This Thursday, Celtic will battle it out in the first leg of the Europa League last 32. They are facing Spanish heavyweights Valencia, who Brendan Rodgers believes are the fourth biggest team in their country. It will be a massive achievement for Celtic to proceed to the last 16 with such a large tie standing in their way.
Celtic have started 2019 brilliantly so far, playing seven games, scoring 21 goals and conceding zero. The January transfer window has definitely improved the team. They have brought in reinforcement in defence with Jeremy Toljan joining on loan from Dortmund until the end of the season.
Oliver Burke and Timothy Weah have also joined on loan and both add attacking improvements and depth to the side. Permanent signing Vakoun Issouf Bayo has yet to make his debut for the senior team and was left out of the Europa League squad for fitness reasons – so he will not play in the knockout round.
Valencia started off this season quite poorly and were criticised for their form away from home. However, since December, they’ve started to find their form again, which is a worrying sign for Celtic.
They have climbed back up to eighth position in the league and even put in an amazing performance to hold Barcelona to a 2-2 draw in the Nou Camp – proving that their away form has drastically improved.
It will not be an easy game for the Hoops, but how confident are the fans of snatching a memorable result on Thursday?
Here is what some had to say:
Andrew, from Bearsden, said:
I am very confident of Celtic achieving a win on Thursday. Celtic’s form in January has been phenomenal and it reminds me of Rodgers’ first season at the club. A 2-0 victory for me!
Nickolas, from Motherwell, said:
I’m fairly optimistic of our chances. We have been playing a lot better recently – much better than we were in the group stages. Valencia are not the team they once were. I’m thinking it will be a 1-0 victory for us.
Declan, from Paisley, said:
Personally, I do not rate La Liga and Spanish football as highly as others. This is a team which is physically exhausted and not great away from home. Celtic should take full advantage of this and get the win that they need. I think it will be 2-1 to Celtic.
Andy, from Westerton, said:
If Burke, Forrest and Sinclair all turn up on Thursday, I can’t see Valencia standing a chance. They are in such great form at the moment. The defence has been great as well so I’m hoping for another clean sheet. It will be 2-0 to Celtic.
Connor, from Springburn, said:
We are in great form at the moment but Valencia are still a big team. I believe this will be the toughest game we’ve had all year but at home, anything can happen. We’ve not conceded since the derby but I can see Valencia scoring one. I still think it will be a win for Celtic but the score will be 2-1.
Clearly, Celtic fans are fairly confident of getting the much-desired win on Thursday.
It is going to be a very tough fixture for Rodgers’ men and their fans will be sitting at the edge of their seat throughout.
A win will be fantastic for Celtic and his side but they will also need to be wary of how many if any, goals they concede as away goals are very costly at this stage.