Celta de Vigo – Match Report vs. Rayo Vallecano (11/03/2023)

Celta de Vigo defeated Rayo Vallecano 3-0 via a brace from “the Wizard” Iago Aspas. Carlos Carvalhal’s Vigo lined up in a standard 4-4-2 while Andoni Iraola’s Vallecano came out in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Vigo placed Vallecano under constant pressure in the buildup in this match and Vallecano’s defense cracked under it. This high tempo, aggressive pressing style did tire out Vigo’s attackers, though, and led to multiple fatigue-based changes after gaining and maintaining the lead in the second half. 


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Gabri Veiga

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Spanish
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 27/05/2002
  • Club: Celta de Vigo
  • Career: Celta de Vigo
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Other Position: Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Gabri Veiga played the attack-minded number 8 role for Vigo against Vallecano. The homegrown talent has burst onto the scene this year and is the team’s second leading scorer and reigning La Liga Player of the Month. He stands at 184 cm tall with an athletic build that holds gifted traits of pace, change of direction, strength, and power. Veiga is an all-around excellent athlete developed in Galicia.

On ball, he dribbled with confidence through midfield, ball-carrying well and beating opponents with pace and simple skill moves. Veiga is a dynamic dribbler through midfield. He likes to receive short or on runs between the lines to advance. After some dribbles and scanning he tends to put in a cross field or intermediate range ground pass to advance again, either to the feet of a forward or in behind to a winger/full back. His distribution was excellent in the midfield. When finishing, he did his work mainly off ball, finding the right open spaces at the edge and just outside of the box, then striking with power low. He did not score but he challenged the keeper on multiple occasions. 

Off ball, his movements are mostly through the middle of the pitch, rotating in both the left and right middle channels. He played plenty of give and go’s, utilizing his pace in short areas to stretch the defense and provide a quick and dangerous option for his teammate. Veiga reacted quickly on turn of possession, making support runs quickly and requesting the ball to advance it himself. His pace and burst were a huge asset to him both on and off ball. At times, Veiga received short, too. He was able to accelerate into a 1v1 and beat his man with skill after receiving, using both feet well to dribble. 

Defensively, he could have put in more effort. Veiga flashed instances of brilliance in covering for last ditch tackles, especially sliding. His work was simply not consistent enough and he looked fatigued in the second half before being subbed. This was likely from the extra effort of the tactical aggressive press applied at times, expending extra energy on top of his high attacking work rate. 

Rating – A1

Although his defensive efforts could be better, Veiga’s overall excellence offensively outweighs that deficiency. He is a highly promising player in La Liga with Champions League starter potential. Expect high bids for him this summer—Manchester United is reportedly interested already. 


Luca de la Torre

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: American, Spanish
  • Age: 24
  • Date of birth: 23/05/1998
  • Club: Celta de Vigo
  • Career: San Diego Nomads (Y), San Diego Surf, Fulham, Heracles Almelo
  • Position: Left Midfielder
  • Other Positions: Central Midfielder, Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Luca de la Torre was substituted out with Veiga in the 72nd minute and they played on the same midfield line together for Vigo. The Galician club’s summer signing from relegated Dutch club Heracles Almelo played left midfield with a tendency into central areas due to his dominant right foot and usual position of central midfielder. He is 177 cm tall with a slender build and only average pace and mobility but decent hustle. de la Torre’s work rate was good enough on both sides of the ball despite his attacking mindset. 

As an on ball threat, de la Torre is a high volume and accuracy distributor with range on his passing. He is very valuable in maintaining possession with a tight dribble and quick decisions on his passes, playing many of them conservatively, but still picking out the right times to get creative. The American midfielder played quite a few through balls in between the lines and operated well when in congested areas. All his passing and most of his dribbling was done with his dominant right foot. He cut inside with that foot from the left side and had some burst doing so for some momentum into his creation moving forward. 

Off ball, he tended to come short to receive with a soft first touch and was able to play one touches well, knowing where to move the ball well before. His vision was a good quality to have on and off ball. This led to de la Torre discovering open pockets to work in when coming short for the ball, which then opened lanes for his teammates to run through into. In transition, he would make dashing runs down the right of the left flank to provide an option for teammates. de la Torre hovered outside the box in the final third as an outlet and did so on attacking set pieces, as well. 

Defensively, Vigo’s left midfielder put in a valiant performance on the press and provided some decent activity at the back. He got aggressive in the press and used his hustle to get relentlessly at players and cause back passes or even put in a quick stand tackle. When pressing, de la Torre did not shy away from physicality despite his frame. When defending in 1v1s, he had good body positioning but often allowed too much space and allowed crosses and advancing passes. His recovery runs were quick, and he tended to be ready to cover. de la Torre covered the wing often and followed his manager’s defensive tactics well. 

Rating – B1

de la Torre seems nearly done with his development based on his performance. He will be a first team level midfielder in the bottom half of La Liga for his peak and that bodes perfectly well for him maintaining his place on the United States Men’s National Team. Vigo’s American summer signing from Heracles Almelo has a successful career ahead of him as a central midfielder in possession-style clubs. 


Jörgen Strand Larsen

Player Profile:

  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • Age: 23
  • Date of birth: 06/02/2000
  • Club: Celta de Vigo
  • Career: Kvik Halden FK (Y), Sarpsborg 08 FF, AC Milan (Y/Loan), FC Groningen
  • Position: Center Forward
  • Preferred foot: Right

Jörgen Strand Larsen subbed on in the 72nd minute and played striker for Vigo. He has a broad and physical 193 cm tall frame that makes him stand out immediately. Larsen also has decent pace and mobility for his size and uses the combination well. Additionally, he displayed some surprising agility. He did not apply himself much on the press and his work rate heavily favors his offensive game. 

Larsen’s most important move came on a near assist back post across the keeper’s face after entering the box through a run down the right wing where he received and dribbled inside. On the ball, he tended to dribble only with his dominant right and looked to move inside and draw a foul, which did successfully multiple times although he dove some others. This set up set pieces in dangerous areas. When moving in transition, he made runs down the middle to offer a target. When off ball in the box, he made short runs back posts in timely moments to try and get under a cross, like one he narrowly missed from Aspas. When receiving directly from the goalkeeper in the buildup, he used his size to back down defenders and control the pass with his feet or chest and provide a quick back pass to a midfielder running through the middle channel past him. On one header he won in transition, he controlled along the side but lost the dribble after being engaged by three opponents. Overall, Larsen put in a decent shift to end the game and offered a large, attention-grabbing option in attack when maintaining a lead. 

Rating – B1

Larsen has potential to be a big strong target man—with some dribbling ability, but more importantly finishing and chance creation abilities—in Europe’s top leagues for a long time. He may not quite have the ability to become a premier scorer in his prime, but Vigo’s striker will play his role well for whatever mid-table club signs him next. Larsen was a summer signing, so he will not be moving on soon and is still acclimating to life at Vigo, I expect his role to be larger next season, especially with Aspas aging. His next stop could be in Serie A if it does not work out in Galicia, as nine Norwegians play there at the moment. 


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