Sports Mole previews Saturday’s La Liga clash between Celta Vigo and Villarreal, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Villarreal will look to kickstart a climb up the La Liga table on Saturday, when they make the trip to take on Celta Vigo.
The two sides both sit in the bottom half of the table after disappointing starts by their own standards, having each won just three league games so far after finishing eighth and seventh last term respectively.
After an eighth-placed finish last term, Celta Vigo will have hoped to be involved in another battle for the top six this time around, but that has not gone to plan so far.
Los Celestes immediately sank to the bottom end of the division as they collected just one point from the first five outings.
While they showed signs of clicking with wins over Levante, Granada and Getafe, Eduardo Coudet‘s side now head into Saturday without a victory in three games.
After a defeat to Real Sociedad and a draw with newly-promoted Rayo Vallecano, they earned a far more impressive result last time out, holding Barcelona to a draw in dramatic fashion.
Los Celestes looked all but defeated as they trailed 3-0 in the second half, but a Nolito goal and an Iago Aspas brace, including a 96th-minute equalizer, saw them snatch a valuable point seemingly out of nowhere.
Now sitting in 15th spot with 12 points from 13 games, Coudet’s men will know they have far more work to do but should take confidence from that draw as they look to secure an elusive win on Saturday.
They welcome a Villarreal side in a similar situation, as the Yellow Submarine sit just three points ahead in the bottom half after finishing seventh in La Liga and winning the Europa League last term.
Unai Emery‘s side were unbeaten after seven league games, sitting on a creditable tally of 11 points, but a run of three defeats and a draw from the next four games saw them drop into the bottom half.
The Yellow Submarine did manage to secure a crucial win before the recent international break though, arresting their slump by defeating basement side Getafe as Manu Trigueros hit the only goal of the game.
While that was far from convincing against one of the league’s weakest sides, Emery will hope that it acts as a foundation for further improvement, as his side now look to make it two wins on the bounce upon their return to action with the chance to climb into the top half depending on other results.
Celta Vigo La Liga form:
Villarreal La Liga form:
Villarreal form (all competitions):
Celta Vigo will be without first-choice Hugo Mallowho recently suffered an injury, leaving Kevin Vazquez to deputise in the back four.
That should be the only absentee for Los Celestes to deal with though, as Brais Mendez will return from suspension and Santi Mina is back to full fitness after a concern.
Mina will battle to displace Augusto Solari and form a familiar strike partnership with Iago Aspas, who has five league goals so far this term, after the pair registered combined tallies of 26 goals and 17 assists in La Liga last season.
Villarreal’s only absentee should be Spain international Gerard Morenowho remains out of action through injury, with Paco Alcacer expected to lead the line in his absence.
With the Yellow Submarine struggling for form and Moreno failing to hit the heights of last season, Arnaut Danjuma has stepped up in style to help them through tough patches, contributing seven goals and two assists in 15 appearances across La Liga and the Champions League so far this term.
Juan Foyth is set to return to the squad from an injury, but he will have to battle for his place with Serge Aurierwho has impressed since arriving on a free transfer this season.
Celta Vigo possible starting lineup:
Dituro; Vazquez, Murillo, Araujo, Galan; Tapia; Suarez, Mendez, Nolito; Mina, Aspas
Villarreal possible starting lineup:
Rulli; Aurier, Albiol, Torres, Pedraza; Capoue, Parejo, Coquelin; Trigueros; Alcacer, Danjuma
We say: Celta Vigo 1-1 Villarreal
While Villarreal boast the stronger squad and could be confident after an important victory prior to the international break, home advantage for Celta Vigo somewhat levels the playing field, and we predict a share of the spoils.
With both sides struggling for consistency and keen to start grinding out results, we do not see either taking control and instead expect a cagey affair resulting in a low-scoring draw.
Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5: data