1. The result against Malmo on Wednesday, although disappointing, will be enough to see Celtic go through to the Group Stages of the Champions League.
CHRISTIAN: True – The late goal has somewhat overshadowed what was a really good performance, proving that Celtic is the superior team and getting into really good form. Play this tie 10 times and Celtic should go through 8 of them. Malmö is on a ridiculous streak in the Champions League qualifiers from last season through this, and if that momentum continues I don’t think it would have mattered if result was 3-1 or 3-2. But unless Malmö has another night of destiny or there another defensive calamity, Celtic should be too good over two legs.
SERMANNI: FALSE: I saw nothing to fear in Malmo, they are what I thought they were, a mediocre European side, but what I do fear is our uncanny ability to press the panic button. Lustig’s injury is a major worry as he adds composure and calm to the back line, something that his replacement will likely not. We can score over there, I don’t think we can stop them from doing so however and I fear the worst.
2. Celtic need to dump Ambrose and Izaguire as soon as possible.
CHRISTIAN: False – That’s two questions in one! And with different answers; Izzy needs challenged, not dumped. Focused and disciplined – like against Qarabag – he plays a very important role and is by far the best current alternative on left back. With a genuine challenger I think we’ll see that performance replicated a lot more often. As for Ambrose, it’s a different answer. He definitely needs to be phased out of squad and not be the next centre-half or right-back in line when injury strikes.
SERMANNI: TRUE: They both need to go, as they are pish and a huge liability. Efe has never been good enough for Celtic, at either Centre or Right back and Izzy has been given umpteen chances to add a level consistency to his occasional good performances. Taxi to Bolton for the pair of them.
3. Hearts impressive start to the season will continue and they will genuinely push Celtic and Aberdeen till the end of the season.
CHRISTIAN: False –Tipped Hearts as high as third this season and think that will still be the case. But they don’t have the depth or experience of Aberdeen when it comes to challenging over – almost – the full season. They won’t be as close to Celtic as Dons were last season either, but it’s very encouraging to see another team in the SPFL starting to fulfil what is really their true potential.
SERMANNI: FALSE: I have been impressed with the way Hearts turned themselves around after their financial shenanigans and they have looked impressive in their first few games of the season. I think they will comfortably make the top 6, but pushing Celtic til the end of the season is not going to happen. I also still think they are a bit behind Aberdeen.
4. The signing of Otamendi is a great piece of business by Manchester City and will be an important cog as they march towards the title.
CHRISTIAN: True – It definitely strengthens their squad and seen over the full season it’s a good move, but the timing is a bit awkward. Mangala has had a very good start beside a rejuvenated Kompany and you wouldn’t want to break them up at the moment. In the end, this could actually be a good thing for Otamendi as he gets a few weeks to settle in to a new country, club and league instead of being thrown straight in as the new super expensive saviour.
SERMANNI: TRUE: Otamendi is a class defender, reads the game fantastically well, and has already played with a number of players in the squad (notably Mangala at Porto). City already have a plethora of fantastic attacking talent, but always looked a little naive defensively, especially in Europe. Otamendi is a crucial step in changing that
5. Alan Pardew has highlighted Scott Dann and Jason Puncheon as good enough to break into the England side. Alan Pardew has a point and these players show how bereft of top level talent England have.
CHRISTIAN: False – Alan Pardew has got a great tan, you have to give him that, but on this he’s wrong (and probably just trying to boost his own players). Neither Dann or Puncheon should be anywhere near the England squad, and there’s plenty of better alternatives around.
SERMANNI: FALSE: Pardew is wrong about both being good enough to break into the England side. So although England are crap, they’re not that crap just yet. Puncheon and Dann are as well looking for a Scottish granny, to be honest.
6. The Champions League is so predictable and boring that you can predict the Quarter and Semi finalists before the group stages have commenced.
CHRISTIAN: True – Predictable? Yes. Boring? No
SERMANNI: TRUE: It’s absolutely boring if the truth be told. Champions League used to be a genuinely exciting tournament that made the hairs on back of your neck stand up. It still can, to be fair, and nothing compares to a Champions League Tie at Celtic Park. But it is less so when watching Chelsea vs Barcelona for the umpteenth year in a row. Hopefully there is some level of reform, because it’s getting stale.
Chris is an avid Celtic supporter with leanings towards Juventus and Boca Juniors. A student of film and popular culture, he has an interest in politics and music. Inspired by leaders, his favourite players include Paul Lambert, Juan Román Riquelme and Alessandro Del Piero. Chris is the producer and host of the 90 Minute Cynic football podcast. You can find him on twitter @TheGallatron.