After securing late victories in their past two La Liga games it’ll be a buoyant Atletico Madrid who head to Vigo on Sunday night, even though Barcelona are likely to have knocked them off the top of the Liga table by then.
Barca host Granada at the Camp Nou in what is likely to be the simplest of home victories, but that shouldn’t deter an Atletico side that is likely to show a host of changes from the one which drew at Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey in midweek.
Diego Simeone will be mindful of the fact that his team haven’t quite been in top gear over the past couple of weeks in league fixtures, but they’ll need to be against a Celta side enjoying a fine campaign and currently sitting fifth in the table.
That said, two defeats in their last two league games will ensure it will be a somewhat nervy Celta who play host on Sunday night, in what promises to be a keenly fought contest.
Date: Sunday, January 10
Time: 7:30 p.m. GMT / 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Estadio de Balaidos, Vigo
TV Info: Sky Sports 2
Live Stream: Sky Sports
Last 6 Results
Won 1-0 vs. Espanyol (Home)
Won 1-0 vs. Almeria (Home)
Won 2-0 vs. Granada (Away)
Lost 1-0 vs. Athletic Bilbao (Home)
Lost 2-0 vs. Malaga (Away)
Won 3-0 vs. Cadiz (Away)
Won 2-1 vs. Athletic Bilbao (Home)
Won 1-0 vs. Reus (Home)
Lost 1-0 vs. Malaga (Away)
Won 2-0 vs. Rayo Vallecano (Away)
Won 1-0 vs. Levante (Home)
Drew 1-1 vs. Rayo Vallecano (Away)
Sergio Alvarez will start in goal for Celta after Ruben Blanco’s red card in the 2-0 defeat at Malaga in the league last week, while both Nolito and Fontas are still out injured.
Forward John Guidetti made his case for a La Liga start with two goals in Thursday night’s 3-0 Copa del Rey victory at Cadiz, but he’s still likely to return to the bench as coach Eduardo Berizzo opts to start with Iago Aspas in attack and flood the midfield behind him.
Fabian Orellana was replaced after an hour against Cadiz in order to get ready for this clash.
Possible XI: Sergio Alvarez, Johny Castro, Hugo Mallo, Cabral, Planas, Sergi Gomez, Wass, Orellana, Hernandez, Josep Sene, Iago Aspas.
Diego Simeone shuffled his pack for the trip to Rayo Vallecano in the Copa del Rey in midweek, but we should see plenty of his big-hitters return here.
New midfield signings Matias Kranevitter and Augusto Fernandez were able to make their Atletico debuts in Vallecano, but both of those two and Thomas Partey could well return to the bench as Simeone’s first-choice midfield of Koke, Gabi and Saul return to their positions.
There should be changes at the back, too, while in attack Jackson Martinez and Angel Correa could come back into the side after Fernando Torres again disappointed on Wednesday.
Possible XI: Oblak, Juanfran, Savic, Godin, Filipe Luis, Saul, Gabi, Koke, Correa, Griezmann, Martinez.
Celta Vigo: Iago Aspas
The form of ex-Liverpool forward Iago Aspas this season might surprise Reds supporters as they saw him struggle badly during his lone campaign at Anfield, but his 10 goals in 19 appearances have been a key reason behind his side’s impressive form.
Rested for the cup clash in midweek, he’ll return here, with his movement and finishing ability likely to prove crucial against the meanest defence in La Liga this season—which has conceded only eight times.
Atletico Madrid: Thomas Partey
It might look strange given that we’ve not named him in our possible Atletico XI, but the introduction of Ghanaian midfielder Thomas Partey from the bench could be crucial depending on how the game is going.
The 22-year-old has made critical interventions late on in the last two La Liga games, scoring the winner against Levante, and if he can come on to good effect again here then a starting berth might not be too far away.
Odds (via Odds Shark)
Celta Vigo – 5/2
Atletico Madrid – 21/20
Draw – 21/10