What Will Arsenal Face Tonight at Celtic Park?

By on August 18, 2009

Celtic SupportSomething resembling the scene above along with  a deafening roar akin to about 10 jumbo passenger jets awaits the Arsenal starting XI on the Parkhead pitch tonight in Glasgow. How will Arsenal respond? The recent mire in which Scottish football has sadly found itself notwithstanding, Celtic have a pretty impressive home record in the Champions League in recent seasons crowned by home wins against big sides:

2008-09: drew Manchester United 1-1, beat Villareal 2-0. 2007-08: beat Milan 2-1, beat Benfica 1-0. 2006-07: beat Benfica 3-0, drew Manchester United 1-0, drew AC Milan 0-0.

Celtic ParkThat is an impressive record no matter how you look at it. Also, Arsenal are coming off their 6-1 dismantling of Everton at the weekend, but Celtic are also coming off a relatively impressive 3-1 victory away to Aberdeen in which they were also 3-nil up at the interval. Arsenal do not have a Champions League away record to match Celtic’s home results but last year they won 5-2 at Fenerbahce in a similarly hostile atmosphere. Their confidence must be brimming following the Goodison trip and the captain began trying to keep that confidence from turning into cockiness as soon as the match had ended.

Big tests are usually made up of big questions. Cesc missed alot of his first year as captain through injury and tonight will also be a big test for him and his captaincy. Can he not only keep the team focused on the pitch despite the atmosphere in the stands and, what is more, can he inspire them to kill that atmosphere?

Celtic FC

I, personally, have always been very nervous in the week before these Champions League qualifiers. It is highly unnerving to have such important matches so early in the season but this tie has me far more nervous than usual. Have no doubts about it, tonight is a test. By the time the final whistle is blown, and possibly before, we will have learned something about this Arsenal side.