Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash between Celtic and Anderlecht we spoke to Belgofoot’s John Chapman to get a perspective from Belgium on facing Celtic.
Firstly we spoke about the reaction in Belgium to the draw:
“There was a realisation that they were playing Celtic for the third-place spot. No one was particularly optimistic but there was a feeling that there was a chance to qualify for the Europa League.”
On Anderlecht’s very poor start to the season:
“Last season’s success was built on giving Dendoncker and Tielemans responsibility in midfield, on a solid defence and – to an extent – on Teodorczyk’s goals.
Tielemans has gone and Dendoncker has been sulking as his own move did not transpire. Matz Sels (in goal) was imposed on Weiler and has not performed as well as Boeckx did last year. There have been injuries in defence and Teodorczyk stopped scoring some time ago.”
If sacking former manager Rene Weiler was the right thing to to try and rescue the season:
“It’s too soon to talk about rescuing the season, especially given the playoff format – the season really starts in April.
At the end of last season, Weiler said that football had changed and that clubs had to choose between playing attractively or winning points. When he stopped getting the latter without ever doing the former, his position was untenable.
Weiler had several problems: a) poor results, b) poor football, c) he upset the media by not showing them respect, sometimes mocking their questions, d) the crowd were against him, e) he had a conflict with some players, latterly with Sven Kums – in theory Tielemans’ replacement and expensive in Belgian terms – whom he criticised, dropped and eventually played as a libero in Munich (where he was sent-off after 9 minutes).”
The expectations in Anderlecht ahead of the game:
“An amount of cautious optimism because they are at home and they are not PSG or Munich. But they have a caretaker coach (Nicolas Frutos) who is under a lot of pressure and they don’t have a settled team. Most pundits feel that Hein Vanhaezebrouck – Gent’s under-pressure coach – will finally get the job.”
The Anderlecht players who will pose the most danger to Celtic:
“Currently, not many. Henry Onyekuru (on loan from Everton and who Celtic tried to sign last year) has speed and an eye for goal and can cause damage. Sofiane Hanni, on form, can do something special that could turn a game. Nicolae Stanciu was Anderlecht’s biggest ever signing but until last weekend has been a major flop.”
On the Celtic players that Anderlecht need to be wary of:
“To be honest, the club is in such disarray on and off the field, there has been little time (in the media) to think about Celtic’s individuals. However, Frutos is renowned for studying the opposition. I have seen mention of Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembélé.”
Finally, a score prediction for the game:
“Anderlecht 1, Celtic 2.”