Soccer

Inspirational Iago: Celta Find Form


In the previous years of the Premier League when you thought of Arsenal, many would of joke of the number four conundrum, the fact no matter how well Arsenal performed throughout the season they would always wind up fourth. The same can be said in La Liga in recent years for Celta Vigo and the position of 17th, just one place above the relegation zone narrowly avoiding the drop into the Segunda Liga.

The past two seasons the Galician side have found them selves finishing the campaign in 17th place, being involved in a relegation dog fight through out the season. However, the 2017/2108 saw Celta finish in 13th place, with inspirational performances from local hero Iago Aspas earning a place in the Spanish national team for the Russian 2018 World Cup.

Netting 22 goals and 5 assists, the striker squeezed himself into the La Liga team of the season to top off a successful season. Since the return from the World Cup the performances from the Sky Blues have been equal to the famous Galician weather, bleak.

During the 2018/2019 campaign, despite only winning 10 games and remaining in the topflight by 4 points, Iago Aspas again was the central figure who kept the rhetorical sinking Galician ship afloat in La Liga. In two successive seasons netting 20 goals, the forward was again in the team of the season ready to rally on into the following season.

With the introduction of Rafinha Alacantara and Denis Suarez, Vigo looked to be making some smart investments in the transfer window, and even bolstered the attacking options with Nolito from Sevilla on a free transfer, smart business indeed. Regardless of the wise transfer market spending, the Celticos, Celta would be again be entangled in a relegation scrap rather than a brush with the bottom half of the table. Unflatteringly the club would only win 7 games, relying on their 16 draws for points on the board. Aspas would again be head and shoulders above the rest, although only scoring 14 goals being enough to secure safety for another season.

As the Estadio Balaidos remained empty due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic, the Sky Blues took to the pitch against Valencia to record their first win of the season in a 2-1 victory. Linking up with Nolito, Aspas bagged a brace to put the first points on the board for Vigo as they will be looking to make more of a positive impact across Spain this season. However, come October and Vigo Celta were facing the familiar foe of relegation.

Going throughout all of October without recording a victory, Celta only managed to put 2 points on the table in the form of two one all draws against Real Valladolid and struggling Levante. November would prove no easier as the team were turned over against League leaders Real Sociedad, Sevilla and newly promoted Elche would snatch a draw.

The Estadio Banadios would have to wait until the end of the month to see the sides first win in 8 games, against an impressive Granada side who were holding their own in the Europa League. Despite conceding midway thought the first half, Celta immediately responded with a goal from Nolito. Miguel Baeza and Fran Beltran would add two more goals to seal a rare win, however it was the local hero again Aspas who would claim man of the match with another inspired performance.

The first game of December the Celts would travel to the Basque Country to face Athletic Bilbao, who despite flirting with relegation of the past few seasons have never in their history dropped to the Segunda. After a goal in the 61st minute from Hugo Mallo, the nerves were settled when Iago Aspas sealed all three points in the 78th minute, earning Vigo’s first away victory since June.

Celta Vigo are slowly starting to click with Aspas and Nolito linking up nicely and both players finding the net in their own stride. Despite coming under heavy losses, one could defend they have come against Osasuna, Atletico, Barcelona and Sevilla respectively. Also, the loss to Real Sociedad meant the Basque based side remain top of the league, pushing Madrid for their title with David Silva dancing in the midfield and Mikel Oyarzabal sitting top of the top scorers list with 7 goals, in second is non other than…Iago Aspas.

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