Celta Vigo v Villarreal – Balaídos at 15:15 Live at Sky Sports
After three impressive seasons during which time he led Celta Vigo to a sixth-place finish in 2015/16 (their highest since 2002/03) and subsequently to the semi-finals of the Europa League last term, as well as consecutive Copa del Rey semi-finals, head coach Eduardo Berizzo moved on in the summer.
Juan Carlos Unzue – Luis Enrique’s assistant at Barcelona and indeed at Celta in 2013/14 – was named as the new boss at Balaídos with a remit to continue the Sky Blues ascent this season. A decent transfer window, including the arrivals of Emre Mor and Stanislav Lobotka, also promised plenty.
However, a slightly sticky start to the new campaign saw the Galicians revert to type. Last term’s tried and trusted personnel returned to the fold and gradually Unzue saw the fruit’s of his labour begin to flower and Celta have since produced a number of eye-catching performances.
The Vigo-based club has picked up seven points from their past five fixtures despite three of their opponents holding down top-five positions in the league table. Those encouraging results and displays have allowed the hosts to slide into their customary mid-table position.
Top goalscorer Iago Aspas has been in superlative nick – notching seven goals in his last seven games – but misses out following a tempestuous encounter with Valencia last time out. Aspas collected his fifth booking of the season to incur a suspension whilst goalkeeper Ruben Blanco, right-back, Hugo Mallo and central defender Sergi Gomez are also ruled out for Celta.
Nevertheless, visitors Villarreal have been decimated with injuries and suspensions. Winger Dani Raba was dismissed against Barcelona last weekend whilst star forward Cedric Bakambu picked up his fifth caution of the campaign to also suffer a suspension.
With fellow strikers Carlos Bacca and Nicola Sansone injured, the Yellow Submarine will be without 27 of the 35 goals they’ve scored across all competitions this season. And without Bakambu, Villarreal have averaged 48% fewer goals per game since the start of last season.
Oppose patched up guests
Villarreal’s hopes of Champions League qualification, distant as they always were, are already fading fast. They remain sixth, but they’re 10 points behind Real Madrid in fourth and victory over Ponferradina in the Copa del Rey is the only game in their last five in which they’ve avoided defeat.
Considering the away side have been beaten in half of their road trips already in 2017/18, plus the magnitude of key personnel absent, it makes sense to oppose Villarreal here with Celta Vigo attractive 1.760 shots off a scratch 0 Asian Handicap start on Sunday.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Celta Vigo DNB at 1.760
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Another Asian handicap preview for La Liga fixture this Sunday, Las Palmas v Espanyol. Check it out!