Soccer Spain LaLiga 7 March 2023
Osasuna vs Celta Vigo - Match Preview
Osasuna are in the hunt for a first top-six La Liga (LL) finish since 2005/06 but did lose their way recently when they went winless across four league matches (D2, L2). They bounced back from that with a 3-2 success at Sevilla, followed by a Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg 1-0 win over Athletic Club. Manager Jagoba Arrasate doesn’t want the cup to be a distraction though, and was quick to point out after that win that “We have four very important league games before (the return).”
Three of those four matches are against teams coming into the round below Osasuna in the table, meaning the home side has a good opportunity to build momentum in these coming weeks. However, starting that with a win here isn’t a given, especially as Osasuna have a poor record on a Monday, never winning a home game in their LL history on that day (D6, L3).
Coincidentally, Celta Vigo have not lost any of their last five LL away games on that day of the week (W1 D4), meaning they may be set to cause Osasuna problems, particularly as the Sky Blues have lost just one of their last five league outings (W3, D1). Despite this, they start the round in 13th and are just four points clear of the relegation zone ahead of the round, meaning they can’t rest on their laurels just yet.
That’ll be the message manager Carlos Carvalhal will be trying to get across in an attempt to improve Celta’s recent record at Osasuna, as they’ve failed to win any of their last four LL matches at Estadio El Sadar (D2, L2). Failing to even score in three of those games means an improvement in Celta’s backline - which has conceded more away goals (20) than all but three LL sides ahead of the round - could be key to this contest.
📋 Key battle: Osasuna’s Abde Ezzalzouli has netted after half-time in each of his last two competitive matches. Defender Hugo Mallo will attempt to stop him, and could make his 300th LL appearance, becoming the first player in Celta's history to reach this top-flight milestone.
⚡ Hot stat: Four of Celta’s last five competitive matches have produced a red card.
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