Liam Kelly previews Celtic's trip to face Real Betis in the Europa League group stage, expecting an impressive performance from the home side.
1pt Real Betis to win and Under 3.5 Goals at 6/4 (Sky Bet)
Ange Postecoglou's Celtic travel to the beautiful city of Seville to line-up against a team whose colours are inspired by the Scottish side — Real Betis.
It will be a difficult start to Group G, though, especially with no away fans allowed in the Benito Villamarin, making the task at hand in Andalusia even tougher.
Celtic's early season star, Kyogo Furuhashi, will also miss the trip, a severe blow for the Hoops considering the attacking output he has provided so far.
Furuhashi, who was injured on international duty in Japan, is a key cog in the fairly expansive Postecoglou machine, so his absence will be evident in terms of chance creation for Celtic.
Additionally, Real Betis will be hard to break down, already proving to be a defensive force in what has been a quiet start to the La Liga season across the board, averaging 0.98 expected goals against (xGA) per game.
As a result, this match-up might feature less goals than you would usually expect from a Celtic side usually intent on an attacking style.
The short turnaround for the home side (played three days before this fixture) makes a lower-scoring affair even more likely, but I'm still expecting Real Betis to make good on the clear gulf in quality between the teams.
Consequently, REAL BETIS TO WIN AND UNDER 3.5 GOALS IN THE MATCH makes appeal at 6/4.
Manuel Pellegrini's men are rounding into form following a mediocre start to the season, putting in a good display despite losing 1-0 to Real Madrid, before gaining a fully deserved three points against Granada on Monday night (xG: GRA 0.88 - 2.57 BET).
Celtic got back on track with a 3-0 win over Ross County at the weekend, but their previous two games against Rangers and AZ Alkmaar (both defeats) show that they are short of the required level to test Real Betis on the road.
Score prediction: Real Betis 2-0 Celtic (Sky Bet odds: 11/1)
Odds correct at 1200 BST (14/09/21)
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