LaLiga Santander Vying for supremacy in Galicia
My piece for MARCA
In a weekend that throws up some cracking fixtures in LaLiga one particular gem may have slipped your radar, but it's one you could do a lot worse than tune into at 12.00 local time (11:00 GMT) this Sunday morning; The Galician derby, los portugueses against los turcos; Celta v Deportivo.
Portuguese and Turks?
The reason why both clubs have ended up being nicknamed as such by fans of the other is somewhat contested, but the most readily accepted explanation is that Celta Vigo's moniker is down to the city's location some 20 minutes drive from the Portuguese border.
Portugal is a nation which the Spanish like to look to in their worst moments to reassure themselves that there's always somebody worse off - so it's something of a slur.
For Depor's part, it's thought that the 'Turk' reference comes via the Ottoman navy's sacking of the city during the 16th century.
It's a testy rivalry, and although the away allocation has been sold out once again there have been many flash points throughout the years.
La Voz de Galicia has reported that rather than the supporters clubs handling the ticketing for travelling fans, it's been left to the club itself this time round.
The game has also been given the highest alert level by police according to the local press, hence the supporters' groups passing the buck on something that is normally very much their jealously-guarded domain.
That said, it would be a great surprise were we to witness anything of the magnitude of the deplorable scenes when the clubs met in a promotion play-off back in the 1980s in Balaidos.
There's also a contrast to the game played at around this stage last season when both sides were flying high - the hosts in currently sit in 12th position and the visitors in 15th.
While Celta rallied after three defeats and a draw in their opening four games with four straight wins before last Sunday's crushing defeat at Villarreal, Deportivo have only won a solitary match since the opening weekend.
Both sides were scoring for fun twelve months ago, and although Celta stuck four past Barcelona in their last home outing, they've only managed five in their other seven matches.
Depor's record is even worse with neither of the newly arrived pair of Florin Andone and Copa Libertadores winner - and player of the tournament - Marlos Moreno finding the net in a campaign where they've netted just five in total to date.
Of course, it was always going to be hard replacing Lucas Perez's threat up front in any event, the local lad departing for Arsenal late in the summer window.
Gaizka Garitano, the miracle-working former Eibar boss has been criticised for his side's lack of an attacking strategy but to his credit, he's run a tight ship at the other end and despite being hit for four at Camp Nou last week they've conceded the joint fewest goals in the bottom half of the table; indeed two fewer than third-placed Sevilla.
They make the journey south without captain and defensive lynchpin Sidnei, who's agreed a new deal in principle with the club this week, and they also are without regular starter Juanfran.
Celta signalled their priorities by resting a whole raft of players for Thursday's Europa League clash with Ajax.
They had to come behind twice against the Dutch side, with Fabian Orellana coming off the bench to strike a stunning equaliser late on in a game where they possibly edged the play overall.
The familiar defensive shortcomings were there to see as both the Amsterdam side's goals could well have been avoided, Facundo Roncaglia in particular guilty of standing off his man for the second.
Iago Aspas, a Vigo native who's no stranger to controversy in this fixture - his foolish sending off in April 2013 at Riazor looked to doom Celta and keep Depor up - stoked the flames on Friday.
"You've got to say we're the favourites," he said to gathered media.
He also intimated that their league position, and the fact that Celta have had to rotate as they fight on two fronts proves they are the better side.
"I expect it to be an intense game and they'll probably sit back once more, in recent years they've struggled to get on the ball against us," he concluded.
His words were put to Depor full-back Fernando Navarro, who refused to be drawn on the matter.
"Well if he thinks they're favourites, that's his business," he huffed.
Navarro did note that Depor have suffered from refereeing decisions this term too.
"Maybe our luck will change this weekend and we'll start being treated like other sides have been treated against us."
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE AT MARCA IN ENGLISH