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Europa League Match Preview: Celtic v Atletico Madrid

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A win would see Celtic leapfrog the Spanish side, who currently sit on seven points along with Italian outfit Udinese, after four games.

Celtic lost their opening match 2-0 against Atletico in Madrid, but are unbeaten at Celtic Park after drawing 1-1 with Udinese and defeating Rennes 3-1.

If Celtic are to qualify from the group, they must beat Atletico before travelling to Italy to face Udinese in their final group game.

At the weekend Celtic defeated St.Mirren 5-0 at home, closing the gap on league leaders and rivals Rangers to just four points.

Celtic skipper Scott Brown and defender Kelvin Wilson have just returned from injury and the game will have come to early for the duo. Badr El-Kaddouri is cup tied and Thomas Rogne was not registered for Europe.

It is expected that Neil Lennon’ side will keep to the same team bar one, from Saturday with Stokes and Hooper leading the line with Samaras on the left. 20-year-old James Forrest will take his place on the right win, with Ki (coming in for Wanyama) and Kayal in the centre. In defence Joe Ledley will be the makeshift left back, while Adam Matthews sets up at right back, with Glenn Loovens and Daniel Majstorovic in the centre of defence. Although Wanyama could slot into defence at the expense of either Loovens or Majstorovic.

Gary Nunn of This is Atleti, previews Atletico Madrid for Scotzine:

Atlético go to Glasgow on the back of a another derby defeat. As is always the Atlético starting XI is a mystery. Gregorio Manzano has rotated a lot this year and the defeat against Real Madrid changes things. Atlético have another Madrid derby on Sunday against Rayo Vallecano in the Vicente Calderon. The question is will Manzano risk certain players and the most important being Radamel Falcao. Falcao missed the game against Real but has travelled with Atlético to Glasgow. I tend to believe that Manzano will put the striker on the bench and maybe start with Adrian who has been in form lately and maybe Pizzi. Jose Antonio Reyes is paying the price for an argument with Manzano a month ago and looks likely to be on the bench again. The squad that travelled is more or less our strongest squad apart from the absence of Silvio and Tiago.

Another debate surrounds the keepers. With Courtois picking up a red card against Real, Asenjo looks likely to start against Rayo. Some believe that Asenjo should start instead of Courtois to get some much-needed first team experience. It has been nearly 570 days since Asenjo last started a game for Atletico. He had a loan spell cut short last year at Malaga when he suffered his second career threatening injury. Perea will start at right back and Miranda should join Alvaro Dominguez in the centre of defence with Filipe on the left-wing. The midfield is anyone’s guess. Salvio, Mario Suarez, Gabi and Arda Turan would be a good bet with Pizzi and Adrian up front meaning that Reyes, Falcao, Juanfran and Spanish under 20 star Koke on the bench but that is just my opinion.

Celtic (from): Forster, Loovens, Majstorovic, Ledley, Kayal, Wanyama, Matthews, Samaras, Bangura, Stokes, Hooper, McCourt, Forrest, McGeouch, Zaluska, Ki, Blackman.

For a tactical preview of the game check out the excellent Tic Tac Tic website.

Special thanks to Glenmore Investments.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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