Preview: Celta Vigo vs. Villarreal
Villarreal will be looking to make it four La Liga victories in a row when they travel to Estadio Municipal de Balaidos on Friday night to face Celta Vigo.
The Yellow Submarine’s impressive run has left them in sixth spot in the table, only one point behind fourth-placed Real Betis, while Celta sit 16th, just one point ahead of the relegation zone.
Entering last Friday’s league contest with Elche, Celta had not won in Spain’s top flight since the start of October, with the poor run of form leaving them dangerously close to the relegation zone.
However, the Sky Blues managed to secure a huge three points last time out, recording a 1-0 victory at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero courtesy of an early goal from Iago Aspas.
The win moved Celta onto 16 points from their 16 matches, which has left them in 16th position in the table, just one point ahead of 18th-placed Cadiz on the same number of games.
Carlos Carvalhal’s side were beaten by Espanyol in the Copa del Rey earlier this month, so they now only have La Liga football to concentrate on for the rest of the season, which should help them in their battle to remain at this level of football.
Celta have only lost one of their last three league matches against Villarreal and recorded a 4-2 victory over the Yellow Submarine when the two sides locked horns in May 2021, while the points were shared in a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture during the 2021-22 campaign.
Villarreal, meanwhile, will enter this match off the back of a morale-boosting victory over the champions Real Madrid last weekend.
Karim Benzema’s 60th-minute penalty cancelled out an effort from Yeremy Pino to leave the two sides level, but Gerard Moreno then scored a penalty of his own to send Quique Setien’s side back ahead, and the hosts held firm to pick up an impressive three points.
Villarreal have beaten Espanyol, Valencia and Real Madrid in their last three league matches, which has left them in sixth spot in the table on 27 points, only one point behind fourth-placed Real Betis.
Setien’s side are very much in the top-four race at this stage of the season, while they are active in two other competitions – the Europa Conference League and the Copa del Rey, with the team facing Real Madrid in the last-16 stage of the latter on January 17.
Villarreal have finished seventh in their last two La Liga campaigns, while they have not been fourth since 2015-16, so a return to the Champions League spots would go down as a hugely successful season.
Celta Vigo La Liga form:
Celta Vigo form (all competitions):
Villarreal La Liga form:
Villarreal form (all competitions):
We say: Celta Vigo 1-2 Villarreal
Villarreal have only won three of their nine away La Liga matches this season, but we just have a feeling that the Yellow Submarine will triumph here. Setien’s side were excellent against Real Madrid and will be taking on a Celta outfit that have found it difficult this term, so an away victory is being predicted.