Celtic are looking for their second win of the pre-season this Saturday when they meet Premiership big spenders Chelsea on their tour of USA & Canada. The Chelsea match is Celtic’s first of their tour and will be looking forward to their first real challenge without Parkhead legend Henrik Larsson.
The game will take place at the magnificent home of the Seattle Seahawks in Washington DC, the 67,000 all seater is where Celtic met Manchester United this time last year and lost 4-0. Celtic flew out to their base in the USA fresh off the back of a 2-0 win at Craven Cottage against Fulham.
During the pre-season Chelsea have so far played one match in which they drew 1-1 with League 2 side Oxford Town with new signing Mateja Kezman on the scoresheet. Unlike Celtic, Chelsea have once again been active in this seasons transfer market bringing in Paulo Ferreira, Mateja Kezman, Petr Cech and Arjen Robben whilst Didier Drogba and Tiago Mendes are also expected to join shortly. Chelsea also appointed a new coach in Joe Mourinho who took over from Claudio Ranieri, Mourinho who signed from Portuguese champions FC Porto led them to a European and UEFA cup.
Despite Celtic being inactive in this seasons market many youngsters are expected to make a name for themselves on the coming tour, 18 year old Aiden Mcgeady who recently got his first cap for Ireland is expected to make a big impact on the SPL this season and he is thought to be relishing playing the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Celtic don’t have any injury worries ahead of the match except youngster Stephen Mcmanus who went off early on against Fulham with a suspected leg injury and long term absentees Shaun Maloney and John Kennedy who aren’t expected to play again until Christmas at the earliest.
Player to Watch
The 25 year old Yugoslavian was signed at the beginning of the summer as part of Mourinho’s revolution at the club. This quick striker possesses skill, pace, strength and a terrific eye for goal, this could prove a problem for the Celtic defence as we lack a defender with any real speed to match Chelsea’s forwards. Mourinho signed the player from Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven who let the forward go for just £5,000,000. Kezman holds a brilliant record for scoring goals whilst in the Netherlands, he appeared 112 times for PSV and notched up an impressive 105 goals.
Likely line up
I think that Martin may actually start a number of first teamers for this game whilst including a few reserves.
If we are to win the match then I believe we need to do a few things, firstly we need to pack up and crowd the midfield so Chelsea’s playmakers don’t get time on the ball to work their magic, I can’t imagine the Chelsea midfielders are looking forward to playing the likes of Neil Lennon anyway. We also need to cut out our traditional ball watching which our defence constantly does, we cannot forget that we are playing world class players and the slightest mistake could prove crucial. I’m hoping that Chelsea don’t complete the signing of Didier Drogba before the game as he could also prove to be another thorn in our side, the defence needs to keep a close eye on Kezman and keep him under wraps. If all of this is done correctly I think that we may have a chance.
However, with all the chopping and changing that will take place I fear that our weaker squad members won’t rise to the occasion and I think Chelsea will run out comfortable winners. Lets hope I’m wrong ay.
BTG’s prediction : Chelsea 3-1 Celtic