Celtic Strikers Need To Shine In Brussels Against Anderlecht

The form of your forward line can be a massive advantage in the Champions League.

In the first week of fixtures; Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar destroyed Celtic in Glasgow. A Lionel Messi brace broke Juventus hearts, Harry Kane produced the goods against Borussia Dortmund and Cristiano Ronaldo netted twice in Real Madrid’s successful start to their title defence.

In this second round of ties, Celtic travel to Brussels to face Belgian league champs Anderlecht. It’s widely assumed that these two will be battling it out to finish in third place in Group B. They both suffered heavy defeats in their opening games, so the games against each other could be huge if they want to remain in Europe beyond Christmas!

For the Scottish Premiership leaders to be successful at the Stade Constant Vanden Stock then they will need their strikers to excel when leading the line and for one of them to grab the vital goal(s).

Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers will have to choose between in-form hitman Leigh Griffiths and young French striker Moussa Dembele.

I think Griffiths will be favourite to start as he has really impressed in recent months both for club and country.

The Scottish internationalist has scored six times in thirteen club appearances so far this term. That includes a goal in Celtic’s recent 2-0 victory over Rangers this past weekend.

His all round game has improved too.

Leigh can run into the channels, cause problems with set-pieces and his hold up play has come on leaps and bounds. His finishes are usually smart and he can find space in the penalty area, which is a great commodity for any striker.

On the minus side; sometimes his hard work ethic takes him away from the penalty area, he doesn’t have a great record in the Champions League group stages and his temperament can be a bit suspect.

With all that in mind, Rodgers might be inclined to give Dembele the striker’s starting jersey.

Moussa banged in a whopping thirty-two goals in forty-nine matches in his debut season at Parkhead. He smashed in an Old Firm hat trick and he also helped himself to five goals in twelve European ties last term. He particularly impressed in games against Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach.

His fine form continued when he won a call-up into the French U21 side, he has four goals in six caps for Les Bluets. That’s why some of Europe’s biggest clubs were looking at the twenty-one year old with a view of purchasing him from Celtic for a vast sum.

Dembele can finish with either foot, he also has a great turn of pace, is a big game player who is fully composed in front of goal and has the belief that he deserves to be playing at the highest level.

He returned to the first team after a hamstring injury to find the net against Ross County but will he be fit enough to start in the Champions League crunch tie?

Boss Rogers has been very vocal in his support of both players.

After the win over Gers at Ibrox he said this about Griffiths:

“To come into a club like this and score that number of goals in 100 games, it’s brilliant,”

“He goes into every game he plays believing he can score.”

During his epic season last year Brendan was quick to compliment Moussa Dembele:

“I worked with Didier Drogba at Chelsea and I think Moussa’s of that ilk,”

“He’s a big-game player and he has a belief. He is a boy who can get to the top but there are some things to work upon yet.”

We know that the Celtic gaffer believes in both of his forwards and will trust either of them to lead the line. He also has the raw skill-set of Odsonne Edouard to call upon too.

No matter which of them starts against Anderlecht, they need to be at their best if the Hoops are to bring the points back from Belgium.

The Belgian giants have suffered from an iffy start to their season so far.

They sit in seventh place in the Jupiler Pro League with three wins, three draws and two defeats to their name. In those opening ten league outings Anderlecht have concede ten times. In a home clash they conceded three strikes in a defeat by Sint-Truiden.

If that inconsistent form continues then Celtic could create some chances and if they do then one of their hitmen needs to find the net to give their side the best chance of victory.

It should be noted that the Purple & Whites have had a bounce under caretaker coach Nicolas Frutos and haven’t lost in their last three matches.

That being said, Celtic will offer up sterner opposition and if they have a goalscoring striker leading the line then I’d not be surprised to see the Glasgow side pick up the vital three points on Wednesday night!

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