Thursday 14 February: 8pm
Europa League: Live on BT Sport
Celtic have had a long hard season in European football with their campaign beginning in July of last year. They take on La Liga side Valencia knowing they are in a good position domestically and will look for a lead to take to Spain for the second leg.
It was on July 10, 2018 just days after the World Cup final that Celtic’s European campaign began. They didn’t make it through to the group stages of the Champions League after losing to AEK Athens. Then followed a Europa League play-off and a tough group before finally reaching the knock-out stages.
This home game against Valencia is their 15th game in Europe this season. You can get odds of 80/1 (81.0) on them winning the Europa League which is understandable considering the tough line-up in the competition this season.
It’s not been the easiest of seasons domestically for Celtic. A slow start and the exit from the Champions League saw questions raised over their lack of transfer activity. Recent months have seen a big improvement though and they currently lead the Scottish Premiership by five points.
Celtic certainly struggled to get out of their group and lost two of their first three games. Wins at home and away against bottom side Rosenborg and a crucial home win over RB Leipzig recovered the situation. Even so, they had to rely on a surprise point by Rosenborg at Leipzig to see them qualify in second place.
Home form is important for Celtic when playing in Europe and only Red Bull Salzburg have beaten them at Celtic Park this season. Seven home games in the Champions and Europa Leagues this season have produced five wins, a draw and that loss to Red Bull. Celtic are 5/2 (3.5) at Bet365 to win this match and 3/1 (4.0) at Betfaiir to qualify for the last sixteen.
Finishing second in their group put Celtic at risk of meeting one of the sides transferred from the Champions League. That’s just what happened as they drew Valencia. The Spanish side finished third behind Juventus and Manchester United in their Champions League group.
Valencia finished two points behind second-placed Manchester United. They managed to get a goalless draw at Old Trafford but lost 2-1 at home to them. Their away form in the group saw them earn just two points out of six.
In La Liga, Valencia are eighth in the table and four points from the final Europa League position. 11 away league games has seen them win just three times. They are 11/10 (2.1) at BetVictor to win this match.
Gabriel has been ruled out for Valencia.
The two sides met 18 years ago in the Europa League. Both legs ended in a 1-0 home win with the Spanish side winning on penalties.
The Draw Experts
Valencia have drawn 13 of their 23 games in La Liga. Two of their three away games in their Champions League group ended level. The odds of a draw in this game are 12/5 (3.4) at Betfred.
Under 2.5 Goals
All three of Valencia’s away games in their Champions League group had under 2.5 goals scored in them. 16 out of 23 of their league games have had under 2.5 goals scored. If you think this will be a low-scoring game, it’s 4/5 (1.8) at Betway.
Celtic have won their last seven league and cup games without conceding a goal. Obviously the level of their domestic football isn’t as strong as that played in other major European leagues. Valencia’s boss admits his team are exhausted after a busy campaign in La Liga and the Copa del Rey. Their away form in Europe isn’t strong and they struggle for goals. A bet on Celtic to win and under 2.5 goals is 11/2 (6.5) at Ladbrokes.