Celta Vigo Season Preview 2020/21 – Will things finally get better at Balaídos?

Celta Vigo season preview

Celta Vigo fans will be hoping for better in 2020/21 after two bitterly disappointing seasons in a row. The club have kept faith with Oscar Garcia but the pressure will be on him to deliver better results this term. Read on for our Celta Vigo season preview.

Last Season – 17th

Despite genuine optimism after an encouraging summer of recruitment which saw former players return to give the squad a more Galician flavour, Celta were curiously lacking in identity throughout the 2019/20 campaign. Oscar Garcia replaced Fran Escriba in November but again there was precious little for Celta fans to hang onto in terms of positive signs as the club battled relegation for the second year in a row.

Safety seemed to have been secured when they hammered Alaves 6-0 a week after the restart and then went and won at Real Sociedad a few days later. However just when it seemed like things were finally clicking into place in Vigo, Celta finished the season by failing to win any of their 7 final games.

They survived on the final day, but only thanks to Leganes’ narrow failure to beat Real Madrid, with Celta not managing to take care of their own business with a 0-0 draw at bottom club Espanyol. There were no wild scenes of celebration when survival was secured, more relief and a sense that they’d got away with it having finished one place above the relegation zone for the second season in a row, despite possessing a squad capable of much better.

Celta Summer Transfers

Players IN

Nolito | from Sevilla | FREE

Renato Tapia | from Feyenoord | FREE

Álvaro Vadillo | from Granada | FREE

Miguel Baeza | from Real Madrid | €2.5m

Players OUT

Juan Hernández | to Sabadell | LOAN

Pione Sisto | to Midtjylland | €2.5m

(Transfers up to 5th September 2020.)

Coach – Oscar Garcia

Oscar Garcia was a relatively popular choice to take over from Fran Escriba whose team was neither delivering style nor substance by the end with results and entertainment levels not great. Things haven’t got a whole lot better under Oscar Garcia but the chance to go through a proper pre-season with his squad may help him better mould this Celta unit into shape.

Despite having spent his entire playing career in Spain, Oscar had never previously managed in his homeland at senior level before taking the top job at Balaidos late last year. He appears to have the faith of what can be a relatively trigger-happy Celta board but with his win ratio currently below 25%, that patience will start to wear thin if there aren’t clear signs of improvement from the off this term.

Possible Celta Vigo Line Up 2020/21

Celta Vigo line up

Celta switched between 4-4-2 and more of a 4-2-3-1 last season. The signing of Nolito in June, suggests a shift towards the latter is more likely for the 2020/21 season.

In terms of goals conceded at least, Celta had a better campaign last time around with 13 fewer goals let in than in the previous season. There was a suspicion though that more cautious tactics rather than outright better defending was the main factor behind that and it’s still not a back four that fully convinces.

Jeison Murillo was perhaps their most solid defender last term. His loan deal has expired but the club are believed to be keen on bringing him back from Sampdoria and that would be a significant boost.

In the deeper midfield roles, there will be competition for places between Fran Beltran, Okay Yokuşlu and Peruvian international Renato Tapia who has joined from Feyenoord. If Garcia opts for a three man midfield that should allow Denis Suarez to operate in his preferred attacking midfield role.

On paper at least, Celta’s strength lies in the final third with players of the quality of Nolito, Iago Aspas, Brais Mendez and Santi Mina. Goals shouldn’t really be a problem with the personnel they have, but with just 37 scored in LaLiga last season it’s clear that something isn’t quite right with the balance of this Celta side.

Key Man – Iago Aspas

Iago Aspas remains the talisman for this Celta side and they would almost certainly have been relegated in each of the last two seasons were it not for his goals. 14 goals in LaLiga last term actually represented a below par season for Aspas but that was still more than twice as many as any of his teammates could manage. Only two other Celta players netted more than twice.

Having just turned 33, it’s a big ask to expect Aspas to keep banging in 20 goals a season but he is still a shining light for this team and his commitment to the Celta cause sets an example that his teammates haven’t always followed in recent years.

One to Watch – Miguel Baeza

There are plenty of players to keep an eye on this season at Balaidos, with so many capable of better than what they produced last term. In terms of new names, 20 year old Miguel Baeza is their biggest summer purchase to date. He scored 9 goals from midfield for Real Madrid Castilla last season in the Segunda B and while this is a big step up, Celta have clearly seen something in him they like.

Celta 2020/21 Targets

Much like this time last year, ‘must do better’ is basically how Celta will be approaching this season. They have the quality in the squad to suggest that they are capable of much better than a relegation fight. However there comes a point when you have to say that results don’t lie and there may be something to suggestions that this is not an altogether united and committed dressing room.

There hasn’t been a huge squad overhaul this summer and you sense that some of those same old problems will still be there. They should improve on 17th but there is little to suggest that Celta are suddenly going to transform into a team that will push for Europe.

LLE Prediction: 15th

Celta Vigo Season Preview
Vigo by caccamo, CC BY-SA 2.0

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About Mark Sochon 2072 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk