MX23RW : Monday, August 19 23:20:50| >> :600:232077:232077:
Aug 17, 2019 at 4pm UK at ​Abanca-Balaídos (Vigo)
Celta Vigo
1-3
Real Madrid
Losada (91')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Benzema (12'), Kroos (61'), Vazquez (80')
Modric (56')

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

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

Real Madrid will be looking to make a winning start to their 2019-20 La Liga campaign when they travel to the Balaidos to face Celta Vigo on Saturday afternoon.

Madrid finished 19 points behind champions Barcelona in third place last season, while Celta only just survived the threat of relegation - ending the campaign in 17th position.


Celta Vigo

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

Last season's 17th-place finish in La Liga proved to be Celta's lowest position since the 2012-13 campaign. After posting three top-10 finishes between 2013 and 2016 before two mid-table spots, there is no question that the 2018-19 season will go down as a disappointment for the club.

Celta won just 10 of their 38 league matches last term, suffering 17 defeats in the process. They were only four points clear of 18th-placed Girona but did manage to record a 2-0 victory over Barcelona in their penultimate home match of the season.

The Celts are a team capable of big results despite their recent struggles, and Madrid will certainly not be given a free pass this weekend. That said, Celta have not beaten Los Blancos in the league since May 2014. The capital giants won both fixtures between the two teams last season, including a 4-2 victory at the Balaidos.

It has been a very busy summer for Celta in terms of recruitment, with the likes of Denis Suarez, Joseph Aidoo, Santi Mina and Pape Cheikh all arriving. Maxi Gomez has been the big departure this summer, with the 22-year-old eventually joining Valencia despite being strongly linked with West Ham United.

Gomez scored 13 La Liga goals for Fran Escriba's side last season and the Uruguay international will be missed. That said, Iago Aspas is easily the club's most important player - the Spain international scoring another 20 La Liga goals during a wonderful 2018-19 campaign.

It did not happen for Aspas at Liverpool but the 32-year-old has been in brilliant form since returning to Vigo. There will be huge pressure on the attacker to find the back of the net again this season, although the signing of Mina on a free transfer is an excellent piece of business.

Celta lost their last two pre-season matches to Tenerife and Lazio. However, they have beaten Lugo, Lille and Union Berlin during their preparations for the new campaign, which starts on Saturday afternoon.

Escriba's side have been handed a hugely difficult opening to the new season considering that they will host Madrid and Valencia before travelling to Sevilla in their third game before the end of the month. It is difficult to know what type of Los Blancos side are going to turn up, though, and Celta will be looking to take advantage of the problems that still exist at the Bernabeu despite a summer of spending.

Recent form: WWWLL


Real Madrid

A freshly-shaven Zinedine Zidane watches his Real Madrid side on July 30, 2019© Reuters

There will be plenty of eyes on Los Blancos this weekend with the capital giants looking to put a difficult pre-season behind them to open their La Liga campaign with a strong performance. It has been another intriguing summer at the Bernabeu, both on and off the pitch.

It was always going to be a busy summer in terms of recruitment after a difficult 2018-19 campaign. European success in recent years has papered over some of the cracks at domestic level, considering that Madrid have only won La Liga once since 2012, which does seem incredible.

Los Blancos lost 12 of their 38 league games last season to finish in third - 19 points off champions Barca. It is difficult to imagine the club going from that gap to challenging for the title; that will be expected this season, though, with president Florentino Perez spending heavily in this summer's transfer window.

Eden Hazard has been the big-money arrival from Chelsea, while Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo Goes have also pitched up in the capital. There have been exits in the shape of Mateo Kovacic and Marcos Llorente, but the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos are still at the club despite recent speculation.

Madrid lost to Bayern Munich in their first pre-season game on July 21, while there was also the incredible 7-3 defeat to Atletico Madrid towards the end of last month. Victories have come over the likes of Fenerbahce and Red Bull Salzburg but it has been a tough pre-season for Zinedine Zidane's side.

Barca are expected to fly out of the blocks, meaning that Madrid must do the same if they are to stay in touch in the early stages of the season. Zidane's team will face Celta (A), Real Valladolid (H) and Villarreal (A) in their three La Liga games ahead of the international break, and three wins will be demanded by the supporters.

Gareth Bale is still with the Spanish giants despite a host of speculation - it is difficult to imagine the Wales international featuring this weekend, but Madrid are not exactly full of options in the wide positions when considering injuries to the likes of Marco Asensio and Rodrygo Goes.

Zidane has experimented with a 3-5-2 during pre-season, though, and there is every chance that the capital giants could line up in that formation on the opening weekend. It will be fascinating to see what type of performance Los Blancos put in at the Balaidos, which has been a happy hunting ground in recent seasons.

Recent form: LWLLWWL


Team News

Marco Asensio is stretchered off on July 23, 2019© Reuters

Celta are likely to be without summer arrival Mina due to an ankle problem, while captain Hugo Mallo is struggling with a hamstring injury and could miss out.

Denis Suarez should make his debut in a wide position following a switch from Barca, though, with Aidoo also in line to debut in central defence.

Gabriel Fernandez could also make his first appearance for the club in the final third alongside Aspas, who should again be the main threat to Madrid.

Madrid will be without the services of Asensio due to a long-term knee injury, while Mendy, Brahim Diaz and Rodrygo will all miss out this weekend through hamstring problems.

Los Blancos also have a suspension to contend with as Dani Carvajal is banned after picking up a yellow card on the final weekend of the 2018-19 campaign. As a result, Alvaro Odriozola should feature on the right in a potential 3-5-2 formation, with Marcelo lining up on the opposite side.

Modric, Kroos and Casemiro should all start in the middle of the park, meanwhile, with Hazard joining Karim Benzema in the final third of the field.

Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Ruben; Kevin, Araujo, Aidoo, Olaza; Suarez, Beltran, Lobotka, Mendez; Fernandez, Aspas

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Varane, Ramos, Militao; Odriozola, Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Marcelo; Hazard, Benzema


Head To Head

As mentioned, Madrid won both of the league matches between the two teams last season, following a 4-2 success at the Balaidos in November 2018 with a 2-0 victory at the Bernabeu.

Los Blancos have won on four of their last five visits to Celta in the league, remaining unbeaten at the Balaidos since a 2-0 defeat in May 2014.

That said, the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in Vigo during the 2017-18 campaign.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid

There is no question that Celta have the personnel to cause the visitors a lot of problems this weekend. It has been a tough summer for Madrid both on and off the field, but we expect Zidane's side to start with a win.


body check tags ::

Who will win Saturday's La Liga clash between Celta Vigo and Real Madrid?

Celta Vigo
Draw
Real Madrid
Celta Vigo
0.0%
Draw
0.0%
Real Madrid
0.0%
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Marco Asensio in action for Real Madrid on September 29, 2018
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