LA LIGA expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) analyses the odds for Monday night’s contest between Celta Vigo and Granada.
Celta Vigo v Granada | Monday 19.30 | Sky Sports 3
Since February, Celta Vigo have lost just twice in 12 (W5-D5-L2) – those two defeats were 6-1 in the Camp Nou and 7-1 in the Bernabeu. But the results didn’t tell the whole story as Celta were competitive and dangerous for large swathes in both of those humbling setbacks.
Nevertheless, Eduardo Berizzo’s boys have recovered well to keep their Europa League prospects alive and head into Monday night’s match unbeaten in seven (W3-D3-L1). Exclude the defeats to the two giants, only once in 10 have the Sky Blues shipped more than one goal in a game.
Celta have Nolito back fit and firing, Fabian Orellana impressing in full flow as well as Iago Aspas and Pablo Hernandez making headlines in a fluent and attack-minded offensive structure. Daniel Wass is expected to recover and return here too.
However, despite their wealth of forward options, the Vigo-based club have proven surprisingly goalshy of late, scoring Over 1.5 Goals in just three of their last 18 La Liga encounters – eight of their last nine fixtures have fallen below the 2.5 goals line.
But Celta are rated strong 4/7 favourites to pick up maximum points here and it’s understandable when viewing their return at Balaídos when hosting bottom-half teams under Berizzo’s watch – W11-D6-L2.
The Sky Blues boast an excellent W6-D4-L0 head-to-head record with Granada on home soil, keeping seven clean sheets during that sample, and since returning to the top-flight, the guests have only W1-D3-L3 against Celta.
Granada will arrive high on confidence after demolishing relegation rivals Levante 5-1 on Thursday night but El Grana only won the shots-on-target count 6-5 in that encounter. Indeed, since José González arrived on a rescue mission, shots have been in short supply.
The visitors are averaging just 3.00 shots-on-target during their nine matches (W3-D4-L2) but have tightened up at the back too, facing just 2.77 on-target efforts – together Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid managed just four shots-on-target in total when welcoming Granada recently.
But on Monday night, El Grana make the journey north without suspended central defender Ricardo Costa and defensive midfielder Ruben Perez. Going forward, Isaac Success looks unlikely to play through injury leaving hat-trick hero Youssef El-Arabi to head the attack.
They’re two significant defensive blows for the visitors who hold a rotten record when travelling to La Liga’s elite. Each of Granada’s last eight visitors to top-six teams have ended in defeat with seven of their last nine seeing the away side lose by two or more goals.
And since promotion to the Spanish top-flight for the 2011/12 campaign, El Grana have W5-D8-L35 at top-half teams, keeping just five clean sheets.
Granada have certainly improved under González and they certainly have the potential to frustrate Celta here but I’m expecting the Galicians to find a way in front of their home supporters and secure a narrow three points.
With that in mind, I like the 7/4 on offer for a home win by 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 from SkyBet – it’s proven a profitable formula in 10 of Celta’s 15 victories this season, including their last four with nine of Granada’s 17 league losses following suit.
Celta Vigo v Granada – Celta Vigo to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 (7/4 SkyBet)
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