In short, yes they can! As you all know Celtic faces 14-time-winners of Europe Real Madrid in tonight’s Group F game at Parkhead to kick off the Champions League campaign. Can the Lisbon Lions pull off a shock to defeat last season’s winners?
Celtic’s season so far
Celtic are first in the SPFL table with 18 points from 6 games which translates into 29 goals scored and 2 goals conceded so far. Those results included a record 9-0 mauling of Dundee United as well as a 4-0 thumping of The Rangers. They are 5 points ahead of their rivals who lie in 2nd place.
Real Madrid’s season so far
Los Blancos are top of the La Liga with a 100% winning record winning 4 out of 4. They have scored 11 and have conceded 4. The most impressive results so far were a 4-1 victory over Celta Vigo and a 2-1 win against Real Betis.
Celtic’s best form of defence has been attack and he has no plans to change that. That attacking style of play has led to the 29 goals I previously mentioned. His style of play is similar to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in terms of implementing structured passing and pressing that enhances the team’s chances of both ball possession and recovery. The Australian’s philosophy is based on the team which means that he fits players into that structure rather than relying on an individual’s moment of brilliance to rescue a result. Brendan Rodgers was also similar in his approach and stayed true to his principles in Europe.
He managed a 3-3 draw against Manchester City but he suffered humiliating results against Barcelona (7-0) and also lost to PSG (12-1) on aggregate. That is the danger when it comes to staying committed to Plan A against teams that have almost unlimited resources compared to what you are up against domestically in Scotland. The next thing you have to consider is Ange Postecoglou’s plan A better than Brendan Rodgers’ Plan A.
When you speak to the average Celtic fan they do argue that is the case but only time will tell. From personal experience, this is the best Celtic team I have seen in terms of goals and excitement. Yes, they have conceded just two goals this season but in Europe that can certainly go against you on the opposite end of the field.
“There’s no point playing football in a cetain way but when you get an opportunity to measure it against the very best, you shy away from it and kind of go: ‘You know what, let’s just try and limit any sort of damage.’ That’s not really a test because you don’t know. You could go out there and limit the damage and you might get a win playing a different way, but have you really tested yourself? I don’t think you have.’
Ange Postecoglou, Celtic manager
The Real Madrid manager has won the Champions League a record 4 times and is the first ever manager in history to win a league title in the top 5 European leagues. However, he has failed to win at Parkhead during his glittering career so far.
The veteran Italian has a record of two draws (0-0 twice) and one defeat (2-1 in 2007 with AC Milan’s last 16 knockout stages).
” I love that my teams can play in this atmosphere. It’s obviously going to be a difficult game. They are a lot like us in that they have a good dynamic at the moment, they play with a lot of intensity.”
Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid manager