Celtic vs. Sparta Prague – Europa League, November 5, 2020
Celtic will be confident of picking up their first Europa League win of the season when an understrength Sparta Prague team visits Parkhead on Thursday, November 5.
Due to a mixture of injuries and quarantine regulations, the Czech side travels to Scotland without a host first-team players, giving Neil Lennon’s men an ideal opportunity to build on their one-point lead over Sparta in Group H.
After assessing the bookmakers’ odds, I share my prediction and pick for Celtic vs. Sparta Prague.
Celtic vs. Sparta Prague Odds
With Sparta (6.00) missing a number of key players, Celtic (1.40) is the bookies’ obvious favorite to win this clash. In fact, even if the Czechs were at full strength, I don’t think the odds for the home win would have been much higher.
It’s fair to say that Celtic would have been hoping for a better start to this season’s Europa League. The Hoops were outclassed by AC Milan on Matchday 1, losing 3-1 to the Italians, before throwing away a two-goal lead against Lille last week.
After netting in the defeat to Milan, Mohamed Elyounoussi took his tally to three goals in two Europa League games by scoring a first-half brace in France. But Celtic collapsed after the break, allowing Lille to score twice and snatch a draw.
Things haven’t exactly been going to plan domestically, either. The Bhoys already find themselves nine points behind Rangers in Scottish Premiership and have only managed to claim one point from a possible six in their previous two outings.
Still, Celtic booked their place in the Scottish Cup final on Sunday by seeing off Aberdeen, with in-form Elyounoussi getting on the scoresheet once again.
Lennon will be hoping that Elyounoussi can help his side to extend their unbeaten run to four games on Thursday.
Sparta has been flying along in the Czech First League. The Reds have won each of their opening six domestic games this term, scoring 20 goals while conceding just six. But their European outings have been far less fruitful.
Vaclav Kotal’s side was crushed 4-1 by Lille a fortnight ago, before Milan claimed a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Czech’s on Matchday 2. The Reds have only registered two shots on target in the Europa League this season, so it is hardly surprising they sit bottom of Group H without a single point to their name.
Sparta’s squad has been ravaged by injuries and positive Covid tests in recent weeks. Facing Celtic with a full complement was always going to be tricky, but with two goalkeepers sidelined and other important players absent, the size of the task has become even bigger.
Celtic vs. Sparta Prague Pick
Celtic to Win1.40
Lennon will be desperate for his players to kick-start their Europa League campaign, and I believe the visit of Sparta provides them with the perfect opportunity to pick up three points and challenge the top two in Group H.
With Elyounoussi in seemingly unstoppable form and Sparta missing numerous key performers, I’m confident that Celtic will claim a much-needed European victory on Thursday.