Celtic – Match report vs dundee united 22/08/2020

Celtic visited Dundee United hoping to keep their unbeaten start going. Dundee United started well pressing high up the pitch forcing Celtic into mistakes and sloppily giving the ball away. However, this energy quickly ran out and Celtic asserted their dominance on the match. Celtic lined up in a dynamic 4-2-3-1 formation with Odsonne Edouard leading the line. Both Celtic’s fullbacks were an outlet at all times and were positioned high up the pitch, causing numerous overlaps which caused Dundee United problems – especially when their wingers didn’t track back. Dundee United played in a 4-3-3 formation, resulting in their centre-midfielders and wingers working defensive overtime, as their game plan was to play on the counter however their chances were limited.

After an incredible effort from the Dundee United back four and goalkeeper to keep out Celtic for the majority of the match, their defence was breached when former West Ham striker Albian Ajeti came off the bench and scored an scrappy 83rd minute winner that was fully deserved and was Celtic’s 23rd shot in the match.

Ratings:

  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for their level, rewatch
  • D – Below average in this match

Odsonne Edouard

Player Profile

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 16/01/1998
  • Current Club: Sevilla
  • Career: PSG, Toulouse (L), Celtic
  • Position: Striker
  • Preferred foot: Right

After scoring a great goal a couple of days earlier in the Champions League qualifier, Edouard seemed to be off the pace in the first 10 minutes. He was rarely involved in the play and wasn’t moving to make himself available for his teammates. As the first half went on, the striker made more effort to affect the game and he dropped deeper to receive the ball rather than run in behind. Technically, Edouard was outstanding, his exquisite touch makes him a great asset in retaining the ball, being able to hold the ball up and then progressing his side up the pitch by dribbling or laying it off. His ability to drop the ball dead when receiving  a pass enabled him to change from playing with his back to goal to him driving forward with the ball because the defenders couldn’t get near the ball due to his close control. Edouard’s dribbling was another top-quality aspect of his game. Edouard often received the ball on the half turn which set himself up nicely for when he wanted to dribble at the defence, he had quick feet and close control which resulted in him winning several fouls from mistimed sliding challenges due to his nimble and light footwork. The Frenchman was evidently confident in his skillset and dribbling as he toyed with the defender on one occasion, going one way then another including a Cruyff turn followed by a Cruyff turn pass. Furthermore, the French forward always looked threatening and there was always a chance of a goal when he was in and around the penalty box. He picked up a loose bouncing ball in the box and struck it perfectly using the side volley technique and it skimmed the outside of the post. In hindsight, he should have side foot caressed it into the net rather than powerfully side volley it, nonetheless his technique and confidence to strike the ball like that was rather impressive.

The only downside to Edouard’s game is that he portrayed himself as too relaxed when on the ball and sometimes lazy when off it. His dribbling is a great asset but this led to him holding on to the ball for too long and taking unnecessary touches; this enabled the Dundee United defenders to swarm Edouard and often led to his shot or pass being blocked.

Overall, Edouard showcased his excellent skillset and technique which was exemplified with a close-range free kick that skimmed the top of the crossbar after doing brilliantly to get it up and over the wall. His work rate, game involvement and time on the ball could all be improved but I’d be confident these aspects of his game would improve if he was in a top 5 European league with more motivation.

Rating – A1

Olivier Ntcham

Player Profile

  • Nationality: French
  • Age: 24
  • Date of Birth: 09/02/1996
  • Current Club: Celtic
  • Career: Man City (Y), Genoa (L), Celtic
  • Position: Centre Midfield
  • Preferred foot: Right

Ntcham was a presence throughout the match, he utilised his tall height and strong build well, winning several aerial duels and being physical with the opposition using his upper body strength. Ntcham’s main position in this game was in the number 10 role however he was all over the pitch – dropping deep into the defensive midfield position to get on the ball as well as drifting out to the left and right wings to affect the game and create overlaps. Ntcham has a good range of passing when he dropped deep, switching the play to the fullbacks who were in acres of space. He was also competent at short range passing when he picked up the ball in small pockets of space in-between the lines; a lot of Ntcham’s passes were first time or nice flicks which was a great asset when Celtic wanted to increase the tempo of the match and create chances. Ntcham always looked up before receiving the ball and was generally aware of where his team-mates were so he didn’t hold on to the ball for an unnecessary amount of time when he received the ball – something that Edouard could learn from him. The Frenchmen showed glimpses of his technical quality when he found some space on the left wing and put in an excellent pacey whipped cross in between the Dundee United back four and goalkeeper with his weaker left foot. However, his quality was inconsistent – when he arrived late in the box, Ntcham took an awful touch will made his shot with his second touch much harder.

Defensively, Ntcham was very solid and you can tell he used to play as a centre-midfielder in his Genoa days. He offered protection of the midfield when Dundee United did have the ball and he picked up a lot of loose balls, often being quick to react and in the right place at the right time. His physicality was a huge plus in defence and attack: he used great strength as he shrugged off a defender when he was dribbling.

Overall, Ntcham was impressive in his efforts to try and influence the game. His flicks and one touch passes were prominent in his performance and helped Celtic in quickly advancing the ball up the pitch. However, his technique and threatening ability wasn’t as noticeable as Edouard. Ntcham was subbed off on the 73rd minute after not being involved in the second half of the game.

Rating – A2

Jeremie Frimpong

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Dutch
  • Age: 19
  • Date of Birth: 10/12/2000
  • Current Club: Celtic
  • Career: Man City (Y), Celtic
  • Position: Right back
  • Preferred foot: Right

Frimpong is small in height and has a slim physical build however he looked like a good athlete running up and down on the right flank. He started the game off poorly as he had a couple of poor touches from cross field passes. Moreover, his short-range passing was inaccurate and erratic during the first half and he rarely attempted any long balls. When Frimpong had possession of the ball he looked unsure of what to do and seemed to lack confidence, when there was space to dribble into he never looked confident and often decided to pass the ball sidewards or backwards. However, on some occasions when he put his head down to dribble he looked like a good threat, he had quick acceleration and kept good control of the ball winning a couple of fouls on the right wing but it is a shame he didn’t show more confidence and attempt more dribbles. Frimpong wasn’t afraid to put in a cross when the opportunity arose but the majority of his crosses were blocked due to good pressure by the Dundee United left-back.

Defensively, Celtic and Frimpong had little to do however the dutch Right back showed very good recovery pace when a ball was played in behind him and he shielded the ball well winning a foul using good upper body strength. Overall, Frimpong’s game was summed up in the second half when he was positioned on the half way line from a defensive corner, he received the ball from a clearance and showcased good dribbling and pace on the counter attack however his final ball was lacking which could have led to a goal. He has potential to become a solid fullback if he improves his confidence and technical skills on the ball such as his crossing and passing.

Rating – B2

Greg Taylor

Player Profile

  • Nationality: Scottish
  • Age: 22
  • Date of Birth: 05/11/1997
  • Current Club: Celtic
  • Career: Rangers (Y), Kilmarnock (Y), Celtic
  • Position: Left Back
  • Preferred foot: Left

Based on his technical and physical attributes, Taylor was the complete opposite player to Frimpong. Taylor is taller and has a stockier build although is still relatively slim. The Celtic left back was also more assured, conservative, and less erratic than his fullback partner. Taylor had ample of space on the left flank throughout the match and was often found from cross field passes, he had a comfortable touch and his short-range passing was overall sound. He was pressed a lot of the time however he passed around the press most of the time, although some of his passes were intercepted and blocked. Similarly to Frimpong, he didn’t put in many crosses as Celtic’s main attacking threat was through the middle of the park – but he did put in an excellent pinpoint deep cross that found a late arriving Celtic player. Defensively, the Scotsmen had little to do however he impressed when defending a 1 v 1 situation, he stood up and slowly closed down the opposition winger, blocking off his options and he eventually blocked the cross.

Overall, Taylor was a sound player with competent technical skills. He seemed good defensively and was always an outlet on the left hand side; he could improve his attacking dribbling skills and overlapping runs as he wasn’t as dangerous as Frimpong was but he is a good option left back for Celtic to have in their ranks.

Rating – B1

Written by Andrew Hunter / @HunterAnalysis on twitter

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