Alashkert v Celtic Preview : The Long Journey Begins

Champion's League Preview
Last Updated : 7th July, 2018 By Steve A

Event Venue: Stadion Nairi, Wednesday 10 July 5pm.

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Current odds for this event are 1-1 with 10Bet (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)

It's only July but we're already in the second month of Europe's top club competition. Celtic begin their campaign to reach the group stages and our preview looks ahead to their first qualifying round tie away to Armenian Champions Alashkert.

Celtic Dare not Lose

Yes beleive it or not but the 2018-19 Champions League has already started. The first games took place on June 26 and this week sees the first qualifying round take place. Celtic don't usually enter this early but the record of Scottish teams in European football hasn't been at all impressive in recent years and Celtic can probably blame Rangers after their Thursday night football European campaign ended in humiliation last year.

All of which means that Celtic have to play eight games in their quest to reach the group stages of this tournament. They had six last year and it wasn't too easy at all for them but they got to the group stages only to end up against PSG and Bayern Munich. Celtic finished third in that group and were transferred to the Europa League but lost in the last 32 to Zenit St Petersburg.

While Celtic dominate at home, it's a different story in Europe but up against an inexperienced Armenian side they should be able to overcome this first hurdle. Away form has been a problem in Europe but they did win at Anderlecht, Linfield and Rosenborg last season. A trip to Rosenborg or Valur awaits them in the next qualifying round if they can get past the Armenian champions.

You can get odds of 10/11 on Celtic to win to nil with William Hill (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)

Armenians Dream of Glory

Alashkert have won the Armenian Premier League three years in a row but there are only six teams taking part. They won the 2017-18 season by six points but Shirak finished 12 points behind them did have that number of points deducted. This clash with Celtic isn't their first match against a Scottish side. They made their debut in the Europa League in the 2015/16 season and beat them on away goals before going out in the second qualifying round to Kairat.

The past two seasons have seen them in the Champions League and on both occasions they beat Saint Coloma from Andorra in the first qualifying round. They have never got past the second qualifying round with defeats by Dinamo Tblisi and BATE Borisov.  Last year's 3-1 loss to BATE Borisov was their first home loss in European competition and they have never won an away game.

They have played three pre-season friendlies and drawn each of them, the last two finishing goalless. They don't look to be the class of Celtic and although it probably won't be a big win for the Scottish side, it's hard to see the Armenians get a lead.

Get odds of 9/1 on Alashkert to beat Celtic with Sportingbet (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly) Prediction

Celtic dare not lose this tie and although it's very early days they should be ready for this away leg in Armenia. They should be of a lot higher standard than their opponents and can get an away win here to put themselves in a strong position to progress to the second qualifying round.

Current odds for Celtic to beat Alashkert this event are 1/3 with Unibet (18+, Ts & Cs Apply. Please Gamble Responsibly)

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  • Alashkert have played three friendlies before this tie with all three drawn, the last 2 both 0-0.
  • The home side won the Armenian Premier League last season by six points.
  • This is Alashkert's third season in the Champions League and the past two seasons have seen two second qualifying round defeats
  • Alashkert have only lost one of their six home games in European competition.
  • The Armenians have only won two out of eight Champions League games.
  • Celtic need to win four ties to reach the group stages
  • Celtic have lost six of their last seven Champions League matches.
  • Celtic have only won three of their last 14 away games in the Champions League

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