Celtic fans are gearing up for one almighty European clash at Parkhead come Thursday night and with both sides feeling they are more than capable of causing the other problems up top, goals seem all but guaranteed.
While Celtic will want to keep their defence tight and make sure that precious away goal does not go back home with Inter Milan, they will know that the Serie A side’s defence is not what it once was – and could well be the key to their victory.
The fact that Inter are currently languishing in a lowly tenth position domestically means that winning the once mocked Europa League is their best chance at getting Champions League football next term – and Roberto Mancini knows this.
Try as he might however he cannot magic players out of thin air, nor can he get them back to full fitness when they are some way from that.
That statement could not be more apt than when looking at full backs Nagatomo, Jonathon and Danilo D’Ambrosio who are all set to miss the clash with injury – and during the weekend game away at Atalanta, the Milan side were forced to play Davide Santon and traditional centre back Hugo Campagnaro on their defensive flanks. Neither impressed or looked overly comfortable, meaning Celtic will look to attack them where they are most vulnerable.
Having issues at full back is one thing, but when you also have a pair of questionable centre halves as your first pick, big problems are on the horizon. From open play, the likes of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven will want to play with pace and a great amount of width to expose Inter’s wide issues – but when it comes to Juan Jesus and Andrea Rannochia in the middle of the defence, pressuring them in the air and from set plays is certainly something Ronny Deila will be instructing his side to do.
Both have problems keeping their hands to themselves in the box and giving away a penalty is not out of the question – and if that is how Celtic get their goal, so be it.
The SPL leaders can both mix it with the best of them when it comes to their on the ball play – with Kris Commons and Stefan Johansen et al – but they are also a physical side who are able to bully teams off the ball and pressurise defenders into making a mistake.
It is that combination that could well see Deila a happy man come the full time whistle.
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