde and Jordi Alba.

Alba started in his natural position, but Alonso was deployed as a makeshift centre-back alongside Gerard Pique and Balde, for the second league game running, started at right-back. It could be a glimpse into who Xavi wants to play there against Madrid, where pace will be needed to defend Vinicius Jr.

Araujo has been the go-to at right-back against Madrid in recent games, but the Uruguayan has just undergone surgery. Sergi Roberto is avaialble, but he's only just returned from an injury. Therefore, 18-year-old Balde, a left-back, could be handed the biggest task of his young career at the Santiago Bernabeu next weekend.

Player ratings

Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen 8, Balde 6, Pique 6, Alonso 6, Alba 6, Busquets 6, Pedri 7, Gavi 7, Raphinha 6, Lewandowski 6, Torres 5

Subs: De Jong 6, Ansu 6, Dembele 6, Roberto 5, Garcia 5

Celta Vigo (4-4-2): Marchesin 7; Mallo 6, Aidoo 6, Nunez 5, Galan 6; Cervi 7, Veiga 6, Beltran 6, Oscar 6; Aspas 7, Larsen 6

Subs: Perez 6, Solari 6, Pacencia 5, Mingueza 5

Best and worst performers

BEST: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Barcelona

It would have been Gavi but for a string of second half saves by Ter Stegen. The German had actually been wasteful with the ball a couple of times, but his stops once again earned Barca three points.

WORST: Ferran Torres, Barcelona

The Spain striker appears to be lacking in confidence. Didn't take the chances that came his way and was substituted early in the second half. He needs a run of games to find his rhythm, but it looks unlikely with competition from Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati and Raphinha.

Highlights and notable moments

Inside of 17 minutes, it was indeed the teenagers who put Barcelona ahead. Pedri, the 19-year-old Spaniard, found the tap-in that decided the result.

After the match: What the managers, players said

"We need to be self-critical today," Barca coach Xavi Hernandez said. "The first half is good, the intensity was good, we created a lot of chances and have to kill the game off. If we get the second, it all changes. We were not good in the second half. We let Celta press."

"We have to savour these three points because they are important keep us top," Xavi added. "The Clasico is unpredictable. Last year we went into badly and end up winning 4-0. We will try to win and show character like we did last season."

"I think we deserved more than just one point," Celta captain Aspas told DAZN. "We deserved to win. We had a great second half, had five or six great scoring chances, but the usual is to lose here."

Key Stats (provided by ESPN Stats & Information)

  • Pedri scored his second LaLiga goal this season and first since the third week of the season (Aug. 28). It was his eighth career goal in LaLiga. Since 2010-11, only nine other teenage midfielders in the Top 5 European leagues have more goals than him in that span.

  • Barcelona's six straight clean sheets are the team's second-most ever heading into a league edition of El Clásico vs. Real Madrid (record is eight straight in 1973).

  • Barca's seven straight LaLiga wins are tied for the team's second-best streak prior to facing Real Madrid (eight is the record in 1999).

Up next

Barcelona: Barca host Internazionale in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. ET. Then Barca return to LaLiga action and head to Real Madrid for El Clasico on Oct. 16. (Watch live on ESPN+.)

Celta Vigo: Los Celestes host Real Sociedad in LaLiga action at 8 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 16. (Watch live on ESPN+.)