Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Elyounoussi Returns, Ajer To Continue | Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs Lille

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Nikhil Vinodh
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Reigning Premiership champions Celtic have already crashed out of this season’s edition of the Europa League. However, they’re surely going to be looking for a win when they welcome Ligue 1 heavyweights Lille to Parkhead this Thursday. The Hoops have failed to win a single game in the competition this season, with their lone point from the group stages coming from the reverse fixture against Lille a few weeks ago. Although they took a 2-0 lead against AC Milan last Thursday, they were unable to see out the win.

The Celts’ form of late has been abysmal, to say the least, and the amount of pressure that’s being put on Neil Lennon by the fans is no joke. Despite this, they’ve been dropping points thick and fast, in what has been a poor run of fixtures for the team aspiring for their tenth straight league title this season. Their most recent Premiership match saw them face off against St. Johnstone at Celtic Park. Although they were in the ascendancy from the opening minutes of that fixture, they were unable to find that cutting edge in attack until after the visitors had already scored. That match ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw.

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The Hoops’ biggest injury concern right now is likely going to be James Forrest, who remains sidelined with what has been an annoyingly long spell. Without the speedster’s presence, Neil Lennon’s men seem to lack some much-needed pace and directness in attack, and this has undoubtedly hurt them quite a bit. There’s only so much that Mohamed Elyounoussi can do alone on the flanks, which means that Forrest’s eventual return will come as a massive boost. Diego Laxalt is another who could miss this game, having come off at half-time on the weekend.

Here Is The Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs Lille:

Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs Lille - Lennon looks on
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 21: Celtic manager Neil Lennon is seen at full time during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Hibernian and Celtic at Easter Road on November 21, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Predicted 3-5-2 Celtic Lineup Vs Lille


Although Neil Lennon does seem undecided on who their first-choice keeper is, Vasilis Barkas was given the nod ahead of Scott Bain on the weekend. Despite the fact that he conceded a goal, there’s every chance that the manager sticks with the Greek keeper for this outing. In front of him as well, the manager could be tempted to stick with the same back-three that started against St. Johnstone. Summer loan signing Shane Duffy is set to miss out again, with Christopher Jullien, Kristoffer Ajer and Nir Bitton expected to operate as the centre-halves.


The complaints regarding Scott Brown’s lack of energy and enthusiasm in the middle of the park have been the talk of the town for a while now, but there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight on that regard. It’s obvious that the skipper is Lennon’s trusted commander in the engine room, which means that the veteran Scot is set to continue in the core of the team. Callum McGregor was one of the few players who actually impressed in the Premiership outing on the weekend, and he is set to keep his place. Ryan Christie, who has been operating on the wing of late, should start in midfield as well. Jeremie Frimpong and Greg Taylor should start as the wing-backs.


Mohamed Elyounoussi has been the Parkhead club’s saviour on numerous occasions this season, and if it wasn’t for his timely introduction against St. Johnstone, there’s every chance that Celtic would’ve come away from that fixture with nothing to show for it. Why he was dropped in the first place is anyone’s guess, but Neil Lennon is unlikely to make that mistake again. The Norwegian could be handed a free role in the attack-line, with young French striker Odsonne Edouard leading the line alongside him.

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