Malmo vulnerabilities and likely game-plan


Since winning at top of the table Gothenburg on 12 April, Malmo have played 9 away games. They beat Lithuanians, Zalgiris, their first Champions League opponents and won at 8th placed Gelfe, but they could only manage draws away to 13th Falkenberg, 15th, Orebro and 16th (bottom) Atvidaberg.

They lost away to 8th placed Gelfe, 11th placed Kalmar, and Salzburg in the previous Champions League qualifying round. They think they can perform miracles at home, but confidence and form on the road is at rock bottom. One away win in over four months of domestic football is nothing short of a crisis for the defending champions – and they play through the summer in Sweden.

Not only that, but they are without two suspended players on Wednesday. Midfielder, Enoch Kofi was ordered off against Salzburg but Malmo’s biggest worry is the suspension to talismanic striker, Markus Rosenberg.

Rosenberg, 32, re-joined Malmo last year after a career which took him to Ajax, Werder Bremen, Racing Santander and West Brom. He’s scored in each of his last three outings, including one against Salzburg and one against Gothenburg.  It’s no understatement to say there is real anxiety at his absence.  Rosenberg’s form has masked a fragility which only a month ago brought innuendo from the coach, Age Hareide, and chairman, Hakan Jeppsson.  The latter claiming the total value of the team was less than its constituent parts, with Hareide making oblique comments about where his players’ thoughts lie.

The more I learn about them, Malmo sound like they could crack under some sustained Celtic Park pressure.

They know lots about Celtic and, with form and suspensions, they will come to mix it physically and plan to break with pace in the hope of snatching a goal. Such is the difference in their home and away form (the have won their last four home games, scoring 10 and conceding only once), a two goal defeat tomorrow night would be viewed with encouragement in Sweden.

Malmo are aware of Celtic’s threat in the air, specifically from set-pieces.  They will deploy three central defenders in a back five, in an attempt to subvert the way Qarabag and Inverness were overcome at Celtic Park recently.  One of the central defenders is certain to be Kari Arnason, 32, who left Aberdeen after a single season three years ago, on a free to then-League Two Rotherham.

This, together with a desire to break with pace, will be the essence of their game plan.  They expect Nadir Ciftci to lead the line.  If he does, the biggest part of his evening may be to occupy a clutch of defenders, creating space for others to exploit.

Kalmar have won only twice since beating Malmo in May.  Jo Inge Berget opened the scoring for Malmo in the 11th minute, but the champions collapsed late on, under pressure from Kalmar and their 7,800 fans.

We’ve faced Swedish champions twice in the last four years.  Kris Commons scored the first goal in each of the ties.  The script is written, Celtic.

Tomorrow we’ll talk about Hareide’s belief that the threat from Celtic comes mostly from the stands, not from the players……..

You’ll have noticed it’s back to school week.  There will be a collection of old/used backpacks and school bags for Mary’s Meals to take to Malawi, outside Celtic Park, before the St Johnstone game on 29 August.  If you have any lying around, hold onto them and bring them to the game, I’ll remind you closer to the time.

We have another bumblebee top to give away, courtesy of Magners.  Competition will start and end tomorrow, so look out for it!

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  1. johann murdoch on

    Hi bhoys and Ghirls-my son is on a course in London this week ,he is looking to watch Malmö game tomorrow near London Bridge -Kentish town or Camden would be good for him -thanks and hh

  2. Justafan:



    I am not sure I can agree with the inconsistency remark. Stokes was wrongly, in my opinion, slated as being greedy (as was McGeady), but he changed his game and role in the team from being an out and out striker to being a left midfielder. He, over the last couple of years, became the player with the highest assists in the team.


    I believe he and Griffiths could develop an incredibly productive partnership if given the chance…much the same as he and Hooper used to have. I can see the same happening with SA (but live in hope).



    Hail Hail

  3. opps, another mistake (sorry HebCelt :) )…last line should read:


    I can *not* see the same happening with SA (but live in hope).



    Hail Hail

  4. The referee for the game is Felix Brych from Munich, Germany. He has refereed a Scotland vs England game and the 2014 Europa Cup Final. He tends to give out 5 yellows per European game plus the odd red now and again.



    Incidently, both FBs of Malmo can score but the LB looks small relative to the rest of the team….a possible weakness for diagonal balls or corners. Arnason may also be a weak link according to Swedish sources.



    Fingers crossed for tomorrow.




  5. johan murdoch



    Not sure about the Cock Tavern, but the game is definitely on at the Sheephaven Bay, off Camden High Street nearer the Mornington Crescent end.

  6. As last season went on Stokesie’s performances increased significantly to the point of being acceptable to good for much of the time in many of the games. Is that good enough?



    Coming back late in the days running up to the Inter match couldn’t have impressed RD, nor those of us who’d give their eye teeth (or wallies for some!) to pull on the Hoops.



    SA is being played out of position on the left to accommodate Joe Hanson. I’d switch them ASAP!



    HH jamesgang

  7. Dublinbhoy,



    Love your city but not your comments on Armstrong! He must and will play tomorrow. Watch in two years he will be rated at 10 million. On the other hand, GMS will not make it at Celtic, sadly.




  8. Justafan,



    I agree with you about Stokes. Occasionally (very , imo) he has turned it on but not enough to justify a place in the team.



    Imo, the same holds true for Izzaguirre. In fact, while I don’t think much of Mulgrew, tbh, I would rather start with him at LB tomorrow night. Especially so, if Commons doesn’t start, as he has one notable attribute: the dead ball.

  9. Jamesgang:



    I agree, arriving back late before the Inter game was very unprofessional of Stokes and unforgivable but that was months ago. Does Ronny hold grudges for that long? I know us supporters do but should a manager?



    I think swapping SA and SJ would be an interesting experiment for the SPL games to see how they work out but SJ has a bite about him required for central midfield that SA does not possess.



    Hail Hail

  10. 67Heaven .. CHALLENGING THE LIE ..I am wee Oscar...... Ipox belongs to the creditors on

    Good game, ManU …… Memphis ain’t too bad either…..hehe

  11. Why dont the Celtic (who said they can use our name) Trust just FRO and set up their own club – then they can cause as much trouble as they like, with their illiterate crap.



    Of course that club will be in a Sunday morning league – just about their level.

  12. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Beram Kayal scored Brighton’s goal after a minute tonight.



    Neil’s Bolton getting beat one nil by MK Dons.

  13. Hi guys,



    Anyone from Fife going to the game tomorrow.



    Planning on going through to Glasgow early by train, want to do a few things before the match, but going back by train could be dodgy for catching the last bus back into Fife. Just wondered if there were any supporters buses with a spare seat, I could pay for, or anyone who wants some help with petrol money?







  14. Rebus67:



    Yeah Dublin is ok…haven’t been home in a few years and that was only for a family bereavement so didn’t get into the city. I don’t like criticising Celtic players, and rarely do but I certainly hope that Armstrong does make the grade.






    Its my assertion that Izzys poor form is directly related to Armstrong wandering around the pitch leaving our FB stranded. Just keep an eye on him in the next few games and you will see what I mean. As I mentioned earlier, SA is applauded while Izzy gets slated.



    Hail Hail

  15. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    Stokesy is included in the Ireland squad for their next two qualifiers along with the splendidly named, Eunan O’Kane.



    Another has who swapped the six counties team or the other twenty six counties team.

  16. Dublinbhoy



    And SA has a poise required for no10 that seems to dessert Johansson all too often.



    Does RD bear a grudge about inter? Don’t know. But mibbee it was deciding factor on player for whom the jury was out, to coin a phrase?



    HH jamesgang

  17. Dublin….



    I’m a fan of SA. Was keen for a long time that we should sign him.



    But I just don’t hear the applause you keep stating he gets.



    I’m a fan but he’s had a very understated beginning to his Celtic career!




  18. I only posted my exam stuff as I was chuffed wi masel for a change, if I may, can I direct all the love in the room , to KevJ, Philbhoy, and any others who need a bit of luck , and support at this time.Thanks again Bhoys and Ghirls.HH

  19. Jamesgang:



    If we want poise in the midfield we have Bitton. We need someone who can force themself and the ball into the box. Johansen has this ability in spades…it may not be beautiful football but it can be quite effective particularly in the SPL.



    Hail Hail

  20. Hey SANNA,



    I would be looking to get back to Kirkcaldy if possible.







  21. Many thanks those of you who have mailed me already regarding the Living Wage resolution. If my reply doesn’t contain a link to the form please let me know.

  22. Dublinbhoy



    Aye but he quite often falls over his feet once he gets there!!!



    HH jamesgang

  23. Dallas Dallas where the heck is Dallas on

    All the champions league qualifiers tonight have all the home teams leading by a goal so far.



    Astana won one nil earlier on.

  24. TheOriginalSadiesBhoy on

    Dublin Bhoy



    “Either way, against better defenders and a keeper who actually knows what his job is, Armstrong would not have got near the goal on either occasion.”



    You obviously didn’t see him versus Inter at Celtic Park last season. He scored one and forced the Inter defender to put another into his own net. Lay off the young ghuy. He’s a brilliant central midfielder. It’s not his fault he’s being played out of position.

  25. Justafan:



    I know you and others on here are fans of SA. I have read on here many plaudits for SA during games when I have been shouting (to myself) for him to be subbed. Last Saturday SA got MOTM which I thought was so wrong. Scott Brown absolutely bossed the midfield and was without a doubt, IMHO, the MOTM even though he was subbed after an hour. We almost immediately lost control of midfield and conceded two stupid goals.


    Being the 3rd and 4th Stuart Armstrongs goals were not game changing, they came when ICTs defence were on the ropes and if Ronny had not subbed our captain we could have scored a few more.



    Hail Hail

  26. Big teams get big decisions.



    Ref goes to blow for fill time but lets MU throw in the cross.

  27. TOSB….



    Well remembered!!!



    I’d forgotten about SA and the Inter game…



    …age doesn’t come on its own….grrrr