Football

Is This the Best XI Celtic Could Name to Play AEK Athens Tonight?

Is This the Best XI Celtic Could Name to Play AEK Athens Tonight?

Celtic play AEK Athens in the Champions League tonight hoping to get a big result that will continue their push for the group stages.

Brendan Rodgers’ men have made the groups the past two seasons, but have their toughest test to make it yet – having to get through four ties to qualify.

On top of that, they had to beat Rosenborg in the last round and now face Greek champions AEK to make the playoff stage.

And that tie didn’t get off to the best start last week, drawing 1-1 at Celtic Park going into tonight’s second leg.

Celtic have travelled to Greece knowing they need to at least score to have a chance of going through.

But how will Rodgers set up his team to get the result they need? Here, we take a look at the best XI he could name to get the job done:

Why 3-5-2?

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Rodgers made use of this formation in pre-season, but hasn’t had much chance to use it due to injuries and players being unavailable in competitive games so far. Now, however, he’s got the majority of his squad back and may look to use the system in a game they have to score in. Most significantly, Moussa Dembele is back fit and it may be worth risking him from the start to be able to go with some serious front power.

Why Lustig at CB?

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Well, simply, there’s no other option. Kristoffer Ajer is suspended and Dedryck Boyata is unavailable so Lustig could move over one to fill in on the right-hand side of a back three. He’s played there before and more than good enough to cope.

Why no McGregor?

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McGregor has been massive for Celtic over the Rodgers era, but it’s hard to see him fitting into this shape. It’s either him or Rogic in the hole and the Aussie’s absence from the game against Hearts at the weekend suggests the manager had tonight’s match in mind for him. Rogic may be a better option to unlock the AEK defence tonight too.

Why Dembele?

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Celtic are a completely different team with him involved. He’s not played since limping off in the second leg of their qualifier against Alashkert in July, but Rodgers has no time to slowly bring him back into the fold. Dembele could be the difference between going through and going out.

Celtic fans – what would your team be?

Let us know in the comments below..

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