Under head coach Carlos Carvalhal, Celta Vigo has had a remarkable turnaround, and they are now aiming for a top-half finish in La Liga for just the second time in seven seasons. The Sky Blues scored twice late to come from behind and draw 2-2 with Sevilla last weekend. As a result of their one loss in ten games (W5, D4), they completed matchday 28 in tenth place in the standings.
When Carvalhal assumed control in November, Celta had lost seven of its previous nine games (W1, D1) before to his debut match against Osasuna. The Portuguese made his team resilient, and they are now seeking to maintain their remarkable home record of only one loss in their previous seven games at Balados (W3, D3), with all three victories coming with a clean sheet. Relegation appeared like a serious possibility before the Portuguese took over, but his team is now difficult to beat.
Visitors Mallorca, who have only lost twice in the previous 12 encounters between the two teams (W6, D4), are hoping to put an end to that streak. Given that they have been pulled uncomfortably close to the relegation zone during a run of six games without a victory (D3, L3), the Pirates will be anxious to resume that kind of form.
Javier Aguirre’s team lost the lead in a 3-3 tie with Real Valladolid, and they ended the previous round just seven points above the bottom three. The manager acknowledges that his team’s defense needs to improve if they are to move up the standings, saying “we weren’t very solid” as they failed to keep a clean sheet for the seventh match in a row on the road (D1, L6), conceding at least twice in five of those games.
Iago Aspas, a striker for Celta, scored four goals in five head-to-head matches with Mallorca, but just once (D2, L2). Vedat Muriqi scored twice last week, bringing his league total this season to 12, with ten of those goals coming as Mallorca’s first scorer.
Goncalo Pacienca, who shone off the bench at Sevilla and scored the game-tying goal, may be added back to Celta Vigo’s assault.
Although Carvalhal is unlikely to make that many changes, Luca de la Torre and Jorgen Strand Larsen will both be taken into consideration for a recall.
After serving a one-match suspension for receiving five yellow cards, Gabri Veiga should start in central midfield again.
After receiving his tenth caution of the year in the Valladolid game, Jaume Costa will not play for Mallorca.
Due to Ludwig Augustinsson’s injury, Pablo Maffeo might fill in at left-back, allowing Giovanni Gonzalez to rejoin the club at right-back after serving a ban.
Iddrisu Baba is also available after serving a one-match suspension and might play in midfield, although Jose Copete is still out due to his red card against Osasuna.
Possible starting lineup for Celta Vigo
Villar, Mallo, Aidoo, Nunez, Galan, Perez, Veiga, Beltran, De La Torre, along with Aspas and Pacienca.
Possible starting lineup for Mallorca
Rajkovic, Gonzalez, Valjent, Raillo, Hadzikadunic, Maffeo, Ndiaye, Galarreta, Morlanes, Kang-In, and Muriqi.
We predict: Celta Vigo 2-1 Mallorca
Even though there are only two points separating the two teams, Celta Vigo are in far better shape. Although Mallorca might put their hosts to the test for a while, we anticipate Carvalhal’s team to fight their way to a crucial three points.