Will Celtic find a worthy challenger next year?

Celtic are a dozen games into the 2016-17 SPL season and already have a 10-point lead over second-place Aberdeen with a game in hand.

Things could barely be any easier for Brendan Rodgers’ side – 11 wins and one draw to start the season, scoring 35 goals and conceding only eight.  They are on a seven-game winning streak since drawing at Inverness Caledonian Thistle, keeping clean sheets in their last six.

One disappointment to date will be Celtic’s performances in Europe where they have only taken two points from their opening four Champions League group stages. Handing four points to Borussia Monchengladbach means the Scottish champions will need at least one victory from their final two games, versus Barcelona and Manchester City, to have a chance of qualifying for the Europa League knockout rounds in the New Year.

Domestically there is no competition to the Glasgow giants this season and any competition next season may depend on summer transfer dealings from the club themselves. Right now, Celtic’s SPL betting odds for next season are incredibly short.

Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair are obliterating the league this season but their performances are bound to attract interest from bigger clubs around Europe in the summer. The French forward signed from Fulham for only ÂŁ500k earlier this year but is currently being linked with multi-million pound moves to bigger clubs including Arsenal and Manchester United.

Scott Sinclair has had several unsuccessful spells in the Premier League since leaving Swansea City where he was good in the Championship. The 27-year-old would likely be easier to keep hold of the following season.  Sinclair also has Leigh Griffiths, James Forrest and Patrick Bamford helping out with goals – this team has goals all across the park domestically.

Celtic do have areas where they can improve as proven when they compete in Europe. Goalkeeper Craig Gordon is one example whilst centre-back Kolo Toure has a mistake in him in most games. Efe Ambrose hasn’t seen too much action this season but also switches off at the back.

As well as Derek McInnes is doing with Aberdeen it is very unlikely they are going to challenge Celtic for the title next season.  The Dons have only won seven of their 13 league games to date which includes 4-1 and 1-0 defeats to Celtic and elimination from the Europa League at the hands of minnows Maribor of Slovenia.

Rangers are currently third in their first season back in the SPL. A runners-up spot would be excellent for Mark Warburton’s side in attracting some bigger name players in the summer. Neither Kenny Miller or Joe Garner have proven consistent up front so far this season but Harry Forrester and Andy Halliday are chipping in goals from midfield.

Even still, Celtic have the likes of Patrick Bamford and Kris Commons to call upon for goals – the runaway leaders have a lot of depth by Scotland’s standards.

Celtic will have the 2016-17 SPL title wrapped up long before the final game of the season and don’t be surprised if they have an easy ride next season too.

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