4th place Real Madrid will be away at the Balaídos against 11th place Celta Vigo in the first La Liga match in 2 weeks. The last Liga match was of course El Clásico, perhaps the most embarrassing home loss of the season with a 3-0 score. Real is falling farther and farther behind the pack at just 31 points, 6 behind Valencia for 3rd and 8 behind Atlético for 2nd. Being 14 points in back of Barcelona for first is certainly the nail in the coffin on the La Liga title hopes for Los Blancos.
Just about every match is a must-win at this point if Real hopes to finish in the top 4 for next season’s Champions League. It feels weird to say that Real may not feature in next year’s competition, unless they manage to repeat this year, but they are currently only 2 points ahead of Sevilla. Real must take 3 points in all of the remaining “easier” fixtures on their schedule. A disappointing La Liga season so far, Real cannot continue their woes if they hope to finish top 4, which surely must be the goal for the rest of this season.
Well, injuries have certainly been the theme of the season for Real so why would this week be any different. They’ll be without their captain Sergio Ramos, who will miss the next 2-3 weeks with a muscle strain he sustained during training.
Karim Benzema will also miss the trip to Vigo while still recovering from an injury he took during Clásico. Carvajal will also miss Sunday’s match after receiving a red card against Barcelona that he must now serve.
So, that leaves Real without their starting striker, their captain, and one of the best right backs in the world.
At the time of writing, Real has yet to submit their official roster for the Vigo match; but we can surely make some educated predictions:
Navas, Achraf, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Bale, Ronaldo
With Bale now back and Benzema out, Zidane will most likely start both Bale and Ronaldo up top and Isco in the playmaker role. Achraf will once again fill in for Carvajal at right back, as he’s done several times this season. And Nacho will get the nod to fill in for Ramos. It’s likely Casemiro will also start over Kovacic, who started against Barcelona. If this potential lineup pans out, expect Asensio, Kovacic, and either Vasquez or Ceballos to come off the bench as subs.
We’ll base Vigo’s potential lineup off their squad that featured against Deportivo two weeks ago:
Blanco, Mallo, Cabral, Gomez, Jonny; Wass, Lobotka, Hernandez; Aspas, Sisto, Goméz Gonzalez
3-1 Real Madrid-Celta Vigo
Real must win this match, no draw or loss will suffice. If Sevilla loses to Betis, that gives Real the chance to move up on them by 5 points with a win. With key players out to injury and suspension, it’s even more crucial that Real’s stars show up and come to take all available points. Real have fared pretty well on the road this season, so that trend can continue in their goal for top 4.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA
Time: 20:45 CET, 02:45pm EST, 11:45 am Pacific.
Venue: Balaidos, Vigo, Spain.
Available Streaming: BeIN Sports (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a summer discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).