Reigning Premiership champions Celtic are set to take on Italian heavyweights AC Milan in the Europa League this Thursday. The Scottish side have already been eliminated from the competition, which means that the next two fixtures are worth nothing more than just personal pride. The Celts are yet to win a single fixture in the tournament, with even Czech outfit Sparta Prague doing the double over them in the group stages. Their most recent Europa League match was against the Prague-based club, and they ended up losing the game 4-1.
Celtic’s poor run of form extends to the beginning of October. Not only have they lacked the sharpness and attacking quality required to break opposition defences down, but they’ve even struggled to maintain any sort of defensive structure as well. With the Hoops shipping goals left, right and centre, Neil Lennon’s position as the manager of this historic football club has come under major scrutiny over recent weeks. The Bhoys’ most recent match saw them crash out of the Betfred Cup, after they were beaten 2-0 by Ross County at Parkhead on the weekend.
The absence of James Forrest in the wide areas is one that continues to haunt them in attack. Although Mohamed Elyounoussi and Ryan Christie have filled in the flanks to a certain degree, neither offers the pace or directness that Forrest used to bring to the table. Apart from the speedster though, the Celts have what is almost a full-strength squad to choose from, with Mikey Johnston the only other possible absentee.
Here Is The Predicted 3-4-1-2 Celtic Lineup Vs AC Milan:
Predicted 3-4-1-2 Celtic Lineup Vs AC Milan
Although Vasilis Barkas was finally handed some playing time by Neil Lennon in the Ross County match, this fixture should see Scott Bain returning to the mix in the Greek keeper’s stead. In front of him as well, the manager could be tempted to stick with the same formation that fell apart on the weekend. Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer could start on either end of the three-man defence line, with Irish giant Shane Duffy expected to come into the central role in place of Nir Bitton.
The Hoops’ midfield has been one of their major problem areas, in that there’s a serious lack of creativity in the core of the team. Scott Brown doesn’t have the legs or offensive quality required to produce the goods in the final third. Callum McGregor, on the other hand, doesn’t possess the consistency required to deliver what’s required in attack on a consistent basis. However, this altered formation means that the two wing-backs will have more freedom to get forward and join the attack. Diego Laxalt and Jeremie Frimpong should start in the wide roles.
Tom Rogic and Olivier Ntcham have both been given opportunities in the team over the last couple of weeks, and it’s safe to say that neither has quite lived up to the mark. What this means is that Neil Lennon could be tempted to move Ryan Christie into his preferred number ten role, just in behind the two strikers. Odsonne Edouard should be preferred to Albian Ajeti down the right side of the two-man front-line, with Mohamed Elyounoussi acting as an additional false-nine over on the left.