Copa del Rey Semi Final 1st Leg – Celta Vigo

So tonight marks the first, and arguably the most important, of a trilogy of games against our rivals from Vigo in the north. A home win in the first leg of any semi final is vital, and in this case especially, we don’t want to be going there next Thursday needing to outscore them, not with our away form the way it is.  Tonight though, the focus is on not only getting the win and goal(s) we need, but also keeping a clean sheet at the back. The away goals rule, which has worked so gloriously in our favour once or twice before, will undoubtedly be on the back of everyones mind who is involved.

Emery and the players will be well aware of the need to manage this game wisely if we are to have any chance of progressing to play Barcelona in the final. The good news is that we have a lot of experience dealing with these types of situations. Our last semi-final first leg was against Fiorentina in May, and we brushed aside any hopes of a second leg reversal with a crushing 3-0 win in La Bombanera. A repeat of that scoreline tonight would be beyond most of our wildest dreams though, but who knows… this team has a habit of surprises.

If form, home form especially, is anything to go by, then we are the favourites tonight. Despite the fact that the last time Celta came to RSP in September they walked away with an easy three points, we are now both different propositions than back then. That was a lunch time kick off in the searing heat, and at that time Celta, who were inspired by Nolito’s brilliance, dominated the first half and then sat back for an easy win. They were a team on fire, and for a few weeks were even sitting pretty in 1st place of La Liga. Recently however their form has been a bit patchy, and they are currently 2 points and 2 places behind us in the table in 7th. They can still be a force to be reckoned with though, as they showed against Atletico in the last round, so we must on our a-game for sure.

*Interestingly, that 1-2 loss was our last domestic defeat at the RSP. We have been on an incredible run since then, and long may it continue.

Team news…

…is that Banega is back! but Kyrchowiak is out for about a month! Sad news, as this month is going to be tough, no doubt about it. N’Zonzi and Cristoforo will likely be the first choice pairing, but we have Carrico and also Fazio who can now fill in there if need be. Neither of these players comes close to Krycho though. Not just his strength and athleticism, but his leadership qualities will be sorely missed also. Gameiro is likely to start up front, with the cup taking priority over the league this time. MKD likely to be on the left again, although maybe Konoplyanka has earned a starting place after his wonder goal from the bench on Sunday?


Michael Krohn Dehli and Iago Aspas swapped places in the summer. However only one will be going to the Copa del Rey Final! 

We will probably line up like this:


Coke Carrico Rami Escudero

N’Zonzi Cristoforo

Vitolo Banega MKD


As usual, who knows what team Emery will put out, but I am fairly confident when I see Banega and Gameiro in the same starting XI, not to mention Vitolo who has been improving of late. We have goals in us for sure, but as was mentioned earlier, a clean sheet is equally important.

My prediction:

Sevilla 2 Celta Vigo 1

Gameiro y Rami

So, I predict a narrow hard fought win, with a nervy second leg to look forward to. I really hope we don’t concede, so will happily be proved wrong if that is the case…

What is your prediction?