Las Palmas v Celta Vigo – Gran Canaria Stadium at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 3
Las Palmas lead La Liga for the first time in 27 years after opening their 2016/17 account with back-to-back victories. And although Quique Setien’s men have since returned W1-D3-L3, the Yellows have continued to thrill.
Last weekend the Islanders scored arguably the goal of the season at Villarreal; a beautiful move that began with 18 passes from one end of the pitch to the other. Which ended with an audacious volleyed backheel assist, and an even lovelier volleyed finish from Kevin-Prince Boateng.
That wonder goal put Las Palmas into the lead at El Madrigal but it wasn’t enough. A last-minute goal winner downed the Yellows but only after Villarreal had levelled following a very ropey penalty decision. Setien was understandably fuming, saying “I would like to know, if it was the other way round, whether the referee would have the balls to give it? There’s no respect for the teams lower down.”
Las Palmas not to be undestimated
Still, Las Palmas remain a dangerous outfit. Whilst the Canary Islanders feature towards the bottom of La Liga’s shot table, the hosts have managed to land almost half of their attempts on target and specialise in a superb counter-attacking game under Setien.
There is a steely, lethal purpose to Las Palmas’ play, too with Vicente Gomez and Roque Mesa’s tidy resolve in midfield. That allows for their side’s front four to play with relative freedom as soon as possession is turned over.
Under Setien the hosts have flourished, averaging over 1.30 points per-game. In 19 games at their Estadio Gran Canaria base under his watch, Las Palmas have W9-D6-L4. Three of those defeats arriving against La Liga’s big-three.
The Yellows welcome Marko Livaja back from suspension to lead the line. With Michel Macedo and Tana fit to return to the fold, Setien has plenty of options to choose from. A second win in eight is a distinct possibility.
Celta no longer struggling
Visitors Celta Vigo have recovered strongly from their slow start to the season (W0-D1-L3) to collect W4-D0-L1. Including last weekend’s terrific 4-1 thumping of bitter rivals Deportivo La Coruna in the Galician derby.
In four of their last five fixtures the Sky Blues have scored at least twice and with Claudio Beauvue the only injury concern for Eduardo Berizzo’s boys, Celta will fancy their chances of coming out on top in Sunday’s showdown.
In 42 matches under Berizzo’s charge, Celta have won 14 (33%) and having suffered nine losses in their most recent 15 road trips, supporting the visitors makes little appeal. However, I do expect the Vigo-based visitors to play their part in an aesthetically-pleased encounter.
Goals the favoured approach
Both Las Palmas and Celta are renowned for their positive approaches and this weekend’s clash could well provide plenty of goalmouth entertainment. The past six meetings have all featured three goals or more and I’m keen to explore a repeat at generous 1.91 quotes here.
Over 2.5 Goals has copped in eight of Las Palmas’ past 10 La Liga duels dating back to last season, as well as 10/19 (53%) of their home games under Setien.
Celta haven’t proven to be quite as prolific but with their hosts shipping at least two goals in four of their past five and with a full-strength attack available, I’d expect the Galicians to make their mark on the scoresheet.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Over 2.5 Goals at 1.91
Prices correct at time of writing.
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