Despite showing sheer resilience at Parkhead, Celtic settled for a 2-2 draw against the mighty Atletico Madrid in their previous Champions League contest. Although it would be a colossal job to stun the Rojiblancos at Estadio Metropolitano, Brendan Rodgers’ men must prepare for another fierce fight on Tuesday night against Diego Simeone’s juggernaut.
The Spanish giants are currently second in Group E behind Feyenoord. Yet they are favourites to finish as the group winners, whereas a third-place finish seems unfeasible for Celtic unless they script a miracle in the forthcoming fixtures. The Madrid hotshots suffered a surprise defeat against Las Palmas over the weekend, and a win, therefore, should help them regain momentum before hosting Villarreal.
Predicted 4-3-3 Celtic Lineup To Face Atletico Madrid
Joe Hart was excellent between the sticks during the reverse tie. His experience would be crucial in terms of maintaining composure and discipline in the defensive third.
Despite the return of Stephen Welsh, Maik Nawrocki and Gustaf Lagerbielke from their respective injury woes, Rodgers would rely on Liam Scales to partner with Cameron Carter-Vickers in the heart of the backline. Nat Phillips is also waiting for regular opportunities since completing a short-term loan move from Liverpool. Alistair Johnston was not risked against Ross County, but the Canadian is likely to reclaim his right-back role replacing Anthony Ralston. Greg Taylor should continue as the left fullback as he has done so far across competitions.
Reo Hatate’s injury is a massive blow for the Celts given his influence and creative spark as a ‘number 8’. Paulo Bernardo, on loan from Benfica, has been frequently involved in recent outings and the young Portuguese ace might get the nod over David Turnbull even though the latter found the net against the Staggies. Matt O’Riley, an unused substitute in Dingwall, must return to action and operate box-to-box. Skipper Callum McGregor is expected to control the midfield game as well as marshall the defence from his deep-lying role. The likes of Tomoki Iwata and Odin Thiago Holm should continue as the understudy of their first-team stars.
Kyogo Furuhashi remains irreplaceable high up the pitch for his exquisite poaching traits. He should spearhead the attack ahead of Oh Hyeon-gyu, also Luis Palma is expected to start down the left after a blistering start to life in Scottish football. With Liel Abada still sidelined following a thigh strain sustained during the international break, Daizen Maeda must keep his place on the right over James Forrest, Mikey Johnston and Yang Hyun-Jun.