Sports Mole previews Saturday’s La Liga clash between Celta Vigo and Real Madrid, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Real Madrid will be bidding to secure back-to-back wins at the start of their 2022-23 La Liga campaign when they make the trip to Celta Vigo on Saturday night.
Los Blancos opened their title defense with a 2-1 victory over newly-promoted Almeria last time out, while Celta started their season with an entertaining 2-2 draw at home to Espanyol.
Celta were actually two goals ahead against Espanyol in last weekend’s contest, with Iago Never and Goncalo Paciencia on the scoresheet, and the Sky Blues had the two-goal advantage until the 72nd minute, when Edu Exposito halved the deficit in Vigo.
Joselu then scored from the penalty spot in the eighth minute of added time at the end of the 90 to make it an incredibly frustrating start to the new season for Eduardo Coudet‘s side, who should have seen out the match to claim all three points on the opening weekend.
Celta finished 17th in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons, but they have not been in any relegation danger in the last two campaigns, claiming eighth and 11th position respectively, and the team will be bidding to push close to the European positions in 2022-23.
A busy transfer window has been seen Williot Swedberg, Luca de la Torre, Carlos Perez, Oscar Mingueza, Unai Nunez, Augustine Marchesin, Julen Lobete and Oscar Rodriguez all arrive, but there have also been a number of departures, so there is a fresh look to the squad this season.
Celta have lost each of their last four La Liga games with Real Madrid, while they have not beaten Los Blancos in Spain’s top flight since May 2014, which is an indication of the size of their task in this match.
Real Madrid were far from convincing on the opening weekend of the new La Liga season, falling behind in the sixth minute of their clash with Almeria courtesy of a goal from Away Ramadan.
Lucas Vazquez managed to level the scores in the 61st minute, though, before David Alaba came up with the winner in the 75th minute to ensure that the champions would open their title defense with a win.
Carlo Ancelotti‘s side, who won a Champions League and La Liga double last season, have already claimed silverware this season, beating Europa League holders Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Super Cup last week.
There have still only been two first-team additions at the Bernabeu this summer, with Antonio Rudiger and Aurelien Tchouameni joining the club, and Los Blancos continue to insist that their business has been completed.
Casemiro is currently being strongly linked with a switch to Manchester United, though, which could see a new midfielder arrive before the deadline, while it would also not be a surprise to see a back-up centre-forward join the club over the next couple of weeks.
Real Madrid did a league double over Celta last term, including a 2-1 victory in Vigo, and they have triumphed on each of their last four visits to their opponents this weekend.
Celta Vigo La Liga form:
Real Madrid La Liga form:
Celta have not reported any injury concerns ahead of this match, so head coach Coudet could have a full squad to choose from, which was also the case on the opening weekend of the season.
Augusto Solari was replaced at the interval of the clash with Espanyol but is expected to be fit to start, and it would not be a surprise to see the same XI for a second successive match.
Aspas and Paciencia were both on the scoresheet against Diego Martinez‘s side and should continue as the front two, while Oscar Rodriguez is again likely to operate in an advanced midfield position for the hosts.
As for Real Madrid, Ancelotti will make changes from the side that took to the field for the first whistle against Almeria last time out.
Dani Carvajal and Rodrygo both missed out on the opening weekend through injury but are expected to be fit for this match, meanwhile Luka ModricAlaba and Eder Militao should also be among those to return.
Ancelotti has a big decision to make when it comes to Casemiro, but it would not be a surprise to see him in the side, even with the ongoing speculation surrounding his future.
Federico Valverde should again play alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior in a front three, with Eden Hazard‘s involvement expected to come from the bench.
Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Marchesin; Mallo, Aidoo, U Nunez, Galan; Solari, Beltran, O Rodriguez, Cervi; Patience, Never
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius
We say: Celta Vigo 1-2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid had to come from behind to win narrowly at Almeria, and we are expecting this to be another tricky match for the champions considering Celta’s quality. It would not be a surprise to see a draw in Vigo, but Real Madrid should just have enough to make it two wins from two at the start of the new season.
For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data