Celtic Park is always a great venue to be at on European nights and with Brendan Rodgers team taking control of the domestic league they will come into this difficult clash with Valencia in a more confident frame of mind. Form Labs bring you their betting preview and tips for the Europa League round of 32 first leg clash and don’t forget to head over to our FanBoosts section and check out our enhanced odds available!
Celtic In Domestic Control
Normality has resumed in the SPL as Celtic have pulled six points clear of nearest challengers Rangers, winning 10 of their last 11 matches across all competitions as they’ve kept nine clean sheets and netted 31 goals.
Although domestic results can only be used as a weak barometer ahead of this clash given the superior quality of La Liga, they were highly competitive in the group stages of this tournament as they won three and lost three, including home wins over RB Leipzig and Rosenborg.
New Recruits At Celtic
Brendan Rodgers has also been able to strengthen his squad over the winter transfer window, which is just as well given they have numerous injury concerns coming into this game.
Tom Rogic should miss out, while Olivier Ntcham and Kieran Tierney are the main doubts, though the former Liverpool manager has plenty of options to choose from and he’s unlikely to alter much from the side that just beat St. Johnstone 5-0.
Valencia Recent Results
Valencia avoided defeat at Old Trafford and only lost by a single goal away at Juve in the Champions League this term, but those results came earlier in the campaign when Marcelino’s men were more defensively minded.
A run of seven stalemates from eight matches during September and October forced the visitors to take a more proactive approach in games as their position in the table was suffering.
Although their output at the sharp end is still amongst the lowest in La Liga, while their defence is only bettered by Atletico and Getafe, their recent outings have seen plenty of goals with nine of the past 12 across all competitions featuring a minimum of three, while three of the past four matches have seen four strikes each.
The chances of a high-scoring game are increased further by the fact Marcelino may have to make do without ball-playing centre-back Gabriel Paulista, with Valencia both scoring and conceding more per game when the ex-Arsenal man features in La Liga since the start of last season. Given the way Celtic are bombing forward at the moment and the attacking nature of their head coach, coupled with Valencia’s 10 goals in their last five games, we expect the first leg to provide plenty of entertainment .
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*odds subject to change.