Dark Horse Chronicles – Celta Vigo

Normally our focus is on the English Premier League, but this week I felt a short flight across the channel into Spain (and La Liga) seemed reasonable. This week’s Darkhorse is Real Club Celta de Vigo (Celta Vigo), who started off +100,000 to win the league and are currently at 14/1 odds to finish top 4, are currently residing in 3rd place after dispatching Atlético Madrid 2-0 (yes – I’m aware that Atletico played a man down for 20’, but Celta Vigo were already up 2-0), who finished as runners up last year in the league. Yes, I know we’re only a few games in, but this series isn’t about projecting the winner, it’s about featuring a team that has the possibility of really mixing things up.
In the 2017-2018 season, Celta Vigo managed a 13th-place finish on 49 points (on tiebreakers being used for 11th-13th). They also finished with a -1 Goal Differential last season averaging basically a goal and a half scored and conceded each game. So far during this season they averaging almost 1.7 goals a game, and conceding .7 goals a game. If this continues they would project for a 65 goal season, while conceding only 27 goals on the season, which would place them in the top-5 for goals scored and 2nd for goals allowed behind only Atletico Madrid. So, long story short – they look like they are on track to do very well.
What’s caused the change?
First, they had a very active (by number) transfer window and still netted a profit of a little over $10M for their troubles. They brought in Néstor Araujo from Santos Laguna for $7.75M, one of the stars from a defensive perspective against Atletico Madrid. The star of that particular match (and of their season thus far) was an acquisition from last year, Maximiliano Gómez, who has scored 2 of the 5 goals for the side so far.
Second, their prior manager, Juan Carlos Unzué, parted with the club at the conclusion of the 2018 season and the club was able to recruit Antonio Mohamed from Monterrey in the Liga Mx (Mexico). Mohamed accumulated a record of 95 wins – 55 draws – 62 loses in 212 games, and Monterrey would lift the Copa Mx (Mexican Cup) 2017. They also finished the 2018 season in 3rd place, making it to the quarterfinals of the Clausura (second half). Mohamed brought in a bunch of younger talent and promoted a number of players from the youth ranks at Celta Vigo. He also secured Sofiane Boufal from Southampton and Junior Alonso from LOSC Lille.
Third, their defensive play so far this season has been wonderful. Néstor Araujo has been a great addition to the side and the whole defensive unit has played far better than last season so far while remaining relatively unchanged. Personally I think they will finish well above where they did last year, possibly even securing continental soccer for next year.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for our next edition every week on Wednesday!
Last Updated: September 12, 2018
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