Celtic v West Ham (Review)

Celtic 2

(McGregor 8, Christie 50)


West Ham 6

(Antonio 23, 32, Noble 38 pen, Benrahma 54, Bowen 74, Oko-Flex 85)



Not much stats to report on as lack of availability for a friendly.


1st half team opposite.


Pretty much the team we believe will start against FC Midtjylland on Wednesday.


Murray coming in for Bitton who is suspended on Wednesday.


The surprise in the line up was in the subs with Ajeti not listed.


Apparently Ajeti had a knock and might be ok for Wednesday.






At half time Bain came on for Barkas and then after 55mins the 10 outfield players were all replaced.


It was interesting to see Robertson in the Pivot role and Urhoghide persevered with at Right Back.


Griffiths and Forrest got their first action of the season.

No minutes for Bolingoli either and as 3rd choice when the 1st choice isn't great time could be up for him soon.


Connell and Doohan also didn't feature at all. Ntcham didn't even make the bench.


It's hard to comment on good or bad individual performances when you get beat 6-2.


I notice Twitter was very critical of Barkas and there are some that just don't want to criticise him and say that he hasn't made any big errors. I'm sorry even if that was the case that's not how we should measure a Celtic Class goalkeeper. How many errors he does. Surely we can have a better expectation than having a keeper that doesn't commit errors.


I mentioned in this article https://www.celtictrends.com/post/celtic-v-ac-milan-thu-oct-22nd-2020 on our game against Milan in October that while I'm no goalkeeping coach Barkas's positioning just looks all wrong.

When watching the penalty I predicted Barkas would just fall flat on the ground taking up no space.


I'm not blaming Barkas for us getting beat 6-2 just as I'm not blaming Barkas for Noble scoring a penalty. He is expected to score his penalty. However characteristics shown by Barkas at the penalty amongst other instances in the game again highlight what was mentioned last year around his natural ability.


Can Barkas come good and has views of him been unfair ? Possibly. However if Barkas remains No.1 for Celtic this year we will not will the League. We need a keeper who's going to overperform and help get that title.


In regards to positives from the game then McGregor scoring from a turnover and Christie scoring from an Abada assist are positives for future. More goals from turnovers this year is definitely in the Ange plan. More goals from McGregor this season will also be beneficial and that is something he is very capable of.


I thought Robertson looked very tidy on the ball and I might get criticism for this but there's something about Urhoghide I like. I'm not saying for one minute he has played well this pre-season but he does look like he has good attributes that could turn him into a player.


Shaw, Montgomery, Urhoghide, Henderson and Hjelde have played in every game apart from the Midtjylland one on Tuesday. Montgomery has played 55% of the total minutes available.


As mentioned earlier I expect the starting line up on Wednesday to be the same one as today but I'm not convinced Edouard is more likely to score than Ajeti. He is more likely to produce a chance than Ajeti but he is not clinical enough and I'd like to see us fit Ajeti into the team for Wednesday. We could play Edouard wide left.


Last year Edouard only scored 5 non penalty goals that took us into a lead while the year before (19/20) it was 13 and the year before that it was 9 (18/19). Griffiths scored 4 goals last year that took us into the lead and Elyounoussi actually scored more than Edouard with 6.


Last year 50% of Edouard's goals came when we were already leading (41% the year before).


We need more contribution from our main forward to take us into the lead otherwise the longer the game goes on the more pressure and nervousness that puts on to our defence.



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Tony@CelticTrends.com


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