Celta Vigo host Real Madrid in the highly anticipated opening weekend of the La Liga season, kicking off at 5:00pm local time on Saturday. What type of campaign will Real Madrid conjure up this year after such a dismaying season? And will Celta Vigo be close to the drop again?

Home Team: Celta Vigo

Celta Vigo, semi-finalists of the Europa League back in 2017, can count their lucky stars they were not relegated from La Liga last season. In the end, they finished four points clear of the drop, and were largely helped by beating Barcelona’s B team 2-0 with a few games left in the season. That unexpected win against a team who had rested the likes of Messi and Suarez, gave them breathing space, and effectively kept them up.

The whole season wasn’t a disastrous one, as they were in the top half of the table until December, until it got detrimentally worse following Christmas as they plummeted down the league. In the summer, they did sell star striker Maxi Gomez to Valencia, but have used his funds to strengthen their defensive and midfield areas with acquisitions such as Denis Suarez and Joseph Aidoo. Will this be good business for Celta Vigo? Only time will tell.

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Away Team: Real Madrid

Very rarely I steal a quote from the great Forrest Gump films, but now it feels right, as Real Madrid seasons can be like a box of chocolates ‘you never know what you’re gonna get’. Four Champions League successes out five years, and last season, they were humbled by Ajax in the Champions League, producing several depraved performances in La Liga, as they never got close to the title.

Zinedine Zidane has an almighty task to do, but he has been backed in the summer to bring in players such as Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo for a combined fee of… £275million. They have recouped some of that back of other players, but nonetheless, they are trying to assemble a squad capable of competing for La Liga and Champions League again. The main talking point of the summer as been about Gareth Bale staying or going, but he played a part in their most recent friendly, as he scored in a losing penalty shoot-out.

Will he be involved on Saturday? I highly doubt it.

Head to Head

Real Madrid have a dominant record over Celta Vigo, winning the last nine of their last ten league clashes. In last season’s meetings, Real Madrid won 4-2 away from home, before winning 2-0 at home in the return leg. Celta Vigo did earn a 2-2 draw at home to Real Madrid in the 2017/2018, and it’s their only point against Real Madrid on home turf since beating them back in 2014.

Predictions and Betting Tips

Celta Vigo are at 16/5 to win, with Real Madrid favourites at 8/11. For the sides to draw, that is backed at 3/1. Usually, Real Madrid would be given more favourable odds to win a game against a side fighting relegation, but given the unpredictable nature of the club, it may be wise to tread lightly.

Real Madrid let me, and many other bettors down last season, losing some silly games, but I anticipate them getting a win here, and I’d go for a 2-1 score line at 15/2. For goal scorers, I’d like to see Eden Hazard (11/8) or Karim Benzema (11/10) to score at any time. To boost odds on a Real Madrid win, you can back them to win by exactly 2 goals at 4/1, or win both halves at 3/1.

Finally, for the tipsters, the big money can be gained by backing Celta Vigo to win by any score line, so if you were to pick a 3-1 home win (which Real Madrid can be capable of letting happen), it’s at a generous 33/1.

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