Scottish football is gearing up for its first Old Firm derby of the new Premiership season, as both the giants are set to battle it out to stake their claim over the top spot on the table. The Ibrox club currently find themselves sitting pretty atop the league table, but with Celtic still having a game in hand, that point could be overturned with ease, and it wouldn’t even be in their control. Now though, with the two sides facing off against each other, Steven Gerrard’s Rangers side will have the chance to create an outright four point gap, which would then put them in a much more comfortable position.
The Hoops have been in an excellent run of form in the league over a number of weeks, but the recent international break has come as a massive concern. The likes of Ryan Christie, Odsonne Edouard, Nir Bitton and Hatem Abd Elhamed are all required to quarantine themselves after being exposed to the Coronavirus, and will not be able to make it back in time for this fixture. Elsewhere too, James Forrest finds himself on the sidelines with a long-term injury, while Mikey Johnston isn’t expected to play any part either.
Predicted XI: Barkas; Jullien, Duffy, Ajer; Frimpong, McGregor, Brown, Ntcham, Laxalt; Klimala, Elyounoussi
The Ibrox club have had terrible luck with injuries so far this season, but unlike the Celts, they’ve been quite fortunate with their players’ recoveries. Key names like Ryan Jack and Borna Barisic have been cleared fit, despite initial concerns being present about their availability. Although this is the case, a number of players remain doubts for this tie, including star striker Kemar Roofe. Even with Joe Aribo yet to return to the first-team picture, Gerrard has enough options to choose his eleven from this weekend.
Predicted XI: McLaughlin; Tavernier, Goldson, Helander, Barisic; Jack, Kamara; Hagi, Arfield, Kent; Morelos
Here Is The Celtic Vs Rangers Tactical Preview:
Celtic Vs Rangers Tactical Preview
The Parkhead club are likely to stick to their guns in terms of the tactical approach that they take, with the likes of Callum McGregor and Scott Brown expected to conduct the play from their midfield roles. Kristoffer Ajer will be given the licence to charge forward at all times, while the full-back, will still be asked to push forward on every opportunity. With two key strikers unavailable for selection, it’ll be interesting to see how the combination of Elyounoussi and a new striker works out for the Celts.
The Ibrox club are likely to try and play their usual game as well, which means that the midfield battle could define how this fixture pans out. The presence and involvement levels of Glen Kamara and Ryan Jack will be crucial to how much they’re able to trouble the Celts. One thing that’s for sure is that Ryan Kent will be instructed to run forward and get in behind on every opportunity. Similar to their opponents, the full-backs will be given instructions to get forward whenever the moments to do so arise.
With Odsonne Edouard and Albian Ajeti unavailable for selection, the onus falls onto the shoulders of Norwegian speedster Mohamed Elyounoussi. The Southampton loanee will have to be at his fluent best to cause the solid Rangers defence line any sort of trouble.
As good as the likes of Kent and Arfield have been, this is the kind of stage that Alfredo Morelos excels in. Expect the Colombian to start the game looking extremely motivated, and his energy and performance levels have the potential to tip the scales in the Gers’ favour.
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