Celta Vigo hosts Real Madrid in round 1 of Spanish LaLiga. The match will be played on Saturday, August 17th at Estadio de Balaídos (Vigo)
Celta was clearly out of sorts in the last season: coaching leapfrog (I would say again that Antonio Mohamed’s dismissal was a big mistake, which, in fact, cost Celta the season), the injuries of one of the attacking leaders, Iago Aspas – all this almost led the Celts to relegation - Celta salvaged only in the 37th round. If we talk about the validity of such a result, it is well-deserved: Celta gained 41 points for the entire championship, and their xPTS = 41.63 - there is a small underperforming, but it does not play a role. Still, coaching leapfrog affected the results of this team. In summer, a fairly loud exchange by Celta’s standards took place: the Uruguayan forward Maximiliano Gomez went from Vigo to Valencia, and Santi Mina moved in the opposite direction. It is clear that Gomez is stronger than Mina, but this exchange should, as they say, refresh the team. Francisco Escriba is Celta's coach now - he is known for working with Elche and Villarreal. I think that the management of Celta has found an excellent option - his Elche looked decent in Primera, and Villarreal was an uncomfortable opponent for all the teams in Spain.
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Real Madrid held a very ambiguous offseason: on the one hand, one of the best football players in the world Eden Hazard joined the team, and there was also a good reinforcement in the person of Ferlan Mendi. But on the other hand, we see bulimia (enumeration of players in the attacking line; yes, Juventus and Barcelona are far from it in these terms, but still) and a very slurred game. Zidane first tried the 4–3–3 scheme, which was classic for Madrid of past years, but it turned into problems in the center of defense, a very slurred game of Hazard and a 3:7 defeat to Atlético in a friendly match. One gets the feeling that Real Madrid was stuck in 2017, where endless high crosses performed by Marcelo still bring results, and crowds of populists joyfully elevate the image of Zidane and put him higher than Guardiola and Simeone (the top of idiocy). But times have changed long ago, as well as the squad of Madrid, so a primitive thing like “give a cross to Ronaldo - he will score” does not work. New solutions are needed that will take into account the features of new faces either.
In short, Celta looks much more integrated than Madrid now - good new players appeared in the squad of the Celts, plus an excellent coach came who achieved the result (and most importantly - a good game) in the clubs of La Liga where he worked. Real seems not very determined in its path: the classical formation with such a squad is ineffective, the new one is not flexible, and it is wildly dependent on the players. I believe in the power of the attacking duo Mina-Aspas, so it seems to me that Celta should score in this match. Perhaps not one goal, so my forecast is as it is.
Prediction for the match: Celta Vigo to score over 1.0 goal