On the day of our return to the Champions League group stages for the first time in three long years I’d like to reflect on firstly Saturdays shredding of The Rangers and how different playing a team of Barcelona’s magnitude is. I may be stating what most of us know but Barcelona will have a lot of the ball where as on Saturday we did, our attacking threat is certainly there but we rely on creating a plethora of goal scoring opportunities throughout the course of 90 minutes. As much as I love the brand of football we’ve become accustomed to since Brendan took the reigns, I’m slightly concerned as to whether or not we’ll have the clinical finishing required to take anything from the Camp Nou.
As much as I love the brand of football we’ve become accustomed to since Brendan took the reigns only three short months ago, I’m slightly concerned as to whether or not we’ll have the clinical finishing required to take anything from the Camp Nou.
This may be my perfectionist attitude towards football and I may be clutching at straws but I’m not confident we’ll take anything from our opening tie away to Barcelona other than a humbling to the same extent we gave our Glasgow counterparts. A Barcelona heavy win would be no embarrassment as they are one of the best sides on the planet.
Brendan and his squad should see this match as free swing at a European giant, we’ve got five games after this and it doesn’t get any harder after this so why not? Although it doesn’t get any easier!
Im confident of a point or 2 against Manchester City and genuinely believe well beat Gladbach at home given they did sell their best player in Granit Xahka to Arsenal during the transfer window. We also have to bear in mind Pep’s City just took three points from the home of their tital rivals and have had a perfect start to the English Premier League whilst humiliating Steaua Bucharest in their play off.
History would suggest we’re not in for a good watch at all away from home picking up just the one victory away to Spartak in all of our Champions League attempts. There is an aura of enthusiasm and an obsession amongst the Celtic support right now that would suggest Brendan’s best trick is yet to come, but even the biggest optimists must admit it’s highly unlikely in the group stages. We’ll take anything, especially if Messi plays and the best attack in the world picks Tonight to fire on all cylinders after their shock 2-1 home defeat to newly promoted Alaves.
Onto the rest of the fixtures, Manchester City will be a highly difficult task to take anything from, given Pep has exceeded what I personally thought he’d have achieved so far and I’m sure a lot of City fans will be the same, but City are not the same animal as Barcelona, no matter what brand of football they play. Money has not quite bought them players like Suarez, Neymar, Iniesta and of course Messi, granted you could mention Aguero and KDB in the same breath as these players, but they have their frailties in particular their full backs aren’t the best and we have some incredible counter-attacking pace which could come in handy against them if they aren’t at their best.
And Monchengladbach, the team I believe we’ll compete with for 3rd, which would cap off an exceptional first European campaign for Rodgers’ side, but again they won’t lie over. They succumbed to a 3-1 loss to Freidburg at the weekend despite being a goal in front which would show they may like ourselves have lapses in concentration, which hopefully the gaffer is sorting because we’re yet to keep a clean sheet in the league (lets hope for one tonight). Dorus did exactly what Brendan brought him in to do but it’s unlikely we’ll be able to play like that if were to put up a fight. Regardless, win, lose or draw, let’s enjoy the ride, with Europes elite cheating their way into monopolising the tournament this may be one of the few times we feature amongst Europes elite for the next decade, we’ve nothing to lose, all we had to do to achieve a successful European run was see off Hapoel Be’er Sheva and we did, hopefully the players take that approach as well and enjoy as well as learn from the experience of this European adventure.
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