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A game of two halves (Aberdeen review)

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

We were excellent versus Aberdeen ................... for 15 minutes but even for the first 45 minutes overall we were very good. The second half started off totally differently and overall the second 45 minutes wasn't anywhere near as good as the first 45 minutes.

We started with our 37th different team of the season and it was a pleasing to see line up with Soro, Ajeti and Welsh coming in;

- Bain

- Kenny, Welsh, Ajer and Taylor

- Soro

- Christie, Turnbull and McGregor

- Ajeti and Edouard

Brown, Klimala, Elyounoussi and Rogic came on as subs.

The Aberdeen team was as I predicted in my pre-match preview

At half time I had a look at the stats versus the first half of our other games since January 2nd and they looked very favourable.

For touches, amount of accurate passes, passing accuracy % and possession % we had the best so far this calendar year.

Watching during the first 15mins I thought my pre-match prediction ( of 5 goals for Celtic had some possibility. We had 86% possession during the first 12 minutes of the match.

I have already posted the 15minute segment trends of the game (for both teams) here but I wanted to look at touches and accurate passes in particular.

Looking at the 15mins trends for just touches and accurate passes the decline is obvious however a concerning observation for me would be that of the 45-60 min section which was our lowest.

Teams don't maintain the same pressure throughout the 90mins and you can understand declines and if fitness goes it can be at the 30-45min or 75-90min segments. Given the fact we declined from 0-15 into 15-30 then declined again from 30-45 it is a bit surprising that we started the 2nd half off with even further decline and our biggest decline of the match. A touches decline of 40% (139 to 83) and accurate passes decline of 56% (96 to 44). What happened at the half time break? Did Derek McInnes inspire his team more?

I did mention in the preview we would need to capitalise on turnovers in the Aberdeen half as Aberdeen were good at defending build up plays and watching the first 15 minutes it looked promising as we were all over Aberdeen and pressurising them in their own half. Winning the ball back off them when we lost it. However as the game progressed we couldn't break them down and couldn't even get passes into their box. We had only 18 touches in the Aberdeen box which is the 4th lowest of the season and only 3 shots on target. It's not as if we were allowed width either as we only had 2 crosses from within the 18 yard line and the by-line the whole match.

So we've looked at the great first half and the poor second half so how did both combined look? I compared the stats versus St Mirren at home as the nearest comparable game. St Mirren have got a better away record than Aberdeen so on paper Aberdeen at home should have been easier and seen an improvement. Also a defeat to St Mirren in itself should have seen an improvement in future performances.

Touches, accurate passes and passing accuracy were all better but what we did with that wasn't effective with only 25% of the game played in the final 3rd (versus 39% against St Mirren), only 183 passes in the final 3rd and only 18 touches in the Aberdeen box.

The follow up game versus Aberdeen will be very intriguing to watch to see if we improve on this game tactically.

I've also already posted the Player Impact graph ( which highlights McGregor as the player with the most touches and accurate passes with Welsh and Ajer following him. Ajeti had the lowest touches and accurate passes but more is discussed in regards to Ajeti in the Ajeti watch here ....

Man of the Match goes to Ajer with 8 clearances and helping to lead the defence to another clean sheep despite a late consorted effort by Aberdeen.

Stop - getting Christie to take Corners and Free Kicks when Turnbull is on the pitch. Genuinely ..... wtf.

Start - turning pressure and possession into chances and goals. We need to take better choices in the final 3rd and when we do we need to execute the passes better.

Continue - keep defending well as a back 4 unit when we are under the pressure in the last moments of games (this has been a big improvement). Also continue with the clean sheets.

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