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A game of 4 halves (Aberdeen review)

Firstly I'll look at the 27th February match and then later in this article I'll look at the both Aberdeen games together.

27th February match review

Celtic 1 (Edouard 8)

Aberdeen 0

Celtic lined up with our 39th different starting 11 of the season with;

- Bain

- Kenny, Welsh, Ajer and Laxalt

- Brown

- Christie, Turnbull and McGregor

- Klimala and Edouard

Laxalt came in for Taylor who was still injured and Rogic didn’t make the squad with Klimala coming in for him (and Christie moving back into midfield).

Christie not playing as a forward? Well done Kennedy. 1st positive.

2nd positive was changing formation during the game to suit game management and we moved to a 4231 on 62mins with Elyounoussi coming on for Klimala.

Elyounoussi came on as subs as we went to a 4231 after 65mins. 3rd positive was bringing on Soro to help with game management and if Soro is long term successor to Brown it was good for Soro to get some game time alongside Brown to learn from him.

4th positive was only using 2 subs. Earlier in the season I thought 5 subs would help us with our bigger squad and thought we should take advantage of this. However I feel we have been disrupted too much with the subs this season and it has impacted on our rhythm during the games. Especially when there are players that need a full runout (ie the forwards).

So that was 4 positives in regards to team selection.

I wasn’t overjoyed at Klimala starting over Ajeti but at least it was 2 forwards. I have produce a separate article on Klimala ( which looks at the lack of support he got from his team-mates.

Our first half stats showed good performance on possession, touches, accurate passes, % pass accuracy and corners. They were ranked either 1st or 2nd in our 13 games this calendar year. First half stats can be viewed here …………..

In regards to individual performances then as @JucoJames and @BhoysAnalytics have already mentioned Scott Brown seemed to play a more controlled and deeper role which suited him better. Almost as a 3rd centre back. Bain also looked like he was being utilised more in this building from the back tactic however he had 35 touches compared to 41 in the last Aberdeen game. 3 of them were further than 30 yards out though indicating maybe a higher starting line for him.

Laxalt has the lowest win % in the squad (excluding Ralston, Johnston and Harper who only started in the 2 Post-Dubai games) at 27%. So good to see him getting a win and a clean sheet. He actually had a decent game but was seen at right back and in the middle of the park on occasions again. Laxalt v Taylor (previous Aberdeen game) stats were; Touches 92v77, Box Touches 2v4, Shots 0v1, Accurate Passes 53v40, % Pass Accuracy 84%v77%, Crosses 4v3, Key Passes 1v1, Successful dribbles 1v1, Lost possession 2v2, Recoveries 5v4, Tackles 1v4, Clearances 2v1, Aerials Won 2v1, Blocks 3v0 and Interceptions 0v0. Laxalt therefore having one of his better games.

Ajer must take credit for organising the defence in recent times as clean sheets are more common now and this is despite the back 4 having a new right back and an inexperienced centre back partner. He had 9 clearances during this match.

An interesting stat was that Christie had the highest pass accuracy at 91% which is good for him given the reputation he has for misplaced passes and inconsistency.

Edouard had 61 touches which is the most he’s had in any game this season however on watching the game it looked like he had 61 touches in every dribble. He was a disappointment for me and if he had a bit less wastefulness we could have had this game won a bit more convincingly. Any of my friends reading this would say it sounds just like me at fives.

I've also done an article on the 15min trends of the game and that can be viewed here ....

A game of 4 halves

Reviewing both games was quite interesting as not often do you get to review 2 games within a short timeframe against the same opponent and at the same venue. Looking at both games together can see if there were any significant changes. Add into that there was a different Manager for each game then analysing them is quite intriguing.

I've already posted the Player Impact Graph for both games here ... and that highlights Christie, Turnbull, Kenny and Edouard had more touches and accurate passes than they did in the previous game against Aberdeen. It also highlighted than Laxalt and Brown had more touches and accurate passes than Taylor and Soro from the previous game.

Looking at the 4 halves both Lennon's team and Kennedy's team had better first half's than second half's which is understandable given that both were hanging on to a lead although Lennon's drop of was more. Lennon's team had a 36% reduction in touches, a 55% reduction in accurate passes, a 45% reduction in final 3rd passes and 17% reduction in % passing accuracy while Kennedy's reduction was 24%, 44%, 32% and 9%.

Lennon's first half outperformed Kennedy's on touches, accurate passes and % passing accuracy but not final 3rd passes. Kennedy's second half outperformed Lennon's second half on all 4 measures below.

Lennon's team definitely started the more sprightlier with 142 and 135 accurate passes in the first 0-15 mins then 15-30 mins and had 55 passes in the final 3rd in the 0-15 mins.

Kennedy's teams though finished both the first half and the second half improving which may hint possibly towards better fitness and game management.

Kennedy did talk before the game about defending from the front and defending from retaining possession and an impressive spell in 30-45mins saw Celtic totally dominate with 83% possession, 205 touches, 165 accurate passes, 92% passing accuracy and 46 final 3rd passes.

Scott Brown was instrumental during this period with 30 touches and his movement and ball recovery were very impressive. Scott Brown had a very good game and had the most possession during the game at 9.4%. He had 105 touches and 84 accurate passes at 90% passing accuracy.

However the full team looked good during this spell passing with confidence, plenty of movement off the ball (pass and move) and some good pressing of the Aberdeen defenders as well. A criticism could be that it didn't lead to many clear cut chances however we were winning at that stage so I would give the benefit of the doubt to it being game management.

As mentioned above the substitutions (and lack of many more) was a positive and this could be a resulting factor in the upward trend in the stats for the last 15mins.

17th Feb game is to the left above with the 27th Feb game to the right.

Looking at the overall match stats for both games the passing accuracy was slightly down from 87% to 86% and shots, shots on target and shots inside the penalty box were weirdly the exact same for all 3 measures.

Possession, Touches and Total Passes increased slightly however there was a massive increase in crosses (45%), corners (75%), final 3rd action (20% increase), final 3rd passes (14%) and box touches (61%).

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