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Celtic v Jablonec (Preview)

As mentioned in the first leg preview Jablonec finished 3rd in the Czech Republic league last year 5pts behind Sparta Prague in 2nd and 17pts behind Slavia Prague in 1st. They lost out in the qualifying stages of the Europa League last year to Slovakian side DAC 1904.

This was Jablonec's line up for their game on Sunday against Bohemians 1905 where they drew 2-2.

In goals was Hanus and he has played in all of their 4 matches this season. As has left back Krob and Left Centre Back Zeleny.

Kubista has played in every game as well however in the other 3 games he played in central midfield. Martinec dropping to the bench here.

Holik was their 3rd right back of the season after Stepanek and then Surzyn (versus us) were tried.

Holding midfielder Provazanec and main goal threat Dolezal have played all 4 games this season as has Kratochvil. Pilar's first start was against us (replacing Malinsky) and he kept his place on Sunday. Malinksy came back in on the opposite flank and replaced Plestil who had played in all the 3 previous games. Houska came in for his first start and repalced Kubista in midfield as he dropped back into defence.

Stepanek, Surzyn, Martinec and Plestil were all on the bench so the changes must have been tactical rather than injury related.

Jablonec have played 4 and won 1 which was their first game of the season at home to Banik Ostrava where they won 1-0. They have scored 5 goals in their 4 games and conceded 9. Their 5 goals have been scored by Pilar 3 (1 pen), Cvancara and a Bitton OG. As mentioned in the first leg preview 47% of their goals last season came from Dolezal and Schranz with Schranz no longer at the club.

Against us their top 3 players for xG were Pilar 0.6, Cvancara 0.38 and Dolezal 0.19.

In the first leg their players with the most passes were Provazanec (31), Zeleny (29) and Martinec (28).

In terms of comparison and other Czech Republic teams this season so far then;

  • Slavia Prague (who knocked out Leicester and Rangers last year) were knocked out of the Champions League this year by Ferencvaros (remember them?) 2-1 on aggregate.

  • Sparta Prague (remember them??) were knocked out of the Champions League this year by Monaco 5-1 on aggregate.

  • Viktoria Plzen knocked out Dynamo Brest from Belarus in the Conference League 4-2 on aggregate but are losing to TNS from Wales 4-2 from the first leg in this round.

  • Slovacko were knocked out of the Conference League by Lokomotiv Plovdiv from Bulgaria on penalties

In the first leg the xG was 1.69 for Jablonec and 3.54 for Celtic with 0.15 of their xG coming from set plays. Possession was 66% v 34% in Celtic's favour and accurate passes were 531 versus 222 (again in Celtic's favour). Passing accuracy was 72% Jablonec and 86% Celtic and Jablonec had 71 long balls versus our 33.

In regards to Celtic's line up I'm sure the majority will hold down their places from Sunday. The exceptions could be Forrest in for Rogic with Christie dropping back or even Soro in for Rogic. Personally I'd prefer us to either give Rogic 4 or 5 games to have a chance or just not play him at all. He's no use as a bit part player and I can understand an argument just to get rid of him and I can also understand an argument to give him game time and get him to his best. But for me it has to be one or the other. A bit part player is no use and we'd be better using Scott Robertson as the bit part player then in my opinion.

The only other surprise we could possibly see is Montgomery starting instead of Taylor. I predicted Rogic coming in on Sunday so let's see if my Montgomery prediction comes to fruition as well.

In regards to a scoreline prediction (which I got right on Sunday ... along with a Furuhashi hat-trick prediction) I'm going to go for another convincing win as Ange keeps the team progression going. We don't stop!!!

I'm going for a 7-0 victory this time. (I think I might just be getting too carried away now!!).

Probabilities of Celtic winning this match are 63% with it being 12% for Jablonec and 25% for the draw.

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