A focus on Manchester United’s opponents Celta Vigo

Date published: Thursday 4th May 2017 9:20

La Liga side Celta Vigo stand between Manchester United and a place in the Europa League final in Stockholm on May 24.

Here, PA Sport takes a detailed look at United’s semi-final opponents…

EUROPEAN RECORD

Celta may have won the now defunct Intertoto Cup in 2000, but this run is comfortably their most memorable continental campaign to date.

The Celestes are playing in their first ever major European semi-final, having fallen at the quarter-final juncture of the UEFA Cup in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The Spanish side’s sole Champions League foray came in the 2003-04 season, being knocked out in the last-16 by Arsenal having enjoyed a fine 2-1 win over holders AC Milan at San Siro in the group stage.

FORM

While Celta sit 11th and have lost their last three La Liga matches, it would be foolish for United to underrate them.

Eduardo Berizzo’s side defeated Barcelona – managed by their former coach Luis Enrique – 4-3 in October and eliminated Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey earlier this year.

A focus on the Europa League has seen domestic form suffer, with the Galicians knocking out Shakhtar Donetsk, Krasnodar and Genk having finished second in Group G to fellow semi-finalists Ajax.

MANAGER

Former Argentina defender Berizzo succeeded Enrique in the Balaidos managerial hotseat in 2014, having coached Estudiantes and O’Higgins after a spell as assistant to Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa – the man who knocked United out of the Europa League in 2012 when at the Athletic Bilbao helm.

Berizzo played for Celta during their Champions League campaign and guided them back into Europe as coach with a sixth-place finish last term.

Berizzo’s achievements with Celta have seen him linked with bigger clubs and he is out of contract in the summer.

KEY MEN

Iago Aspas: Forward impressing at Celta Vigo

Celta’s attacking threats will be recognisable to Premier League fans. Iago Aspas endured a torrid time at Liverpool but is flourishing back at his boyhood club, netting five goals in this season’s Europa League.

Aspas first joined Celta aged eight and the Spain international is the star of a team that boasts former Manchester City striker John Guidetti. The 25-year-old headed to Spain two years ago after failing to make the grade at the Etihad Stadium and the Stockholm native is desperate to play in his hometown final.

Pione Sisto, a talented Denmark international, is another player to watch, although Giuseppe Rossi’s latest knee injury prevents him from facing his former club.

FORMATION

Celta usually employ a 4-2-3-1 formation and Berizzo encourages his side to play a fast-paced game. They like to keep possession and rank sixth in La Liga with an average of 52.2% possession per game.

They also like to press high up the field and if United decide to play out from the back, which they do not do so often, Celta will be ready

 

WHAT THE BOOKIES SAY

The bookmakers have United down as 6/4 favourites to win in Vigo tonight, with the hosts 2/1 and the draw 11/5.

While the money men have United as overwhelming 2/5 favs to clinch a place in the final, with Celta 2/1.

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