Emirates Cup - Arsenal vs Celtic

After making it to the Champions League qualifiers, where they lost to Arsenal, Celtic lost their way in the Scottish League and finished behind rivals Rangers.  After a poor start to the campaign, Neil Lennon replaced Tony Mowbray and was given the job of trying to rescue Celtic.  Celtic finished second to Rangers, 6 points behind, in the SPL in the end and they will be looking to set the record straight this season.
Neil Lennon will look to put last season to bed and concentrate on a good start.  Celtic’s squad has decent depth with some good quality players.  They have however lost keeper Artur Boruc to Fiorentina which will be a big loss.  The keeper has been a crucial member of the Celtic side for a few years and will be sorely missed.
At the back, they do have some former internationals in Andreas Hinkel and Glenn Loovens.  Both provide experience at the back and both their careers have included spells at decent European clubs.  Add to this the tenacity of Scott Brown in the middle of the park and the power of Marc-Antoine Fortune up front and one can see that Celtic have a decent spine to their team.
Lennon has brought in Joe Ledley on a free transfer which may prove to be a very shrewd bit of business.  The Welsh international has been a consistent performer in the Championship for many years and had been touted for a move to the Premiership before signing for Celtic.  He will add quality on the opposite wing to Aidan McGeady, the hugely talented winger who has also been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League.  These two will provide a big threat to many teams this season.
Our Champions League qualifier with Celtic was quite a tasty affair, especially after the hugely controversial penalty that was awarded to the recently departed Eduardo.  I do not expect a similar tough game due to pre season niceties but Celtic will no doubt be committed and hope to shake their position of underdog and come away with a win.  Football wise, they do not match up to the quality of Arsenal but they will look to sit deep and frustrate Arsenal before using their pace out wide to cause problems on the break.
An early goal would definitely force Celtic to come out and play which may leave space at the back to exploit.  Expect Wenger to mix and match his sides over the weekend and we may well see a weaker side take the field on Sunday, what with AC Milan on Saturday being the greater test for the squad.
I am anticipating a different type of game to the one on Saturday, but one that will be equally intriguing.  Celtic will provide a different type of test, one more similar to a few teams in the Premier League who will also come to the Emirates hoping to stifle Arsenal’s rhythm.  It will be a good test to see how we cope with a well organised and deep lying defence.

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