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Celtic v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League Play-Off Round
Celtic Park – Glasgow, Scotland
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
19:45 GMT, 20:45 CET, 14:45 EST
Scottish club Celtic will face Arsenal in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League play-off with the winner reaching the group stage. Each club started their domestic league season this past weekend. Arsenal made it to the semifinals in the 2008-09 Champions League, losing to Manchester United while Celtic placed 4th in Group E and didn’t reach the knockout stage. Live coverage will begin about 15 minutes before kick-off or 14:30 EST (19:30 GMT, 20:30 CET).
Arsenal looked impressive in their Premier League season opener with a 6-1 thrashing of Everton. Celtic also won on the road in their domestic league opener with a 3-1 victory at Aberdeen. The first leg will be at Celtic Park where the Scottish club can expect to have a strong home crowd. Overall, they’ve been a much better team at home in the Champions League and need to get a victory or several goal lead heading to the Emirates for the 2nd leg.
Arsenal will be the favorites to advance and really need to keep the match within a goal or two with the second leg going back to London. Their early season form looks strong and if Fabregas and Robin van Persie perform like they did against Everton, it will likely be another road victory. Celtic is a solid club but doesn’t have the same class of talent that Arsenal possesses. Will Arsene Wenger give rising start Jack Wilshere a chance in this match or as a 2nd half substitute?
Overall, it should be a very competitive match as Celtic will be motivated by a home crowd but Arsenal is riding high with lots of confidence. The second leg will be on Wednesday, August 26 at the Emirates Stadium.
Celtic v Arsenal – Live Blog