A return to the Celtic team for Mulumbu would be slap to McGregor's face
Youssouf Mulumbu’s potential return to Celtic’s starting XI tonight against Leipzig would be a massive slap to Callum McGregor’s face.
McGregor has been playing the lone holding role since an injury crisis in that position.
The recognised attacking midfielder has shown how dynamic he is by excelling in the position.
However, Brendan Rodgers may opt to go more defensive minded by putting Mulumbu straight into the first team.
🗣️ BR on @mulumbuofficial: “He trained this week and is back in the squad.”
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) 7 November 2018
Risk playing an arguably unfit Mulumbu
Mulumbu has also shown to be a fantastic buy as he too has put in stellar performances so far.
That said, he hasn’t played any first team football since the 6-0 trouncing of St Johnstone in October.
It won’t send a good message to McGregor if Mulumbu can walk back into his place in the starting XI.
It perhaps could also mean McGregor moving further up the pitch with another recent stand-out replaced.
By Rodgers tinkering with the players and thus the shape of the team, this can change the mentality.
It would potentially mean McGregor playing on the left of an attacking three.
Ryan Christie currently occupies this position but he gives more pace down that side.
McGregor is a much smarter player but in European football the counter is key.
If McGregor stays where he is in the centre
As a holding midfielder, McGregor isn’t afraid to get stuck in, like Mulumbu.
McGregor has a better engine and is more likely to press his opponents for longer.
He can also chip in with a goal where Mulumbu is less likely to do so.
Celtic will lose more if Christie is dropped for McGregor than if Mulumbu replaced him.
If McGregor is dropped entirely then it would be a huge error by Rodgers.
If Mulumbu and McGregor play as a holding two, then it’d be the first they’ve done so together.
Selecting the best players is what’ll be key to winning this evening in an all or nothing match.
It’ll be interesting to see if Rodgers is willing to take a risk.