While their weekend’s La Liga fixture ended all squared, Sevilla head into the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final carrying a massive four-goal advantage from the first leg. Celta Vigo clearly face a mountain to climb, but they are unlikely to surrender without a fight, especially since the Sky Blues need to kick-start their season with a morale-boosting triumph.
Celta Vigo have seriously raised the club’s profile in recent years, and this could prove to be their most successful season since the 2002/03 campaign, when they achieved a top 4 finish in La Liga. Led by the amazing Nolito and with his teammates also chipping in, the Sky Blues enjoyed a brilliant start to the current season, climbing to Champions League positions, but they then had the misfortune to stay without Nolito midway through December, and there are no doubts he has been sorely missed over the last six weeks. As a result, Celta went on to lose five of last seven league fixtures, although they did impress to record a 3-2 aggregate win over Atletico Madrid to reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals. However, the team then produced probably the worst performance of the entire season as they suffered a 4-0 loss to Sevilla at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, meaning it would take a genuine miracle for them to reach the final.
Fabio Orellana, Iago Aspas, Sergi Gomez and Theo Bongonda are all expected to start considering that they are banned for weekend’s clash against Barcelona.
However, the likes of Nolito and Andreu Fontas remain on the sidelines, whie Marcelo Diaz could start his first game for the club.
Sevilla have just made a huge step towards the Copa del Rey final and even though they will be vying mighty Barcelona for the coveted trophy, los Rojiblancos will have a decent chance of lifting at least one major trophy this season. The Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan outfit were always going to experience some problems this term given the major squad overhaul in the summer, but coach Unai Emery did well to keep his side on the right track, proving their worth in three top competitions. And while los Rojiblancos face an uphill task in the race for a top 4 finish in La Liga, trailing fourth-placed Villarreal eight points, the 4-0 triumph over Celta Vigo means they have all but secured their place in the Copa del Rey final. At the same time, Sevilla are in with a chance of lifting the third Europa League title in a row, meaning that this could prove to be another highly successful campaign. Heading into the Celta game on the back of a ten-match unbeaten run (W8 D2), los Rojiblancos look a good bet to win the return leg as well.
Key midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak has resumed training after recovering from a knee injury, but he is set to miss at least two more games.
Federico Fazio is available for selection despite seeing red at the weekend, but Nicolas Pareja and Marco Andreolli remain on the sidelines.
Key Factors to Consider
- Celta lost five of last seven La Liga fixtures
- The Sky Blues only won two of last six home games (D2 L2)
- Sevilla won last three away matches in Copa del Rey
- Los Rojiblancos have eight wins in last ten fixtures
- Both teams scored in three of last four meetings between Celta and Sevilla
Celta Vigo are a different side without key player Nolito and not even the players themselves believe they can overturn the four-goal deficit on Thursday evening. Meanwhile, Sevilla have shown a great deal of improvement of late and we are backing them to make it four straight away wins in Copa del Rey.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 7/5
Bookmaker: William Hill