The big news for Celta is the injury to Iago Aspas, which is keeping him out of this match. Their other matches are already-relegated Depor at home, already-saved Levante at home, and Real Madrid away. So it’s easy to see how Celta can get to 51 points, but they can pass us in the standings if they defeat us in this match.
Villarreal, meanwhile, have Depor on their schedule too, but away; their other three remaining matches are only against three of the top four. So a win here would be really nice if we want to get a firmer hold on sixth place (which gets into the Europa League group stage directly).
Coach Calleja seems to have abandoned the midfield diamond for now, going with a 4-2-3-1 now that wide players such as Castillejo and Cheryshev are back healthy. With Fornals returning to action (or at least training this week) exactly who will line up where is a little uncertain, but I am expecting Bacca to be the lone striker for sure.
Celta Vigo: Yet again, Celta Vigo have managed to combine some incredibly attractive football with underwhelming results. They signed Maxi Gomez for under €5m this summer—and he’s scored 14 times. Aspas has 20 goals, and pundits scream his praises to the heavens as Spain’s national team prepares for the World Cup. And yet, they’re only 10th. 47 goals shipped is frankly mediocre. It’s not that their keeper or back four are bad—but it’s the area of the team that needs to be upgraded in the summer.
All-time record: Pretty even in the Primera (9-5-9) but Villarreal have done well at home (6-2-3). We defeated the Celeste 5-0 in October 2016, which was the last time Celta visited us; since then, we’ve won twice away by 1-0 scores, so we are riding a three-game win streak.
This fixture will always be associated in my mind with the smoke-bomb incident in 2014, when Celta won this at the Madrigal 2-0. As far as I know the perpetrator of that ridiculousness was never found, were they?
Prediction: Whoscored has the average rating of both teams at 6.77, and predicts a 1-1 draw. Hard to argue with that, but I will go for a 2-1 home win mostly because Aspas is not around and we are at home. ENDAVANT VILLARREAL!!