Real Madrid will be aiming to bag all three points when they face off against Celta Vigo upon their return to the renovated Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.
Real Madrid will return home to the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend after more than eighteen months playing at the Alfredo Di Stefano while their stadium went under renovations. And they will be hoping to mark the occasion with a win as they gear up to take on Celta Vigo in matchweek 4 of the 2021/22 La Liga.
Real Madrid’s new season under Carlo Ancelotti has gotten off to a decent start with two wins and a draw in three games which sees them occupy second place in the table, just a point below leaders Athletic Bilbao, who have played a game more. Following their hard-fought 1-0 win over Real Betis prior to the international break, Los Blancos will be keen on carrying forward that momentum and grab another victory.
Celta Vigo haven’t made the best of starts to the new season and find themselves languishing in the drop zone, with just a solitary point after three games. The Galician outfit ran Atletico Madrid close in their opening game but ended up losing 2-1 following which they played out a draw and a loss against Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao, respectively and manager Eduardo Coudet will be hoping to turn things around quickly.
The corresponding fixture, played in January earlier this year, ended in a 2-0 win for Real Madrid with goals coming from Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez. Ahead of their latest encounter, at the Bernabeu, The Hard Tackle now takes a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has been hit with fresh injury concerns heading into the game as Gareth Bale has been ruled out due to a hamstring issue he picked up in training while David Alaba and Luka Jovic also miss out. There is some good news, though, as Ferland Mendy is back in the reckoning, although Toni Kroos remains unavailable. New signing Eduardo Camavinga makes the squad for the game.
Ancelotti will set his team up in a 4-3-3 formation against Celta Vigo, with Thibaut Courtois being the undisputed starter between the sticks. Given the lack of options, Nacho and Eder Militao become automatic picks at the heart of the defence while Dani Carvajal is expected to feature at right-back. Mendy, meanwhile, could edge out Marcelo for the starting berth on the left, from where he will look to make forward runs.
Casemiro will occupy the deepest position in the middle of the park and look to screen the Real Madrid defence. Alongside him, Federico Valverde will be the legs in the engine room, providing a box-to-box presence. With Luka Modric also going through a few fitness issues of late, Isco could be given the nod in the third midfield slot, from where he will be expected to provide the creative essence.
Camavinga could get some minutes in the latter stages of the contest given that both Casemiro and Valverde returned late from international duties. As for the options in attack, Bale’s injury should pave the way for Vinicius Junior to start on the right flank while Eden Hazard slots in on the left side, with Karim Benzema spearheading the Real Madrid attack.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Casemiro, Isco; Vinicius, Benzema, Hazard
Unlike Real Madrid, their visitors have no major issues to contend with heading into the weekend clash. Kevin Vazquez has trained with the team over the week and is expected to be involved on Sunday, although he will be wearing a protective mask. Jose Fontan and Miguel Baeza have also shrugged off their respective injuries and have been named in the travelling squad by Eduardo Coudet.
The Celta Vigo manager has opted to use a 4-1-3-2 formation in the past few games and is likely to stick with a similar setup against the capital club. Matias Dituro will line up in goal for Los Celestes, with Nestor Araujo and Jeison Murillo forming the centre-back pairing tasked with keeping Benzema quiet. Hugo Mallo and Javi Galan ought to be the two full-backs, who will look to keep things tight and compact out wide.
Renato Tapia, once rumoured to be a target for Real Madrid, should slot in as the lone defensive midfielder and look to cut out attacks before they develop into something threatening. Denis Suarez will be the other central midfielder, although he will be playing in a much advanced position looking to pick apart the Real Madrid defence.
The threat from the wide areas should come from Brais Mendez and Nolito, both of whom will look to fashion chances for the strike-partnership of Santi Mina and the dangerous Iago Aspas, who certainly has the quality to hurt this Real Madrid backline.
Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Dituro; Mallo, Araujo, Murillo, Galan; Tapia; Mendes, Suarez, Nolito; Aspas, Mina
- Real Madrid have not lost any of their last 14 meetings with Celta Vigo in La Liga (W12 D2), since a 2-0 defeat away at Balaidos back in 2013/14 during Carlo Ancelotti’s first reign.
- Celta Vigo have collected just one point from their last nine La Liga away matches against Real Madrid (D1 L8).
- Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last 21 La Liga matches (W15 D6), the best current streak of any team in the competition. It is also their longest since a run of 28 games unbeaten under Zinedine Zidane between March 2016 and January 2017.
- Celta Vigo have failed to win in their last four games in La Liga (D1 L3), failing to score in the last two.
- Carlo Ancelotti has lost three of his eight meetings as coach against Celta Vigo in all competitions (W4 D1), although just one of these was as a Real Madrid coach (W3 L1).
Player to Watch
Who else but the man in form Karim Benzema. The veteran French striker has made a stunning start to the new season, having been directly involved in five goals in three games in the 2021/22 La Liga so far (2 goals, 3 assists). And, manager Carlo Ancelotti will once again look to the 33-year-old to deliver the goods for his side in the game on Sunday.
In 16 games across all competitions against Celta Vigo, Benzema has a decent record of six goals and six assists. For Real Madrid to stand a chance of bagging all three points on Sunday, they will need the Frenchman to add to that tally at the Bernabeu.
Real Madrid 2-1 Celta Vigo
Real Madrid return to the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend and they do so with a long unbeaten run. Celta Vigo, on the other hand, haven’t won in their last four games and have been a bit sub-par conceding there is quality within the squad to cause problems to the best of teams.
Given that Casemiro could be fatigued after his travels and Ferland Mendy is only returning from an injury, there could be the possibility of Iago Aspas piercing the Real Madrid goal on the night. However, with the form that Karim Benzema has been in and the threat that Vinicius Junior carries, a win for the Merengues is the likeliest outcome.