Who: Everton v Celta Vigo
What: Pre-season friendly #4
When: Wednesday 6th August 2014; kick-off 7:45pm local time, 11:45am PDT
Where: Prenton Park
Weather: Sunny with light cloud later on, 18-19°C, humidity of between 64-72%, wind speed of 10mph.
Ticket info: Everton have been allocated 4368 tickets and ticket details can be found by clicking the following link; http://www.evertonfc.com/tickets/premier-league-ticket-information.html?m=2800
This penultimate pre-season fixture has come just too soon for returning Belgians Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku but both are expected to play in the final game before the season on Saturday against SC Paderborn 07.
Long-term injury sufferer, Darron Gibson was rested for Everton’s previous game but is expected to get minutes on the pitch in either of the final two games before the Toffees kick off their campaign.
After playing their first games since the World Cup in Leon Osman’s testimonial; Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Ross Barkley and Tim Howard are all expected to have a bigger involvement in today’s game.
Muhamed Besic impressed in his debut against Porto and is expected to start against Celta Vigo in the heart of midfield. Although Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo have returned to light training, neither have been deemed fit enough to play.
Finally, Luke Garbutt and Seamus Coleman, both of whom suffered hamstring injuries, have been ruled out of both remaining pre-season friendlies.
Like Porto FC, Celta de Vigo are under new management after Luis Enrique left to become Barcelona’s new manager. Eduardo Berizzo was appointed as his replacement in May. Berizzo, a former Argentine international centre-half, played for Celta over 100 times.
A club that was formed as a merger between two local sides in Real Vigo Sporting and Real Fortuna, has had an up and down history with several promotions and relegations. They were in the Champions League last 16 as recent as 2004 but were also relegated that year. Celta returned to Spain’s top division in 2012 after 5 years in the league below and finished 9th last season – with the highlight of ending Real Madrid’s title challenge with a 2-0 home victory.
Other than a few academy graduates of Barcelona there aren’t too many names that jump off the squad list for the Sky Blues. One of those former Barcelona B players is Manuel Agudo Duran or as he prefers; Nolito, has been one of many wingers/strikers linked with Everton recently. The 27-year-old scored 14 goals in his first season at Celta as he finished as their top goal-scorer.
What to Watch For:
Looking for their first win in pre-season might provide a competitive edge to a fixture that otherwise would have none. Having said that Celta Vigo won’t be a walkover – a side that can beat a team of the calibre of Real Madrid, in the heat of a title race when Los Blancos had to win, has the quality to provide a decent opposition.
I wouldn’t expect as many substitutions as are a custom with a pre-season friendly. With this fixture coming close to the season I would imagine that more players will complete the 90 minutes. In addition Everton’s injury problems, also provides evidence for one to assume that more players will complete 90 minutes. However I would still expect young players like Chris Long, Hallam Hope and Conor McAleny to get some minutes on the pitch.
Although technically a neutral fixture, it will be the second shortest away trip of the season for those in Royal Blue and a strong following and darker shade of blue dominance is something to look out for. The club’s website says "To ensure that the playing surface at Goodison Park is in optimum condition and additional stadium work can be completed for the visit of Arsenal on 23 August, the game is taking place at Prenton Park, the home of Tranmere Rovers" to elevate any mystery to why today’s game is at Prenton Park.