This will be a match we are probably favored to win. Celta’s attack is beat up, they’ve taken two straight losses after their great start under Eduardo Coudet, and our lineup is getting stronger and healthier almost by the day.
The reports coming out of Vigo are saying that their talismanic forward Iago Aspas will be gone for a month. Nolito is also likely to miss this one. Those two players account for more than half of Celta’s goals (12/22) and assists (7/13) so far this season. There’s absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be able to keep a clean sheet here. Coudet is clever, but his tactics so far have relied on high pressing and generally speaking Villarreal have played their best football against sides that press high this season.
A big part of why Villarreal was so successful against high pressing sides early in the year was the partnership between Dani Parejo and Vincente Iborra. Iborra almost never gives the ball away and Parejo is one of the best ball progressors in La Liga. With Iborra gone for the rest of the year, this could be a great opportunity to see how well Capoue fits into that role. If he can take care of the ball as well as Iborra does, we should win this game easily. Capoue’s ball winning ability could also be key against a Celta side that tries to overload the center of the pitch.
I think it says quite a lot about the progress of Fer Nino that Carlos Bacca started ahead of him in the Copa Del Rey. When it came time to play a fully rotated side, Fer was held out with the starters. I think he’ll get the nod up top in this one in a formation that looks like this:
I expect that at some point in this match we’ll see the Pedraza/Estupinan left side come into play. Estupinan’s defensive work rate needs to improve over his recent performances, but he’s just too talented to be kept on the bench entirely. His partnership with Pedraza presents a very different picture offensively than Moi, who has less pace and tends to drop inside more, and that will be a varied look we can throw at Celta.
Samu has also played well recently, so it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him step in for Fer. If we have the lead at the hour mark, Pervis and Chukwueze stepping on would give us an ideal counter-attacking presence in both wide areas to punish Celta as they become more aggressive.
We’re better than this team and they just don’t have an attack that is in one piece right now. 3-0 Villarreal.