LaLiga and Real Madrid are back on Saturday when Real take on RC Celta at the Balaídos. After a rather disappointing preseason, there’s a lot of questions still with this Real Madrid squad heading into this opening match. To make matters a bit worse, they are taking injury hits to players before the season has even officially kicked off, including Eden Hazard now.
Celta had a bit of an eventful summer themselves after finishing 17th in the league last season. They lost Maxi Gómez to Valencia, a significant loss for the club and their attack. They did bring in Denis Suárez from Barcelona and received youngster Santi Mina from Valencia. This is also Fran Escribá’s first opener with Celta, after being appointed manager in March.
Real need to come out and get a road win, especially with Barcelona losing to Athletic in their opener. It won’t be easy given the significant injuries they have to the squad but they must get off on the right foot regardless.
One of the biggest problems Real have had the last few seasons in keeping up with Barcelona has been not being able to capitalize on their losses.
This is Real’s chance to put the preseason behind them and start off the Spanish season’s opening weekend with a win, but as we know, it’s much easier said than done.
Real Madrid have quite a few injuries as previously mentioned including: Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Marco Asensio and Rodrygo.
Celta could likely be without captain Hugo Mallo, newcomer Santi Mina and David Juncà.
Carvajal is seemingly suspended once again, despite being listed in Real’s 22-man squad. It was reported earlier Friday that he would be pardoned from suspension, but the request from the Spanish FA has since been rejected by the Competition Committee. So, Carvajal is indeed suspended for this opener.
Courtois; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco; Benzema, Jovic
This is the exact lineup MARCA has predicted for Saturday’s match. I’m going to have to agree with them on this because this is what I believe we may end up seeing against Celta.
Zidane does have a few options, though. He could stick to the 4-3-3 by starting Vinicius and Bale alongside Benzema. However, I think it’s more likely we see Bale and James off the bench since they really didn’t start in preseason. There’s always Vazquez on that right wing as well as a potential option for Zidane.
Rubén; Kevin, Aidoo, Costas, Olaza; Brais, Lobotka, Beltran, Suárez; Gabriel, Aspas
Celta Vigo—Real Madrid 2-3
The biggest things to look for in this match is how, if at all, the defense and midfield have changed from preseason. Real Madrid were sieves at the back, conceding around 17 goals in those scrimmages. This was largely due to a poor midfield and defense that were having glaring issues in many of these matches.
Real need a win to get on the right track early this season, especially to capitalize on a Barcelona loss. They also need the win to settle a lot of questions many still have with this club, it’s a bit hazy what the true identity of the squad really is right now.
They should be able to get the job done, despite the injuries. It won’t be easy, but there’s still quality to be had in this team. The midfield and defense need to step up and be a bit more defensively sound.
It’s great to see LaLiga coming back in action after a long summer of ups and downs. Hopefully, Real can start this new season on one of these ups.