Premiership giants Celtic will be looking to pick up their first set of back to back wins in more than a month when they are visited by Sparta Prague at Celtic Park this Thursday evening. The Hoops’ most recent clash saw them beat Aberdeen by a 2-0 scoreline, in what was the delayed semifinal of last season’s Scottish Cup. Prior to that, however, Neil Lennon’s side were undergoing a terrible spell of form, where they went winless for a whopping four games. Celtic and Sparta Prague are in 3rd and 4th positions on the Europa League group table respectively, with the Celts having a solitary point, while Prague have none.
Celtic have a number of key players out of contention for this match, but there is one name that stands out above the rest. As much as the Hoops have missed Christopher Jullien, it must be conceded that the absence of Kristoffer Ajer has had an extremely important part to play on their poor form. Although the Norwegian remains a doubt for this fixture, it has been confirmed that Jullien will be unavailable. James Forrest is another first-team regular who is currently facing a spell on the sidelines. Hatem Abd Elhamed is unlikely to play any part either, while Michael Johnston has been ruled out too.
Predicted XI: Bain; Frimpong, Duffy, Bitton, Laxalt; Brown, McGregor; Christie, Rogic, Elyounoussi, Edouard
The European side are far from full strength at this point in time as well, with three players currently facing spells on the sidelines due to injury. Adam Hlozek looks like he could be out of the team for an extended period after the club confirmed earlier that he will not be travelling to Glasgow as a part of the roster, and that he will instead be referred to a specialist. Lukas Stetina and David Hancko are a couple of other names who have been ruled out of contention for what promises to be an important match in the club’s ambitions for the season.
Predicted XI: Heca; Hanousek, Lischka, Celustka, Sacek; Pavelka, Travnik; Krejci, Dockal, Vindheim; Julis
Here Is The Celtic Vs Sparta Prague Tactical Preview:
Celtic Vs Sparta Prague Tactical Preview
The Hoops finally picked up a win after four fixtures without a victory last weekend, and Lennon will be eager to build on that display. Not only will Celtic need to work hard in defence, but they will likely have to use the width of the pitch to ensure that they’re able to bring the more attacking players into the game. The passing of Brown and McGregor in midfield will be crucial, while Mohamed Elyounoussi will still be their most important player in attack. Laxalt and Frimpong will both have their roles to play in an offensive sense as well.
The Czech club are far from the most expansive club in Europe, and this was apparent to see from their performance against AC Milan last weekend. They prefer to play on the counter attack against the bigger clubs, which means that the fixture against Celtic could be an intriguing one. The end result could come down to which team wins the midfield battle, as both make use of the same formation as well. Considering that they’re winless in two matches in the group so far, there’s every chance that Prague enter this match with massive expectations. They could be forced to defend deep at times, but when given the chance, will push bodies forward.
Despite the return of Odsonne Edouard to the first-team picture, Mohamed Elyounoussi must be the player that can prove to be the difference for Neil Lennon’s side, as he has been on numerous occasions in the past.
The Czech club’s most influential player is sure to be skipper Borek Dockal, who is often deployed in the attacking midfield role. Having scored their only goal in the entire competition so far, his contribution will be crucial.