Morning all! Nice and early start for our La Liga coverage from Week Four as Sevilla welcome Celta Vigo
to the Estadio Ramon. Both of these teams have been tipped to enjoy strong campaigns, but Sevilla have just stuttered through their first three games – picking up just two points. The same cannot be said for Celta, however, who have collected seven points thus far in the new campaign.
Sevilla will enter this match full of confidence having won four of their last five home league meetings with Celta – losing just once in the process. There have not been many goals in their recent meetings, however, with just five scored in their last four matches. Last season in the league, Sevilla were 1-0 winners in this stadium, but the points were shared in a 1-1 draw in Vigo in May.
As mentioned, it has been a fairly disappointing start to the new La Liga season for Sevilla, who came so close to finishing fourth last term. They ultimately ended the campaign in fifth – one point shy of fourth-place Valencia – but still qualified for the Champions League after winning the Europa League for a second successive season. It was a very busy summer in terms of transfers, but the new signings will need to be given time to bed in, that is for sure. Can they return to winning ways here?
Sevilla's new La Liga season opened with a 0-0 draw at Malaga, before they were beaten 3-0 by Atletico Madrid in this stadium. They took the lead away to Levante last time out, but the hosts responded to claim a point in a 1-1 draw. Indeed, only in three previous La Liga seasons have Sevilla scored just one goal after three gameweeks – the last of which occurred in the 1982-83 campaign.
That said, Sevilla will enter this match off the back of an impressive 3-0 win against Borussia Monchengladbach in their Champions League group opener on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see how Unai Emery
balances Europe with domestic matters this season, but it has not proved troublesome in the last two campaigns, with Europa League titles arriving in both.
Sevilla's home form last season was really strong – winning 13 of their 19 league games and losing just once, to Barcelona. They also had the third best home defensive record in the league, which was the base for their strong campaign. Seven of their eight league losses last season occurred on their travels, however, and that is an area that will need to be improved if they are to break into the top four.
Realistically, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will all finish in the top three once again, but fourth place in La Liga is very much open, with Valencia and indeed Celta among the teams that will expect to challenge Sevilla. Villarreal have also made an impressive start and Athletic Bilbao cannot be counted out, despite their fairly laboured opening to the new campaign.
In terms of what is ahead for Sevilla, they will travel to newly-promoted Las Palmas on Wednesday, before hosting Rayo Vallecano next weekend. Next comes an away game against Juventus in the Champions League, before they welcome Barcelona in the league at the start of next month. It has been a poor start to the new campaign, but things might look a lot rosier in a couple of weeks.
Right, the team news for both teams has finally landed. Let me bring you up-to-speed...
SEVILLA: Rico; Mariano, Andreolli, Kolo, Coke; Krychowiak, N'Zonzi; Reyes, Banega, Vitolo; Gameiro
CELTA: Sergio; Mallo, Gomez, Cabral, Jonny; Augusto, Pablo, Wass; Orellana, Aspas, Nolito
So there we have it. Sevilla are still without the services of first-choice goalkeeper Beto, in addition to three key defenders, with Adil Rami, Daniel Carrico and Nico Pareja still out of action. Timothee Kolodziejczak and Marco Andreolli are both given spots in the back four, while Kevin Gameiro has been picked to lead the line ahead of Fernando Llorente
. There is also a spot in the XI for Jose Antonio Reyes.
As for Celta, Iago Aspas is once again chosen to lead the line for the visitors, leaving John Guidetti on the bench. In-form attacking pair Nolito and Fabian Orellana also start, while summer signing from Evian, Daniel Wass
, is selected in the middle of the park. Celta actually have one of the smallest first-team squads in the league, but Eduardo Berizzo's only absentee is Ruben Blanco.
As for Celta, they have quietly put together a very, very good team. Under Berizzo, they finished eighth last season, but their inconsistency cost them the chance to secure a European position. It is worth remembering that they only returned to La Liga from the Segunda in 2012 and after finishing 17th in the 2012-13 season, they have finished ninth and eighth in their last two campaigns.
Not since the 2002-03 season have Celta broken into the top four in Spain's top flight, but there seems to be a real possibility of that this season, if they can continue their strong start and overcome their inconsistent nature. Indeed, Celta are unbeaten in their last eight league games, which is their best run of form since the 2002-03 campaign. Little over 20 minutes until kickoff here!
Berizzo's side opened the new season with an impressive 2-1 win at Levante, before beating Rayo Vallecano 3-0 in their second game of the campaign. A home match against Las Palmas provided the perfect chance to put another three points on the board, but despite leading 3-1 against 10 men, they could only draw the game 3-3. Nevertheless, seven points from three fixtures is impressive.
© Getty Images
In terms of what is to come for Celta, they will welcome the champions Barcelona on Wednesday evening, before travelling to Eibar next weekend. The start of October brings a home game against Getafe, before travelling to Villarreal after the next international break. You sense that we will learn a lot about Celta's credentials for a European spot over the next four, five games.
Keeping Nolito away from Barcelona this summer was key for Celta, and the Spaniard, who was so impressive last term, has started the new season in excellent form. The attacker has three goals and one assist to his name already and will surely need to play well if Celta are to secure a positive result this afternoon. In many ways, this is the most fascinating game of the La Liga weekend.
History suggests that Celta will need to keep a clean sheet this afternoon if they are to collect all three points. The team from Vigo have not scored more than once at the Estadio Ramon since winning 3-2 back in May 1995. While we are at it, their away form last season was also quite disappointing – winning just five of their 19 league games and losing seven times in the process.
PREDICTION! This is a very, very difficult game to call. Sevilla will enter as the favourites on their home patch, but there is no question that Celta are currently in the better form. I am expecting a tight game between two good teams and believe that the points will be shared in a 1-1 draw.
A quick reminder of the two teams. Sevilla...
KICK OFF! Here we go then - the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. This has all the makings of an entertaining contest and the supporters, as excepted, have turned up in their numbers. The hosts get the first 45 minutes underway...
... it is a beautiful early afternoon in Seville - perfect weather for a game of football. It has been a bright start from Celta, with Nolito and Orellana already combining in a wide area. You sense that the first goal - if there indeed is one - will be vital. Celta are the team full of confidence here.
Half-chance for Celta as Mallo drives down the right before picking out Nolito at the far post, but his effort was high and wide of the crossbar. It has been a very strong start from the visitors.
Sevilla's first attempt of the game comes from Mariano, but his wild effort is wide of Sergio's goal. It must be said that there is an excellent atmosphere inside the stadium this early afternoon.
Celta continue to look the more likely to open the scoring as Mallo again drives down the right before picking out Wass, but the midfielder's low effort was always swinging wide of the post.
BOOKING! Gomez (Celta) is booked for bringing down Gameiro.
It is not too difficult to see why Celta have made an impressive start to the new campaign - they are full of confidence in the early moments here. Nolito and Orellana have both already been involved in wide areas, but Sevilla are just struggling to get going on their own patch here.
Sevilla just cannot keep the ball at the moment as the visitors continue to control the possession in all areas of the field. The home supporters are already getting frustrated at the Estadio Ramon.
The referee has been more than prepared to let the game flow in the middle of the park here, which is creating an open and entertaining contest. Celta continue to look the more productive in the final third, but Sevilla have managed to gain some good ground in the wide positions.
CLOSE! Wass comes close to opening the scoring for Celta after trying his luck from the edge of the box, but his powerful strike just dipped over the crossbar. Super effort from the midfielder!
GOAL! Sevilla 0-1 Celta Vigo (Nolito)
Celta break the deadlock in the 15th minute as the excellent Nolito faces up to Mariano before dropping his shoulder and drilling one into the bottom corner. It is a super goal from the Spaniard!
It is difficult to say that Celta do not deserve their lead here, with the visitors starting this game firmly on the front foot. In this sort of form, they are contenders to finish in fourth position.
Half-chance for the home side as N'Zonzi works the ball into Banega, who attempts to slide a pass into Gameiro, but Alvarez was quick off his line to claim. The atmosphere has really dropped following that Celta opener, which is exactly what the visitors would have had in mind early on.
It is brilliant work from Reyes as the Sevilla skipper dances into the Celta box before preparing to shoot, but Mallo is across to make an excellent challenge at the vital moment. The home supporters call for a penalty, but the referee was not interested and rightly so. Still 1-0 Celta here.
SAVE! Celta come close to a second as Mallo spots Rico off his line and attempts to find the top corner, but the Sevilla stopper manages to scramble across and make the save!
GOAL! Sevilla 0-2 Celta Vigo (Wass)
Celta are absolutely rampant here! The visitors score their second of the match as Mallo breaks into the Sevilla box before poking the ball back to Wass, who drills one into the bottom corner!
Sevilla are doing their best to make an impression in the Celta half, but it has been a 29 minutes controlled by the visitors, who are full of energy and invention at the moment. Is this game already beyond the home team? Not quite, but it will be very difficult to respond from this position.
Sevilla cannot get a kick of the ball at the moment, which is bringing a furious reaction from the home supporters. It appears that Emery is already preparing to make a change here...
... SEVILLA SUB! Michael Krohn-Dehli replaces Vitolo.
Celta just are not letting up at the moment as a low cross from Nolito and a super corner from Orellana causes more concern inside the Sevilla box. What a first period from the visitors here.
Sevilla are not out of this game, but you sense that they need one goal before the break. A third for Celta would more than likely kill the game, but one for Sevilla would make it game on. The hosts have just managed to enjoy a spell of possession, but Celta are fairly comfortable at the back.
Little under 10 minutes of the first period remaining and Celta still lead 2-0 at the Estadio Ramon. Sevilla have improved since the second goal, but the visitors are just too cute in possession here.
Sevilla's back four just cannot get near the likes of Orellana and Nolito at the moment and when they do, they are committing fouls. Wass has the chance to test Rico from distance here...
... instead the free kick is played short and Sevilla manage to resist the pressure.
CLOSE! Celta come close to a third as Cabral hammers a loose ball on the edge of the Sevilla box, but his effort smashes into the side netting. That could well have been game, set and match.
BOOKING! Banega (Sevilla) is booked for a poor challenge on Hernandez.
I am struggling to remember the last time that I saw Sevilla so utterly dominated on their own patch. Celta have been just excellent in this first period and they are not sitting on their two-goal lead as Mallo and Jonny continue to exploit the space in wide areas. How can Emery change this game?
Quite an untidy end to the first period here as both sides commit late challenges.
CHANCE! Super chance for Sevilla to get one back before the break, but after being played through by N'Zonzi, Banega cannot beat the diving Alvarez from close range!
BOOKING! Jonny (Celta) is booked for a late challenge on Reyes.
HALF-TIME: Sevilla 0-2 Celta Vigo
So there we have it. The referee brings the first period to a close with the excellent Celta leading 2-0 in Seville. Nolito broke the deadlock with a fine finish in the 15th minute, before Wass's pin-point effort sent the visitors 2-0 ahead 11 minutes later. Sevilla have been second best thus far.
STATISTICS! Celta have dominated the possession with 61%, while they have had 10 attempts - three of which were on target. Sevilla, meanwhile, have only managed two attempts and hit the target just once. There have also been three yellow cards during what has been a spicy first period.
BENCH WATCH! Sevilla boss Emery has already made one change here, with Krohn-Dehli replacing the ineffective Vitolo in the 30th minute. However, the Spaniard still has plenty of options on his bench in the shape of Immobile, Llorente and Konoplyanka. As for Celta, who have been excellent, head coach Berizzo has attacking options in the shape of Bongonda, Guidetti and Madinda.
RESTART! Here we go then - both sets of players rejoin us on the pitch for the second period. Can Sevilla find a route back into this match? It is the visitors that get the second 45 minutes underway here...
... SEVILLA SUB! Fernando Llorente has replaced Banega at the break.
Sevilla have lined up in a 4-4-2 formation for the second period, which should mean an open and entertaining contest. As expected, the home side have come out all guns blazing here.
End-to-end football in the last couple of moments, with both teams committing men forward in the early minutes of the second period. Nolito leads a counter for the visitors, before Llorente opens his legs down the other end. Sevilla just have to score the next goal in this match.
Half-chance for Sevilla as Llorente makes contact with a Krohn-Dehli corner from the left, but his header was always flying over the crossbar. The striker did well to beat Alvarez to the ball there.
This is much more like it from Sevilla as Reyes meets a loose ball inside the Celta box, but his low strike was straight at the goalkeeper. Moments before, Krohn-Dehli failed to find Gameiro.
BOOKING! Krychowiak (Sevilla) is booked for a late challenge on Hernandez.
Penalty shout for Sevilla as Krychowiak goes down inside the Celta box under a challenge from Cabral, but the referee is not interested. For me, that was the correct call from Santiago Jaime.
GOAL! Sevilla 1-2 Celta Vigo (Llorente)
Game on! Sevilla are back in this game as Mariano delivers a super cross towards the far post and Llorente is on hand to head home from close range. Well, that has made things interesting now!
This is a real test for Celta now, who have struggled to contain Sevilla in this second period. Talk about a difference in performance levels! Sevilla were terrible in the first half, but have been a completely different side in the early stages of the second period. It is very much game on in Seville!
Sevilla have a penalty shout as Gameiro slides a pass into Reyes, who goes down under contact from two defenders, but the referee is not interested. It is all happening at the moment!
CELTA SUB! Andreu Fontas replaces Cabral for the away side.
BOOKING! Aspas (Celta) is booked for a late challenge on Krychowiak.
Hardly time to take a breath at the moment as this game continues to flow. Gameiro has another half-chance after meeting a high ball inside the Celta box, but his header is straight at the goalkeeper. The visitors just have not come out for this second half after a dominant first 45.
Another half-chance for the home side as Krohn-Dehli drives down the left before attempting to find Reyes inside the box, but Fontas is across to clear at the vital moment.
CELTA SUB! Hernandez is replaced by Radoja.
Both managers have used two of their permitted three subs this afternoon, which is an indication of how this match has unfolded. Celta boss Berizzo needed to do something to stem the flow of Sevilla pressure. That said, the visitors do still lead with little over 25 minutes of action remaining.
Again it is super defending from Jonny, who somehow clears a low cross from Mariano.
BOOKING! Reyes (Sevilla) is booked for a late challenge on Orellana.
CROSSBAR! Krohn-Dehli almost catches Alvarez out with a deep cross that arrows towards the top corner, but it smashes off the crossbar before bouncing away. So close to a Sevilla leveller!
Little over 20 minutes of football remaining in Seville as Celta remain 2-1 ahead. The visitors were excellent in the first period, but this second half has been utterly dominated by Sevilla, who really should be level at this stage of proceedings. There is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium now.
SAVE! Aspas comes close to making it 3-1 Celta after driving into the Sevilla box, but his arrowed effort is saved by Rico. That really would have been a serious blow to the hosts!
You just get the feeling that there is another goal in this match as Sevilla continue to press forward. Celta have such pace on the counter, however, that a third for the visitors is not out of the question. This has been a very entertaining game of football in Seville and we are not finished yet.
BOOKING! Mallo (Celta) is booked for a late challenge on Gameiro.
SEVILLA SUB! Konoplyanka replaces Reyes.
Celta have just managed to regain control of the ball in the last couple of minutes, which has quietened the home supporters. Sevilla have played very well in this second period, but another defeat would continue their poor start to the season. Little over 15 minutes remaining here.
Half-chance for the home side as Krohn-Dehli meets a loose ball inside the box, but his wild effort was always moving high of the crossbar. No goal for the Dane against his former club!
Rico makes a smart save to deny Orellana from a wide angle as Celta make their presence felt in the final third. Time is just running out for Sevilla if they are to turn this contest around.
CELTA SUB! Aspas is replaced by Guidetti in Celta's final change.
Sevilla have two penalty shouts in quick succession following a bundle inside the Celta box, but the referee is not interested and Celta come away with the ball. Still 2-1 to the visitors here.
SAVE! Smart goalkeeping from Rico as the Sevilla stopper pushes a super Wass free kick wide of the goal. Moments later, Orellana dances into the Sevilla box, but the hosts manage to scramble clear!
Little over five minutes of football remaining and Sevilla are still chasing an equaliser here. They have been by far the better team in the second period, but Celta's excellent first-half performances sees them lead with 84 minutes on the clock. As it stands, Celta are moving onto 10 points.
Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes, with Celta keeping the ball in the final third. You sense that there might be one last big chance in this match.
BOOKING! Orellana (Celta) is booked for dissent.
BOOKING! Augusto (Celta) is also booked for dissent.
It is super work from Guidetti as the Swede drives into the Sevilla box before rolling a cross towards Nolito, but the Spaniard just cannot make contract. That would have been game over!
Gameiro has a half-chance for Sevilla after a scramble inside the Celta box, but his goal-bound effort is blocked by Fontas. Time is running out for the home team as we enter stoppage time.
RED CARD! JONNY! Celta are reduced to 10 men as Jonny is sent off for bringing Krychowiak to the ground. It was a second bookable offence for the full-back.
Sevilla deliver the resulting free kick towards the far post, but the danger is again cleared.
Alvarez comes a long way to claim a header from Krohn-Dehli, before Celta win a free kick down the other end. That should be just about that for this one - what a result for the visitors here.
FULL-TIME: Sevilla 1-2 Celta Vigo
So there we have it. It is a massive result for Celta, who move into second position in the La Liga table with a 2-1 win at out-of-form Sevilla, whose poor and indeed winless start to the new season continues. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action from the Estadio Ramon. Until next time!