The most important aspect about team plan for tonight will be the balancing act between aggression and discipline. Celtic need to get in about Legia without losing discipline. Legia roped us in perfectly last week. A buoyant home crowd fed off meaty challenges but when the red mist rose, they adopted choir boy looks. We didn’t.
Celtic need to disorientate Legia in a similar way; get physical, expect the same back, but remain in control of events. Efe Ambrose’ red card was critical to the outcome of the game in Warsaw, let’s work on their less-controlled players to see if we can tempt them into a similar fate.
An early goal would be nice but it it’s not necessary. 90 minutes is a long time to defend a lead and we should remember how last year Shakhter Karagandy kept things tight for 44 minutes before losing 3-0. If we can’t get an early goal it’s just as important to get Legia chasing the ball and making tackles.
Legia’s first half game plan will be to keep it tight frustrate the crowd. If there’s little penetration in the opening period we need to stick with the players, give them encouragement whenever possible – this works.
Beside our normal game plan there are a couple of objectives we should be looking for:
Get into the box. Despite having limited possession, Legia did this perfectly last week. If you’re in the box you force defenders into committing to challenges they would rather not. Make getting into the box a territorial objective and we’ll get a penalty. Or two.
Shoot often. Both our goals away from home in Europe this season have come from deflections, from limited opportunities.
Legia will tire late in the game. Teams always do when they have to traverse the Continent before a game. Teams also tire when the opposition have the bulk of possession and move the ball, and therefore opponents, around quickly. Keep the ball moving, bring on four fresh legs with 20 minutes to go and exploit this natural advantage.
Play it clever, and we’ll have enough in the tank.[calameo code=000390171ae033f39a0c4 lang=en page=120 hidelinks=1 width=100% height=500]