La Liga Betting: Real Madrid v Celta Vigo



A defensive crisis has hit the Bernabéu, with the FIFA virus striking again. Full-backs Marcelo, Fábio Coentrão and Álvaro Arbeloa all picked up injuries whilst on international duty, with the Brazilian facing the longest period out due to a dreaded metatarsal break. At least they can take comfort from having Pepe at centre-back, who has clearly got under the skin of Catalan journalist Luis Mascaro this week; the latter described the Portuguese as the "Hannibal Lecter of pro football" and "Mourinho's Taliban" in an article for pro-Barça newspaper Sport.

Celta manager Paco Herrera has a wealth of experience managing in the lower divisions, but maintaining top flight status would be a huge achievement for 'O Celtiña'. The former Liverpool coach and Espanyol sporting director was once described as the "eyes of Rafa Benitez".

Team news

Who will line up in Real's back four is anyone's guess, but here goes. In a bid to solve his right-back issue and annoy Sergio Ramos further, the Spaniard will probably be shunted out wide. Raphaël Varane is also doubtful; should he not be fully fit then Raul Albiol will join Pepe at the heart of the defence, whilst youngster Nacho will surely cover the left-hand side, having been given his first team debut by Mourinho last season. Karim Benzema suffered a slight knock against Spain, but should recover sufficiently to play some part here. Whether he starts will be down to how tired Gonzalo Higuaín feels following a trip back from Chile.

With former Sevilla goalkeeper Javi Varas between the posts, Celta woild have at least some chance of keeping the score respectable, but he is doubtful and could be replaced by Sergio Álvarez. They are particularly strong attacking on the right-hand side through young full-back Hugo Mallo and Augusto Fernández, while Iago Aspas will be looking to make a name for himself. He has three goals already this term and is at 14.00 for first goal.

Form

The match at the Camp Nou seemed like a signal of intent from Madrid - a gentle reminder that they aren't finished just yet. They have five wins from four, scoring a minimum of two goals in each, so over 2.5 goals is worth a look at 1.27.

Having had the best away form in the Segunda last term, Celta are finding the Primera a whole new ball game. Three defeats in their three games on the road to date isn't a great start, and a trip to Madrid is unlikely to ease their troubles.

Recent head-to-head

Having not been to the Santiago Bernabéu for six years, the away team holds fond memories: they have won on their last two visits to the stadium. For a surprise Celta victory you can get a brilliant 24.00.

Goalscorer betting

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated his 100th international cap against Northern Ireland, though it was a disappointing week for Portugal; a draw and a loss puts them in a precarious position in trying to qualifier for the World Cup. CR7 is a different breed in all-white, though. His double in El Clasico moved him onto eight in the league, and he has ten goals in his last five games in a Real Madrid shirt. It's over a month since he failed to hit the net for his club side. To open the scoring against newly-promoted Celta he is 2.80.

Verdict

Real Madrid have a few problems and their defeat to Sevilla also came following an international break. But they should still have too much in their locker for a Celta Vigo side that has travelled poorly this season. Real Madrid win is at a marginal 1.13.

Bonus bet

In their three away defeats, Celta have lost to the scoreline 2-1. While it's unlikely to be as close in this one, it might be worth a little punt at 7.25 for the trend to continue.

Score prediction

Real Madrid 3-1 Celta Vigo (10.00)