MX23RW : Thursday, June 24 00:58:26| >> :600:2603141:2603141:
Sep 12, 2020 at 3pm UK at Estadio Municipal de Ipurúa
EibarEibar
0-0
Celta VigoCelta Vigo

Bigas (13'), Alvarez (41'), Diop (81')
Diop (87')
FT

Nolito (37'), Olaza (73'), Junca (75'), Yokuslu (78')

Preview: Eibar vs. Celta Vigo - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday afternoon's La Liga clash between Eibar and Celta Vigo, including team news and predicted lineups.

The opening match of the 2020-21 La Liga campaign will take place at Estadio Municipal de Ipurua on Saturday afternoon with Eibar welcoming Celta Vigo.

Eibar finished 14th in Spain's top flight last term, while Celta ended the season in 17th, only just surviving in the league as they claimed one more point than Leganes in 18th.


Match preview

Eibar boss Jose Luis Mendilibar pictured in September 2019© Reuters

Having claimed 10th, ninth and 12th in Spain's top flight between 2017 and 2019, there is no question that last season's 14th-place finish in La Liga was disappointing for Eibar.

Another campaign at this level of football was the priority, though, and they ultimately ended the season six points clear of the relegation zone, which was occupied by Leganes, Mallorca and Espanyol.

Eibar ended their 2019-20 season with a 4-0 defeat at Villarreal, but they have played four friendlies since then, beating Rayo Vallecano, drawing with Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao and losing to Leganes.

Damian Kadzior and Recio have both arrived this summer to boost the squad, but a number of players, including Fabian Orellana, Charles, Gonzalo Escalante and Pablo de Blasis, have moved on.

Celta Vigo players celebrate Iago Aspas's late goal against Barcelona on June 27, 2020© Reuters

Celta, meanwhile, only just survived in the top flight during the 2019-20 campaign, ultimately finishing the season in 17th spot, just one point clear of Leganes, who were relegated in 18th.

The Sky Blues only won seven of their 38 league matches last term, drawing a league-high 16 matches as they struggled to put together a run of consistency which would have moved them up the table.

Celta have boosted their squad with the arrivals of Miguel Baeza, Renato Tapia and Alvaro Vadillo this summer, while the likes of Pione Sisto and Robert Mazan have moved on.

Oscar Garcia's side have also lost Rafinha and Fedor Smolov, with the pair heading back to Barcelona and Lokomotiv Moscow respectively after loan spells at the Balaidos last term.

It does appear that the team will again be heavily reliant on Iago Aspas when it comes to goals, and the 33-year-old has now struck an impressive 102 times in 193 appearances since returning in 2015.

Eibar pre-season form: WLDD

Celta Vigo pre-season form: DWD


Team News

Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas celebrates scoring their second goal from the penalty spot with Hugo Mallo © Reuters

Eibar could be without the services of Cote due to the knee problem that the defender picked up towards the end of last season, meaning that Rober Correa is likely to feature at left-back.

Sergi Enrich and Kike Garcia could be given the nod to start as the front two in a 4-4-2 formation, with Sergio Leon and Takashi Inui operating in the wide areas.

Paulo Oliveira was an unused substitute in Eibar's final league match of last season, but the Portuguese is expected to return to the starting XI on the opening weekend of the new campaign.

As for Celta, Sergio Alvarez and Ruben Blanco remain on the sidelines through injury, meaning that the inexperienced Ivan Villar will start between the sticks.

Tapia, who has arrived from Feyenoord, could be handed a starting role in the middle of the park, while Nolito and Edgar Mendez are likely to support Aspas in a forward position.

There could also be a start for 23-year-old Turkey international Emre Cor, who is back with the Spanish club after loan spells with Galatasaray and Olympiacos.

Eibar possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Correa, Oliveira, Bigas, Soares; Leon, Diop, Exposito, Inui; Garcia, Enrich

Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Villar; Mallo, Aidoo, Araujo, Olaza; Tapia, Beltran; Mor, Mendez, Nolito; Aspas


SM words green background

We say: Eibar 1-1 Celta Vigo

Both of these teams will be eyeing three points on the opening weekend, but we are struggling to separate them. Celta have actually only won two of their last 31 away La Liga matches, although we do fancy the visitors to pick up a share of the spoils on Saturday afternoon.



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Athletic Bilbao's Dani Garcia in action with Barcelona's Rafinha on August 19, 2019
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CAtletico MadridAtletico38268467254286
2Real Madrid38259467283984
3Barcelona38247785384779
4Sevilla38245953332077
5Real Sociedad3817111059382162
6Real Betis381710115050061
7Villarreal3815131060441658
8Celta Vigo381411135557-253
9Granada38137184765-1846
10Athletic Bilbao381113144642446
11Osasuna381111163748-1144
12CadizCadiz381111163658-2244
13Valencia381013155053-343
14Levante38914154657-1141
15Getafe38911182843-1538
16AlavesAlaves38911183657-2138
17ElcheElche38812183455-2136
RHuesca38713183453-1934
RReal Valladolid38516173457-2331
REibarEibar38612202952-2330

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