Celtic will try and accomplish the amazing achievement of back-to-back Champions League wins against Barcelona this Tuesday.
Celtic played magnificently last season as they defeated Barcelona 2-1 at Celtic Park with a performance which saw every single Celtic player produce his very best to secure the side three vital group points.
Neil Lennon’s reaction was clear for all to see when Celtic were stuck in the same group as the Spanish champions for a second season running and officials will be working away behind the scenes at the club trying to find ways to enable a repeat victory.
There are various ways that Celtic can go about the match against Barcelona this Tuesday but they will need luck to be on their side and for their supporters to create an even more intimidating atmosphere that we saw in this game last season.
Needless to say Barcelona dominate possession and passing success rates in La Liga this season, with 66% of the ball in league matches so far and 89.4% of passes finding their intended recipient on average.
The only way Celtic can counter that is to press high up the pitch, hurry Barcelona’s players and try to cut off the angles.
Celtic have to try and read the game well, attempting interceptions to stop the ball from getting to the influential attacking players in the current Barcelona side.
If Celtic can get stuck in and disrupt the rhythm of Barcelona’s build up play, they can ensure they get into good positions to pick up the pieces around the field before trying to build their own momentum.
Discipline is key because Barcelona draw a lot of fouls in key positions; 15.8 per game on average this season.
It would be criminal if Celtic conceded a goal from a set piece just outside the penalty area because of all the hard work trying to take away the Spanish side’s threat from open play.
Interestingly, no other side in La Liga this season has played the ball through the middle more than Barcelona, who attack centrally 33% of the time.
What that means is Celtic can play very narrow, with the full backs coming in close to the central defenders.
The obvious effect that will have on Barcelona is that it will force them to play the ball wider, which is arguably where it’s easier for Celtic’s defence players to go and contain the ball.
It’s going to be a monumental task for Celtic to repeat that win from last season but if they show discipline, stay organised and make the right decisions then it’s possible.
What’s your score prediction for the match?
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