Celta Vigo Preview
By Nic Evans
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
In pre-season Lotina has tried a 3-3-3-1 system, with Catanha once again exposed as the only striker. The loss of Valeri Karpin is their only major departure of the off-season and Celta will have a strong squad.
However, given the attacking flair at their disposal, Celta can at times show a strange introvertness that inhibits their general play and stops them making too many strides forward, more often than not it is two steps forward and one back.
Although they only lost Karpin, Jandro is the only major purchase, having arrived from Valencia's B side, whilst the ongoing mess surrounding Benni McCarthy and Ivan Kaviedes does little to improve the image of the Galician team.
Pablo Cavallero is a decent custodian, ably backed up by Jose Manuel Pinto.
Juanfran, Yago and former Arsenal defender Silvinho show an exciting attitude towards playing at the back and one that is pervading through Spanish football.
However, Lotina's back three would appear to have been settled on Sergio, Magnolo Berizzo and Fernando Caceres, which looks powerful, if ageing.
Jesuli, Alexander Mostovoi, Peter Luccin, Gustavo Lopez and Vagner are a powerful set of attacking midfielders and fit well into the one striker system and show that Celta are unlikely to miss Karpin as much as perhaps he would like to feel they would.
Yet Celta president Horacio Gomez will be disappointed at missing out on Hugo Viana, who opted for Newcastle United after the Spanish side had made most of the running.
With former Pichichi winner Catanha leading the line, Celta will always score goals but in bursts which puts Celta at the whim of his form.
Another attacking option would appear to be a requirement for Celta, as their stock of attacking midfielders cannot always be relied upon to score the goals they need.
Celta's ability to stay in touch with the European places is a testament to their skill level but they are another hit and miss side and another season on the fringes of a Uefa Cup spot looks likely. Lotina has said he believes his side is good enough to win trophies, but it seems just beyond their grasp.
Planetfootball.com prediction 7th.
Last season 5th.
Star player: Gustavo Lopez
One to watch: Peter Luccin
Ins: Jandro (Valencia B)
Outs: Maurice (Bastia), Karpin (Real Sociedad), Yeray (Universidad L.P.)