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Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo, La Liga 2016-17: Match Preview

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Time to turn the lights on at the Bernabéu.

Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid play their home opener tomorrow against Celta Vigo.

After earning promotion in 2011, Celta Vigo have done nothing but ascend in La Liga. In 2012 they avoided relegation by a single point, but fast-forward to last year and they finished 6th, earning a Europa League spot. Celta will be hard-pressed to continue this rise in La Liga with the chore of European play calling, as well as the departures of Nolito and Augusto Fernández. Fernández went off to Atlético in the winter, and in July, Celta reluctantly sold Nolito to Manchester City for €18 million. Nolito was their undisputed star, and now Iago Aspas will be the guy through whom their offense runs. Aspas plays at the top of Celta's 4-2-3-1.

Celta were the only team in the top six with a negative goal difference (-8), and yet they thrived thanks to their ability to win close matches (13 of their 17 wins were one-goal games). Our frenemies over at Into The Calderon have a nice preview of Celta this season. Celta lost at home last week to Leganés, who were playing in their first ever Primera División match.

Over in the capital, not a ton has changed for Madrid between last week and now. The good news is that Luka Modrić is back! Bad news is that everyone else is still hurt.

Though, many of the fill-ins for Real's injured starters played outstandingly well last week. Raphaël Varane looked fantastic in Pepe's absence, Mateo Kovačić put in arguably his best performance yet for Madrid, Álvaro Morata looked infinitely better than he did in preseason, and Marco Asensio continued to make us all fall in love with him. Modrić will almost certainly push Kovačić back to the bench, but the rest of the lineup from the Sociedad match will likely remain unchanged.

Celta haven't fared well at the Bernabéu since their re-entrance to La Liga, losing all four matches, and their only goal in that stretch came in last year's 7-1 pummeling. And yet despite all this, the Galician side are still a tough out and Real will have to work to get a result.

Kickoff:

Saturday, 27 August 2016 at 2:15PM EST.

Projected lineups:

Real Madrid: Casilla; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Casemiro, Kroos, Modrić; Bale, Morata, Asensio

Celta Vigo: Álvares; Jonny, Roncaglia, Gómez, Mallo; Díaz, Wass; Bongonda, Orellana, Sisto; Aspas

Staff predictions:

This season, the MM staff will be keeping a running tally of who lands the most accurate predictions over the length of the season. Scoring will be: 1 point for guessing the correct result, 2 points for the correct scoreline, and 3 points for correct goal-scorers. Feel free to guess and follow along in the comments below!

Name Result (1pt) Score (2pts) Goal Scorers (3pts) Total to date
Om Home win for RM 3-1 Bale, Asensio, Morata; Orellana 1
Kiyan Home win for RM 6-0 Morata x2, Bale x2, Asensio, Ramos 1
Timm Home win for RM 4-1 Bale, Asensio, Morata, Kroos; Sisto 1
Mike Home win for RM 2-0 Bale, Morata 1
Lucas Home win for RM 4-1 Bale x2, Ramos, Morata 2
Nate Home win for RM 2-0 Bale, Morata 1
Marc Home win for RM 3-0 Bale, Morata, Marcelo 0