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Celtic v Rangers (Match Preview)

Match probabilities based on bookmaker prices are Celtic 45%, Rangers 28% and a draw 28%. It is a 23% probability that Celtic win by 2 or more goals. So Celtic winning by 2 or more goals is not far off the same likelihood that Rangers just win the game.

xG (expected goals) from the 7 previous Celtic v Rangers league games from this season and last season are displayed on the below graph.

Celtic having a positive variance in all 3 games this season and a positive variance in 5 of the 7 games. Celtic's xG differential has not come from extra shooting as Rangers are averaging 13 shots per game versus Celtic's 10.7 but it is down to the quality of Celtic's chances as xG per shot is 0.162 for Celtic and 0.067 for Rangers. Celtic getting 141% more xG on their chances than Rangers.

In regards to both teams performances against all teams this season below is the xPts (expected points) graph (credit to the guys @CynicAnalysis) with trendlines that show Celtic's continued improvement and Rangers decline through peaks and troughs. The graph is on a 6 game rolling average which should smooth out these performance metrics.

The start of the season was very neck and neck and in fact Rangers opened up a little gap just before Steve Gerrard left but since matchday 17 Celtic have been consistently ahead with the gap widening. For the season to date the xPts per match averages are 2.47 for Celtic and 2.33 for Rangers.

Rangers likely line up (with xG per game/Key Passes per game);

- McGregor

- Tavernier (0.22/3.23), Goldson (0.13/0.63), Balogun (0.09/0.22) and Bassey (0.03/0.77)

- Jack (0.08/0.75) and Lundstram (0.04/0.4)

- Ramsey (0.41/0.6), Aribo (0.16/1.87) and Kent (0.18/1.75)

- Roofe (0.41/0.71)

A total of 1.75 xG and 10.93 Key Passes for the team.

Rangers average player position versus Braga oppisite.

There were two noticeable things with Rangers in their game versus Braga. One was that Ramsey played wide right and Aribo central whereas versus Celtic Aribo played wide with Ramsey in the centre. The other noticeable thing was Roofe had 33 pressures while Morelos and Sakala had between 6 and 19 pressures in the previous 5 European games.

In goals McGregor has faced 21.02 Post Shot xG chances this season and conceded 19 non penalty goals so saving Rangers 2.02 goals. McGregor has a 70.1% save percentage from the 67 shots on target he has faced this season.

Joe Hart has faced 15.41 Post Shot xG chances and conceded 14 non penalty goals saving Celtic 1.41 goals. Hart's save percentage from his 57 shots on target faced is 73.7%.

Rangers attacking threat mainly comes from Tavernier and he has a total of 367 crosses in the league this season which is well ahead of Jota (190) and Turnbull (141) who come next. Barisic is 4th on 132.

Celtic need to avoid conceding fouls and Aribo and Kent have been fouled 48 and 39 times respectively. Rogic is Celtic's most fouled player on 35 and Rangers have two other players who have been fouled more than that (Bassey and Kamara on 36). Rangers are averaging 0.47 xG from set plays this season (Celtic are averaging 0.45).

Starfelt has committed the most fouls (37) with Morelos (34), Tavernier (34) and next is Jota (33).

Tavernier has won the most tackles (41) and next is Aribo on 32 and Juranovic on 28.

Most interceptions has been Starfelt and Carter-Vickers with 37 and 36 respectively while Lundstram and Balogun have had 28 interceptions each.

Morelos has been caught offside the most on 23 times with Sakala on 14 and Abada on 13.

Celtic likely line up (with xG per game/Key Passes per game);

- Hart

- Juranovic (0.16/1.27), Carter-Vickers (0.07/0.36), Starfelt (0.07/0.24) and Taylor (0.06/1.26)

- Rogic (0.24/1.52), McGregor (0.14/1.54) and Hatate (0.13/1)

- Jota (0.27/2.04), Kyogo (0.55/1) and Maeda (0.53/0.55)

A total of 2.22 xG and 10.78 Key Passes per game for the team.

Celtic predominantly attacking down the left and Rangers down the right with Celtic having 45% of attacks down the left and Rangers having 46% down the right. (Rangers 34% down the right and 20% down the middle and Celtic 36% down the left and 19% down the middle).

59% of Rangers xG is coming in the 2nd half of games this season while 54% of Celtic's xG is coming in the 1st half of games. This should suit Celtic to take the lead and withhold any comeback from Rangers when their legs will tire after extra time on Thursday.

My prediction is for Celtic to be leading 2-0 at half time and to finish off the game 4-0. Goals coming from Kyogo (first), Maeda, Jota and O'Riley as a sub.

Celtic Trends 🍀📈⚽️

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