Evening all! Week 16 in La Liga draws to a close this evening as Real Valladolid
welcome Celta Vigo
to the Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla. It is too early in the season to speak about must-win matches, but both of these sides have struggled thus far. It is the type of match that neither manager can afford to lose at this stage of the campaign.
As mentioned, Celta won both of the league matches between the two sides last season. They were 3-1 winners on their own patch in January, before they won 2-0 at Valladolid towards the end of the season. Celta also enter this particular match in the better form having won three of their last five games in all competitions.
A return of just 12 points from 15 matches has left Valladolid in 18th spot in the table. They have won just twice in the league, which is the joint-worst record at this stage of the season. However, due to the proximity at the bottom of the table, back-to-back wins could see them move away from the danger zone, for now at least.
They were in Copa del Rey action last weekend, but played out a forgettable 0-0 draw with Rayo Vallecano. They were thumped 4-0 in their last league match at Real Madrid, while they have also been beaten by Osasuna and Almeria in recent weeks. The worrying thing for Valladolid is that they are losing to the teams around them.
Goals have not been too much of a problem for Valladolid this season with 16 strikes in their 15 matches, but they have relied upon Javi Guerra
, who has netted seven of those. It is down the other end where they have struggled, conceding 25 times and keeping just three clean sheets. Celta, meanwhile, have conceded 23 goals, but scored 20.
REAL VALLADOLID: Marino; Rukavina, Rueda, Valiente, Pena; Rubio, Rossi, Ebert, Larsson; Omar, Guerra
CELTA VIGO: Yoel; Mallo, Cabral, Fontas, Aurtenetxe; Oubina, Lopez; Rafinha, Augusto, Nolito; Charles
So there we have it. No real surprises in the Valladolid XI this evening with Javi Guerra paired in attack with Omar Ramos. There are also starts for Alvaro Rubio and Patrick Ebert in midfield. Celta, meanwhile, continue with Charles as the lone striker. The Brazilian will gain support from Rafinha, Augusto Fernandez and Nolito.
It was always going to be a difficult season for Celta after losing key players in the summer, but they have found some form in recent weeks with back-to-back wins in all competitions. They overcame Almeria 3-1 in their last league match, while they also won on the road against Sevilla at the beginning of November. The tide has just started to turn for Luis Enrique and his side.
They have been happier on the road this season, meanwhile, with three of their four wins coming on their travels. They have also had no trouble scoring away from home, notching 14 times in their seven matches. That is in contrast to their home form, where they have won just one of eight and scored just six times in the process.
PREDICTION: Celta have been poor on their own patch this season, but very impressive on the road. Valladolid, meanwhile, have struggled in all areas. The home side have match-winners in their team, but you have to worry about their ability to deal with the counter-attacking threat from Celta this evening. My score prediction is Celta 2-1.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of the first period. Just a reminder that three points for Valladolid would move them out of the bottom three this evening. You just get the feeling that the first goal - if we indeed have one - could be crucial. The away side get the fixture underway.
It looks cold - and it is. Around three degrees inside the stadium this evening. Not a full house at the Jose Zorrilla, but there is a strong atmosphere inside the ground. Valladolid in their purple and white strip, while Celta are in black. The away side have taken control of the possession in the opening couple of minutes with their back four enjoying touches of the ball.
Plenty happening in the middle of the park at the moment with both sides guilty of a couple of late challenges, but the referee has not been interested in issuing a card thus far. Celta have had more of the ball, but neither side has been able to put a passing sequence together in the final third. Valladolid need to keep the crowd onside this evening, especially in the early stages.
Not too much to report in terms of attacking pressure in the last couple of moments with both sides struggling to find that elusive pass in the final third. Ebert has the opportunity to deliver a deep cross into the Celta box, but there are no takers. Better from the home side as they enjoy more of the ball.
The match almost has the feel of a pre-season fixture at the moment with neither side prepared to move the ball quickly in the middle of the park. Much of the noise is coming from the away supporters, but they have seen little from their team thus far. Nine minutes on the clock and there has not been a single attempt or dangerous moment. Let's hope that improves as the half develops.
The first shot of the match comes from Hugo Mallo as the Celta defender strikes one from outside the box, but his effort was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. Omar breaks down the other end moments later, but the Valladolid attacker loses possession at the vital moment. Still goalless after 11 minutes.
The referee has been more involved than he would have liked in the last couple of moments with both sides guilty of a couple of late challenges in the middle of the park. The onus is on Valladolid to force the issue this evening, but that has not been the case thus far. Celta continue to enjoy possession, but still no real penetration in the final third.
Half-chance for Valladolid as Guerra attempts to meet a cross from Larsson, but the Spaniard cannot make proper contact under pressure from Fontas. Celta attempt to break down the other end with Charles moments later, but the Brazilian is left isolated. The tempo is just starting to rise after a slow start.
Another half-chance for Guerra as the Valladolid forward meets a corner from Ebert, but he can only flick his effort over the crossbar from close range. One-way traffic at the moment as Larsson goes down inside the Celta box, but the referee is not interested. Best spell of the match for the home side with 18 minutes on the clock.
CHANCE! The best chance of the match comes to the home side as Guerra beats Yoel to a corner inside the box, but Borja Oubina manages to clear off the line with a powerful header. Fernandez has an opportunity down the other end for Celta, but he spins before firing his effort wide of the post.
Guerra remains the main threat on the field as the Valladolid forward curls an effort towards goal, but Yoel is across to make a relatively comfortable save. Celta just cannot keep the ball at the moment, with the likes of Charles and Nolito non-existent.
GOAL DISALLOWED! Valladolid think they have taken the lead as Guerra turns home from inside the box following a corner, but the celebrations are cut short by the linesman's flag. Safe to say that the home supporters are not best pleased with the officials.
Valladolid just need to be a little bit careful at the moment as they continue to fly into challenges, with their frustration from the disallowed goal showing. Replays have shown that the goal was chalked off due to a foul inside the box. Valladolid remain on top, however, as they continue to commit numbers in the final third.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments with both sides struggling to find that elusive pass in the final third. Celta have just started to enjoy more of the possession, but there is no link between their midfield and attack. Still goalless with little over 15 minutes of the first period to play at the Jose Zorrilla.
CHANCE! First real sight of goal for the away side as Charles breaks down the right before finding Nolito inside the area, but his effort is straight at Diego Marino. Celta have been impressive on the counter away from home this season, but that is the first time they have threatened in this match.
It was a slow start this evening, but the match has certainly opened up in the last 10 minutes or so. The cold weather is doing nothing to quell the heat on the pitch, meanwhile, as the challenges continue to fly in. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining at the Jose Zorrilla.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Celta as Charles loops a header towards the top corner, but Marino manages to make a fine save at the vital moment. Incredible piece of goalkeeping. The resulting corner is whipped into the box, but the referee flows for a free kick.
Charles continues to threaten for the away side as he gains a yard inside the Valladolid box before directing a header towards goal, but Rukavina is on hand to make a fine challenge at the vital moment. Not too much for the home supporters to get excited about in the last few moments as each attack continues to break down at the vital moment.
Just a reminder that three points for the home side would move them out of the bottom three. As it stands, they have won just two of their 16 league games this season, which is the worst record in the division. There is some mist settling over the stadium at the moment, which has just slowed the tempo once more.
Catching practice for both goalkeepers in the last couple of moments with Marino and Yoel both called into action. Couple of half-chances for Valladolid moments later, but Larsson is crowded out by Cabral before Guerra's effort is deflected wide of the post. Little over three minutes of the first period remaining.
Stop-start period of the match as the referee continues to harm the flow with a series of free kicks. The Spanish official has been guilty of some unnecessary decisions in the opening half of action. Mallo delivers a cross towards Charles moments later, but the Celta striker's effort is wide of the post.
HALF-TIME: Real Valladolid 0-0 Celta Vigo
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. Valladolid have had the best of the opportunities, but Celta have also had their moments in a half that improved after a slow start. It is delicately poised ahead of the second period at the Jose Zorrilla.
STATISTICS: Celta have had more of the possession with 57%, while they have had eight attempts to Valladolid's two. However, just two of Celta's shots have been on target. The home side have had the ball in the back of the net, but Guerra's strike was chalked off for a foul inside the box.
BENCH WATCH: The home side have a number of attacking options on their bench in the shape of Manucho, Oscar, Bergdich and Osorio. Meanwhile, Celta have the likes of Orellana, Mario Bermejo, Michael Krohn-Dehli and Santi Mina in reserve. There are certainly goals in that list of players.
Here we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. You just get the feeling that one goal could be enough to claim all the points this evening. That said, a draw would not be the worst result for either side. Right, the home side get the second 45 minutes underway.
No changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise. However, I expect changes to be made if the score remains goalless around the hour mark. Not too much to report in the early stages of the second period, but Valladolid have taken control of the possession. Let's hope for more clear-cut chances.
The mist has really descended over the stadium in the last couple of minutes, which is a reflection of matters on the field. Valladolid have had much of the possession in the second period, but there have been no attacking moments. Meanwhile, the referee continues to stop the flow by awarding a number of free kicks. Frustrating period of the match at the Jose Zorrilla.
The players are finding it difficult to see at the moment as the mist thickens in the middle of the park. I shouldn't think that the match is in danger unless it gets much worse in the next 10 minutes or so. Omar Ramos attempts to find Larsson with a through pass for the home side, but Fontas is on hand to make the challenge.
Guerra causes problems inside the Celta box after a loose ball falls to the striker, but Fontas just manages to make the clearance. Guerra drives into the area moments later, but this time Oubina is across to clear the danger. Not too sure from Celta in the second period thus far as the mist thickens.
Week 16 has brought many twists and turns in La Liga, but that has not been the case this evening. Save the best until last has not applied unfortunately. Celta have the chance to threaten from a free kick as Charles is felled outside the area, but Nolito's delivery is headed clear by Ebert. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining in this La Liga contest.
RED CARD! CHARLES (CELTA VIGO)
Celta are reduced to 10 men as Charles is handed his second yellow card. It is an incredible decision as the referee books the Brazilian for standing in front of Marino during a goal kick. The Valladolid stopper kicks straight into the back of the forward, who is dismissed.
The card count continues to rise as Alex Lopez is handed a yellow for handball in the middle of the park. It is an extremely strange match at the moment with the mist and stop-start nature making it hard to watch. It would not be a surprise if the two teams played out a goalless draw in the final 30 minutes or so.
Valladolid make their first change of the match as Oscar replaces Omar, who has struggled to influence proceedings this evening. Still no movement on the Celta defence, but they have plenty of attacking options in reserve. Just a reminder that three points for Valladolid would move them out of the bottom three in La Liga.
GOAL! Real Valladolid 1-0 Celta Vigo (Guerra)
Valladolid break the deadlock on the hour mark as Ebert feed Guerra inside the box. The Spaniard takes one touch before driving a low effort into the bottom corner for his eighth league goal of the campaign. That prompts a change from Celta as Santi Mina replaces Lopez.
How often has Guerra been the saviour for Valladolid this season? Eight league goals at this stage of the campaign for a team in the bottom three is an incredible return. He has been linked with a move away from the club in January, which is not much of a surprise. Valladolid will do well to keep him at the Jose Zorrilla.
Celta make their second change as Nolito is replaced by Orellana. The away side threaten with a deep cross into the Valladolid box moments later, but Pena is on hand to clear the danger. It has been a terrible 10 minutes for Celta, who have lost a man and lost a goal. Little over 25 minutes of football remaining.
Half-chance for Celta as Cabral meets a cross from Orellana, but Marino is on hand to make a smart save. The Valladolid stopper releases Ebert down the other end, but his cross is straight into the arms of Yoel. End-to-end football with 68 minutes on the clock. The match has exploded into life following a poor start to the second period.
GOAL! Real Valladolid 2-0 Celta Vigo (Guerra)
Guerra scores his second of the match as he loops a header into the back of the net following a deep cross from Cabral. Nine league goals for the season now. Is that game over?
There have been an incredible number of braces in La Liga this weekend. Can Guerra score his third in the final 20 minutes or so? Strikers of his class are the difference between a team going down and staying in the division. In truth, Valladolid did not look like scoring, but that changed when Charles was dismissed.
Good pressure from Celta in the last couple of moments as Mallo collects possession down the left before driving a low cross into the box, but Pena is on hand with the clearance. As it stands, Valladolid would indeed move out of the relegation zone. It would also be just their third league win of the season.
Another half-chance for the away side as Fontas breaks into the Valladolid box before attempting to find the top corner, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar. Celta have hardly threatened Marino, but a goal in the next five or so minutes would make the final exchanges extremely interesting. Another goal for Valladolid and it would certainly be curtains.
Another half-chance for the home side as Rueda rises inside the box before meeting a corner from Ebert, but his header is straight into the arms of Yoel from close range. Mina has a half-chance down the other end moments later, but his curling effort is saved by Marino.
Valladolid look to their bench for the second time this evening as Bergdich replaces Larsson, who has been impressive in the second period. The Swede receives a warm ovation from the home supporters as he leaves the field. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments as Valladolid continue to dictate possession of the ball.
Stop-start period of the match in the last couple of moments with the referee taking exception to a number of challenges from both sides. There has been no real response from Celta to falling 2-0 behind, but the red card certainly changed the game. Little under 10 minutes of normal time remaining at the Jose Zorrilla.
You have to fear for Valladolid if they do lose the services of Guerra in the January window, which is a possibility. Alongside Patrick Ebert, Guerra is the star man for the home side. Mina tries his luck for Celta as he collects possession outside the box, but his effort is high and wide of the crossbar.
Another half-chance for Celta as it breaks kindly for Rafinha inside the box, but his effort is blocked by Pena from close range. The resulting corner is delivered towards Fontas, but Marino is on hand to claim. Not too much from Valladolid in the last couple of moments, but their two-goal lead remains in tact.
Celta make their third and final change as David Costas replaces Fontas for the final couple of minutes.
GOAL! Real Valladolid 3-0 Celta Vigo (Guerra)
Guerra completes his hat-trick from close range as he moves onto ten league goals for the season. It has been the Guerra show in the second period. What a performance from the Spaniard.
It is an incredibly important three points for the home side, but what will this result do to Celta? They have been beaten 3-0 (or possibly more) by a team that had won just twice all season. Cabral has a half-chance for Celta moments later, but his header is wide of the post.
Guerra gets his standing ovation from the home supporters as the Spaniard is replaced by Manucho for the final couple of minutes. The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes and we are indeed into the first of those.
CHANCE! Wonderful chance for Oscar to make it 4-0 as the Valladolid forward meets a cross from Ebert, but his header is just wide of the post. That should be just about that for this one.
FULL TIME: Real Valladolid 3-0 Celta Vigo
So there we have it. Guerra scores three times as Valladolid beat Celta 3-0. The result moves the home side into 16th position in the table, just one spot behind Celta. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action. Good evening!