Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo – 2021/22
For obvious reasons, the hype and the build up around this fixture is unlike what we’ve had for sometime now. Real Madrid return to a refurbished Santiago Bernabéu, the home they last played at some 18 months back.
At the time, Zinédine Zidane was at the helm and the team were leading a formidable title charge with an encouraging Clásico win, just days before normality would cease to exist and football stadiums would close their doors to fans across Europe and the world.
All that aside, this is a very different Real Madrid team we’re going to be watching.
What to Expect:
The start to Real Madrid’s campaign has brought out glimpses of sumptuous, joyous and enjoyable football. With fans back in the stadium come Sunday, the place is guaranteed to have a cracking atmosphere. The Bernabéu loyals should be able to re enter their positions at what is a much improved, much well facilitated stadium albeit still incomplete — much like Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Expect a high tempo from the off. The likes of Federico Valverde, Dani Carvajal and Vinícius Júnior are crowd favourites, almost like homegrown talent to the Bernabéu faithful. It adds energy, discipline and desire for guys with such a colourful past to return to a stadium as lively as this.
For Celta, It’s been a poor start to another chaotic season. Eduardo Coudet’s team have replenished plenty of energy over the break and have the likes of Jose Fontán and Miguel Baeza in contention to play, but remain fresh from the wounds of Bilbao and defending champions Atlético Madrid in the opening two weeks.
Clearly, It’s going to be much less about making themselves heard and much more about trying to impose themselves over a game where they’ll be taking calculated risks. If anything, Coudet may be happy to go home with a point although his roster suggests that the Argentine has some special talent at his disposal. If only they can remain composed.
Even with the international break out of the way, Carlo Ancelotti doesn’t have his desired selection of players. Toni Kroos & Ceballos continue with their respective recoveries. Ferland Mendy was doubtful ahead of selection but was later confirmed to be part of the squad.
Primarily, it is the absences of David Alaba and Gareth Bale that will hurt the most. Alaba was phenomenal across the back line prior to the break and Bale took his spectacular form into the break with Wales, grabbing a game winning hat-trick in a World Cup qualifier. Luka Jovic has gastroenteritis and will also miss the match.
As a ray of optimism, Eduardo Camavinga is the latest addition to the team and is expected to play his first few minutes tonight. As mentioned, not quite the most desirable unit, but certainly a squad Ancelotti can work with.
Carvajal — Militão — Nacho — Mendy
Modrić — Casemiro — Valverde
Rodrygo — Benzema — Hazard
Mallo — Murillo — Araujo — Galán
Mendez — Tapia — Denis Suarez
Nolito — Mina — Aspas
Player to Watch:
Real Madrid: Federico Valverde. Excellent before the break, with a goal and a win for Uruguay during the break, and there’s no reason to believe why Fede won’t run the show tonight. The Bernabéu crowd is known to push his confidence to new levels and certainly against a passive outfit like Celta, his bursts of explosive pace can get Madrid into exciting positions. With a long term renewal signed and sealed very recently, it’s exciting to see what wonders Fede can do.
Celta Vigo: Iago Aspas. It would’ve been ideal to mention the tenacious Renato Tapia or the clever player that Denis Suárez is but nothing matches Aspas’ impact when it comes to Celta. Simply put, he scores decisive, vital goals in the most unique of manners each time.
Aspas is an explosive runner, and is tough to predict when standing on the ball, but it’s his ability to finish that sets him apart. 14 goals and 13 assists in LaLiga last season. There’s something clinical about him and he’s quite the well rounded asset for our defence to deal with.
Real Madrid 3-1 Celta Vigo.
Madrid’s defence looks a bit shaky at the moment, but offensively they have been steady and quick to get the goals. Celta aren’t in the best form at the moment, that’s for sure. A perfect night at the Bernabéu to top off the victory. Is it too much to ask for?