MX23RW : Friday, May 7 10:10:47| >> :600:170010:170010:
Apr 22, 2021 at 8pm UK at Estadio Anoeta
Real SociedadReal Sociedad
Celta VigoCelta Vigo
Mallo (22'), Portu (25'), Januzaj (39' pen.)
Elustondo (15'), Murillo (38'), Nolito (62'), Mallo (90+1'), Sagnan (90+1'), Fernandez (90+1'), Suarez (90+1'), Barrenetxea (90+4'), Aspas (90+5')
FT(HT: 3-0)

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's La Liga clash between Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Real Sociedad will endeavour to end a miserable five-game winless run in La Liga when they play host to Celta Vigo on Thursday evening.

Imanol Alguacil's side were put to the sword by title outsiders Sevilla at the weekend, while Celta Vigo and Cadiz cancelled each other out in a goalless stalemate.

Match preview

Real Sociedad head coach Imanol Alguacil pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Barring a spate of successes in February, the past few months have been a forgettable affair for Real Sociedad, who were no match for fourth-placed Sevilla on Sunday as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat.

Carlos Fernandez took just five minutes in that game to bag his first La Liga goal of the season, but two quickfire strikes from Fernando and Youssef En-Nesyri put Sevilla in the ascendancy before the 25-minute mark, and there was no way back for Alguacil's side on their own turf.

Winless in five since a 1-0 success against Levante on March 7, Sociedad have been leapfrogged by Villarreal and Real Betis and now find themselves seventh in the La Liga table, but they still boast an eight-point lead over closest challengers Granada, albeit having played a game more.

With Mikel Oyarzabal now experiencing an alarming nine-game goal drought in the league - and Alexander Isak netting just once in his last seven matches - Alguacil must quickly find a way to reignite an attack which boasts just six goals from the same number of matches.

Sociedad have at least managed to find the back of the net in their last eight home matches, but they have taken just one point from the last nine on offer at the Anoeta Stadium and may glance nervously over their shoulder if they post a less-than-satisfactory result this week.

Celta Vigo head coach Eduardo Coudet pictured in January 2021© Reuters

A late charge for continental competition is not entirely out of the equation for Celta Vigo at this late stage, but the inconsistent Celestes realistically have nothing but pride to play for heading into the final few weeks of the season.

Neither Celta nor Cadiz could find a way through last weekend as the spoils were shared in a 0-0 draw - a result which saw their two-game winning streak away from home come to an abrupt end - and Eduardo Coudet's men lie smack-bang in the middle of the table after 31 matches.

The 10th-placed Celestes are nine points behind this week's opponents Sociedad in the final European spot and 11 clear of the dropzone, so consolidating a mid-table finish and potentially pushing for a top-half standing will be the ultimate goal for Coudet now.

Celta travel to the Anoeta Stadium having lost just three of their last 12 La Liga matches - including one from their last six on the road - and a record of seven points from the last nine on offer on rival territory is certainly cause for optimism before Thursday's battle commences.

Real Sociedad and Celta Vigo have made a habit of winning one and then losing one against one another, although Alguacil's men simply stormed to a 4-1 win in November's meeting with Celta, who have won two of their last three on Sociedad's turf.

Real Sociedad La Liga form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • L

Real Sociedad form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • D
  • D
  • L

Celta Vigo La Liga form:
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

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Team News

Real Sociedad midfielder David Silva in action against Real Madrid in La Liga on September 20, 2020© Reuters

It is no surprise that Sociedad's downturn in form coincides with a lengthy absentee list, as David Silva, Asier Illarramendi, Mikel Merino and Aihen Munoz are all nursing various injuries.

Joseba Zaldua was not deemed ready to take to the field against Sevilla despite returning to training beforehand, so Andoni Gorosabel could earn a start on the right over Aritz Elustondo.

Fernandez has established himself as a consistent starter in recent weeks and should keep his place for the visit of Celta Vigo, but Ander Barrenetxea's spot on the right is under threat from Portu and Adnan Januzaj.

Celta lost centre-back Nestor Araujo to an adductor injury against Cadiz, and he is classed as a doubt for Thursday's game, meaning that Joseph Aidoo could be given the nod in defence.

On a brighter note, Coudet could welcome Santi Mina back to the fold after his recovery from a calf issue, but the eight-goal forward may only be considered for a place among the substitutes.

Mina could challenge Facundo Ferreyra for a spot up top if he is given the green light to feature, but Coudet should largely stick with the same XI from their stalemate with Cadiz.

Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Remiro; Gorosabel, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Monreal; Zubimendi, Guevara; Portu, Fernandez, Oyarzabal; Isak

Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Villar; Mallo, Aidoo, Murillo, Martin; Tapia; Mendez, Suarez, Nolito; Aspas, Ferreyra

SM words green background

We say: Real Sociedad 2-1 Celta Vigo

If recent tradition is anything to go by, it is Celta's turn to claim all three points in this fixture, but Sociedad are running out of time to register some long-awaited wins and avoid a calamitous collapse in their bid for European football.

The visitors have very little riding on their remaining fixtures compared to Sociedad, and we expect Alguacil's men to take advantage of that fact and end their barren run without victory this week.

Top tip

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1Atletico MadridAtletico34237461223976
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