Real Madrid vs Celta Vigo – Copa Del Rey Quarter-Final – 3 Things to Look out For


Real Madrid face Celta Vigo at the Bernabeu on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarter-finals. Alex McVey goes over things Madrid fans should look out for in this match.

Déjà vu? Let’s hope not. 

We’ve seen this all before. It was January, 2015, and Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid was also in the middle of a historic streak, this time a 22 match win-streak. Facing a tough Valencia team away, a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo put Madrid up, and it looked like the streak would continue. However, two late goals from Valencia would end Madrid’s streak, an ultimate harbinger of terrible things to come. Madrid were then knocked out of the Copa Del Rey by their cross-town rivals from Atletico Madrid, precipitating a disastrous trophy-less season that eventually saw the demise of Ancelotti at Madrid. 

Is this sounding familiar yet? Coming off of a 2-1 defeat against Sevilla in the league, in which a CR7 penalty was not enough to see Madrid to the finish line, Madrid will be looking to avoid déjà vu against Celta Vigo. While Vigo is certainly not as tough a competition as Simeone’s then-rampant Atletico, they will still be a challenge. Madrid will need to be mentally focused to avoid sliding into a Groundhog’s Day-esque catastrophe. 

Rotations, Rotations, Rotations.

One key difference between the aforementioned disastrous 14-15 campaign and the present one is that Zidane has a deeper squad and has been able to rotate his squad more often and to greater result. Be on the lookout for more rotations against Vigo, as Madrid’s players looked gassed at the end of the Sevilla match.

The likes of Asensio, Vazquez, and Mariano were unused against Sevilla at the weekend, and could provide a fresh pair of legs for this crucial Copa tie. In addition, Isco is back from injury, and could be expected to return to the starting lineup. The question ahead of the Vigo match is not whether Zidane will rotate, but by how much, and who.

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Another interesting tidbit regarding rotations is that Cristiano Ronaldo will be making his first appearance in the Copa Del Rey in two years. Madrid were eliminated early from the Copa Del Rey last season after fielding the ineligible Denis Cheryshev, and Zidane has used the domestic cup competition to rest his talisman thus far. Not so against Vigo, as Ronaldo is expected to return to the starting lineup. Ronaldo’s season has been hot-and-cold for Madrid thus far, so Madrid will be hoping for him to step up his game on Wednesday.

Vigo is tough, but Madrid can get the job done. 

Madrid certainly avoided much tougher opponents by drawing Celta Vigo, but the Galician team should not be overlooked. Celta have been a strong team at home, but considerably weaker on the road, coming away with a single win in their last 12 away matches.

Iago Aspas is their main goal threat, with 14 goals and 4 assists across all competitions with Vigo this season. The Spanish forward is good at holding up play, and likes to take shots from distance, so Madrid’s keeper, whether it is Kiko Casilla or Keylor Navas, will have to do better on their positioning than Navas managed against Sevilla. 

Vigo is much poorer defensively, however, conceding 32 goals in the league thus far.  They are weak defending set pieces, stopping attacks down the wings, and poor at preventing opponents from making lots of chances. This plays right into Madrid’s strengths, as the vast majority of Madrid’s goals come from whipping a high volume of low probability crosses in and scoring on headers and set pieces. Madrid should look to exploit these vulnerabilities. 

The key in this first leg at the Bernabeu, however, will be preventing an away goal. Hopefully Madrid can avoid the stupid mental lapses that cost them big against Sevilla, and carry a big lead into the second leg.

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