Real Madrid will look to make it two wins in two games when they lock horns with Celta Vigo away from home on Matchday 2 of the 2022/23 La Liga.

Real Madrid will be aiming to continue their winning start to the 2022/23 campaign when they face off against Celta Vigo at Estadio de Balaidos on Saturday night in La Liga.

Having begun their campaign with a UEFA Super Cup triumph versus Eintracht Frankfurt, Real Madrid started the defence of their La Liga title with a comeback 2-1 win over newly-promoted UD Almeria last weekend. And Carlo Ancelotti will now be hoping that his side can extend their winning run in the new season to three games in all competitions on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Celta Vigo started their season with a disappointing 2-2 draw against Espanyol as they conceded two late goals at home, including an injury-time equaliser which meant they had to walk away with just one point. Edouardo Coudet’s side will be hoping to put that frustration behind them and hope to register an upset outcome against the champions.

The corresponding fixture last season had ended 2-1 in favour of Real Madrid with Karim Benzema grabbing a brace, and a similar outcome could very well be on the cards this weekend at the Balaidos.

Team News & Tactics

Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo do not have any major roster issues to contend with heading into the game against the reigning champions of Spain and Europe. And manager Eduardo Coudet has already confirmed the starting lineup that will take the field at the Balaidos.

The hosts will line up in a 4-1-3-2 formation against Los Blancos, with Agustin Marchesin guarding the goal, where he could be in for a busy night on Saturday. Hugo Mallo and Javi Galan ought to line up as the full-backs on the right and left sides, respectively, with Joseph Aidoo and Unai Nunez forming the centre-back partnership that will be tasked with keeping Karim Benzema quiet.

The onus of curbing the influence of Luka Modric in midfield should fall on the shoulders of Renato Tapia, who will be lining up as the only defensive midfielder for the Galician outfit. He will need support from Fran Beltran, while Franco Cervi and Oscar Rodriguez will take up the attacking midfield positions and look to provide the forward thrust for the home team.

Iago Aspas and Goncalo Paciencia, both of whom were on target in the first game of the season against Espanyol, will continue to pair up at the top and look to cause problems to the Real Madrid defence.

Probable Lineup (4-1-3-2): Marchesin; Mallo, Aidoo, Nunez, Galan; Tapia; Rodriguez, Beltran, Cervi; Aspas, Paciencia

Real Madrid

Real Madrid will again be without Rodrygo Goes, who misses out with a muscle issue, while Toni Kroos is also ruled out with flu. Carlo Ancelotti will no longer be able to call upon his midfield general Casemiro, who has completed a transfer to Manchester United. Dani Carvajal is back in the squad after being rested for the last game.

Ancelotti could make a few tweaks to the side that took the field against Almeria, starting with the return of Dani Carvajal at right-back in place of Lucas Vazquez, despite the latter scoring in the season opener. Eder Militao should also return to the lineup, at the expense of Nacho. Antonio Rudiger could, however, keep his spot in the side as his partner, with David Alaba replacing Ferland Mendy at left-back.

Casemiro’s departure means Aurelien Tchouameni becomes the obvious pick in the No. 6 role for Real Madrid, while Eduardo Camavinga should start again with Kroos ruled out of the contest. Luka Modric should occupy the third slot in the centre of the park, with Dani Ceballos the only backup option on the bench.

The front three of Federico Valverde, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior pick themselves for Real Madrid, although Eden Hazard could be in contention for a starting berth after an impressive cameo against Almeria last weekend.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Rudiger, Alaba; Modric, Tchouameni, Camavinga; Valverde, Benzema, Vinicius

Key Stats

  • Real Madrid have won 13 of their last 15 games away from home against Celta Vigo in La Liga (D1 L1).
  • Celta Vigo have failed to win any of their previous 16 matches against Real Madrid in La Liga (D2 L14).
  • Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been involved in nine goals in his last three games against Celta Vigo in La Liga (seven goals, two assists).
  • Celta Vigo striker Iago Aspas has provided four assists in his last nine games against Real Madrid in La Liga.
  • Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has won five games in La Liga against Celta Vigo (L1). Only against Granada and Rayo Vallecano has he picked up more victories in the competition (6).

Player to Watch

Antonio Rudiger

One of the two signings that Real Madrid have made this summer, Rudiger did not have a La Liga debut to remember as he struggled in the early exchanges against Almeria last weekend and was culpable for the goal that the newly-promoted side scored.

There could be a chance that he is dropped by Carlo Ancelotti, who might opt to continue with the reliable centre-back pairing of Eder Militao and David Alaba. But given the German’s quality and pedigree and the leadership he brings to the table, having him in the lineup would be more beneficial for Real Madrid despite his dodgy start. 

So, on Saturday, Ancelotti could go with a new-look centre-back pairing of Militao and Rudiger, with Alaba moving to left-back at the expense of Ferland Mendy. But, Rudiger must make use of any opportunity he gets and set the tone early in the season, or he could risk playing second-fiddle for the rest of the season.

Prediction

Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid

Celta Vigo have not won a game against Real Madrid in over eight years, but in Iago Aspas, they have a player who can hurt the champions. Real Madrid, meanwhile, will be aiming to successfully incorporate new signings Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger into their lineup while dealing with the departure of Casemiro.

So, there is a chance that Real Madrid could be a bit scratchy, which could give the hosts an opportunity. However, the quality of their attack and Karim Benzema’s record against Celta means that the scales are tipped in favour of the champions.

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