Verdict: Real Madrid win
Best Odds: 8/11
Desperate to make up some ground at the top of the table, Real Madrid will make the trip to Balaídos when they face off against Celta Vigo on Saturday afternoon.
Starting with the hosts, while Celta Vigo might have dominated large spells of proceedings against Athletic Bilbao last weekend, The Sky Blues eventually had to settle for a 0-0 stalemate on home soil. Unable to build off of what was an action-packed 4-3 victory against Huesca earlier in the month, Eduardo Coudet’s side have gained a reputation for their inconsistencies. With many criticising their 2-0 loss against Valencia on February 20th, Los Celestes have shown some real issues since opening 2021. Despite opening the New Year with some in their camp even dreaming of mounting a shock European charge, the former Internacional boss has seen his side record just a pair of wins in their last 12 matchups across all formats. With that run highlighted by a woeful 5-2 defeat against lower-league Ibiza while on Copa del Rey duties back in January, it should also be noted that Celta have recorded just a single home victory in their five fixtures since the start of the year.
Celta Vigo have confirmed that the trio of Ruben Blanco, Emre Mor and Sergio Alvarez will once again be missing this weekend.
However, in a boost for Saturday’s hosts, skipper Hugo Mallo will return following a one-match suspension.
As for the visitors, managing to book a Champions League knockout tie against Liverpool earlier in the week, Real Madrid will be desperate to keep up that momentum on the road. Eventually claiming a 3-1 win against Italian outfit Atalanta in the capital, Los Blancos will now have their sights set on trying to close the buffer at the top of the table. Opening up this weekend’s fixtures sat six points adrift of league leaders and bitter rivals Atletico Madrid, the defending Spanish champions know that they must start to make up some ground. Although Zinedine Zidane’s side might not have been able to find top-gear with much stability this season, the former French icon finds his side currently enjoying a nine-match unbeaten run across all formats. With leading marksman Karim Benzema once again getting himself on the scoresheet against Atalanta in midweek, it should also be noted that Madrid picked up a 2-0 win when they faced off against Saturday’s hosts back in January.
Along with Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola and Mariano Diaz, Eden Hazard is the latest star to join Real Madrid’s injury list.
However, midfielder Casemiro will be available for selection after serving a suspension.
Key Factors to Consider
- When the two sides faced off in the Spanish capital back in January, Real Madrid picked up a 2-0 win.
- Los Blancos striker Karim Benzema has scored in his last five appearances on the bounce, bagging six goals.
- Celta Vigo have managed to win just a pair of their last 12 matchups across all formats.
- Likewise, Saturday’s hosts have won just one of their five home fixtures since opening 2021.
- Real Madrid are unbeaten in each of their last seven trips to Balaídos, a run that stems back to 2014.
While Real Madrid might have struggled to find top form domestically, the defending Spanish champions should be smelling a real chance this weekend. Picking up a 3-1 win against Atalanta on Champions League duties in midweek, Los Blancos are unbeaten in each of their last nine straight matchups across all formats. With the red-hot Karim Benzema spearheading their charge, Celta Vigo should face another stern test on home soil. Showing a string of issues since opening the New Year and with just a pair of wins in their previous 12 contests, it should also be noted that Zidane’s side hold an eye-catching record at Balaídos. Unbeaten away at Celta since 2014, a seven-match run, we’re backing a similar away victory on Saturday afternoon.
Verdict: Real Madrid win
Best Odds: 8/11
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