Attack-minded Celta to take the initiative
On Monday the 7th of January Celta Vigo will take on Athletic Bilbao at the Balaidos Stadium. Celta have shown that they are a strong team on their home turf, whereas Bilbao have had serious problems away from home. Celta will head into this game with every intention of retaining their excellent home form. Bilbao will find it tough. Really tough.
For a few seasons now Celta have found themselves mid-table or just above. They have played offensive, slick football, where the attacking duo of Gomez-Aspaz have struck fear into the opposition. Collectively this troublesome duo have scored 18 goals this season.
Celta are averaging 1.67 goals scored and 1.11 conceded this season at home, and should without a doubt be considered a top half of the table team at home.
When Celta play football, they dictate the tactics, apart from the occasions when they face the league's big boys. Although they've drawn a number of games this season, they usually have a higher expected goals than their opposition. In their last four matches at home, Celta have won two, drawn one and lost one. It should be said though that this loss came against Real Madrid.
Their wins have been convincing and their losses disappointing. Even though they have strength in attack they're also tight at the back. There are a couple of rumours that Aspas may have to miss the game through injury but they always have the talented Boufal as a replacement.
- League Position: 11
Just as Celta have cemented their position as a top half of the table team, Bilbao have lost the same reputation. Bilbao have had big problems over the last few seasons, including the current one, namely they've not won a single match away from home this season, and they have lost three of the last four.
They are the league's third worst away team, and although they have quality in Williams and Muniain they're just not creating enough goal scoring opportunities or converting enough of the chances they get. You just have to look at the table. One point from the relegation zone (with one more match played than Villarreal who lie just under) and a goal difference of 16-24, 7-12 away from home.
The Basque club is in crisis, and it's unlikely to change in this match against Celta. Bilbao will no doubt miss their key players in Garcia and Alvarez as they are suspended.
- League Position: 17
Celta have no need to panic ahead of this game. They have a strong attack and their defensive line perform well at home. They head into this fixture as favourites, and will no doubt go for the same result as their last match at the Balaidos which Celta won 3-1. It's a pretty dire state of affairs at Bilbao with lack of confidence up front, and injuries to key players, things look like they can only get worse.
I'll be betting on a Celta win or your money back at odds of 8/11 with Bethard.