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Midtjylland v Celtic (Review)

Midtjylland 2

(Mabil 61, Nwadike 94) xG 1.78

Celtic 1

(McGregor 48) xG 0.49


Midtjylland actually lined up with a back 5 for this game. Something I mentioned they could do in my Preview ( as they had done at the weekend v Aalborg.

Celtic outfield 10 lined up as predicted but there was a change in goal with Bain coming in for Barkas.

Celtic lined up (with Fotmob match ratings);

- Bain 6.59

- Ralston 6.98, Welsh 6.47, Murray 7.7 and Taylor 7.58 (Montgomery 6.77)

- Turnbull 6.95 (Ajeti 5.92), Soro 6.05 (Rogic 6.2) and McGregor 8.11

- Abada 6.44 (Forrest 6.23), Edouard 5.97 and Christie 6.89

First half stats were;

- Possession 60% Celtic (a decline from the 66% that we achieved in last week's first half at home to Midtjylland)

- Passes 231 v 121 for Midtjylland (an increase of 14% on Passes versus last week's first half)

- Passes 84%. (Up from 82% on last week's first half).

Less possession which can be expected when away from but better passing was a positive.

McGregor scored an excellent goal from a 0.03 xG chance on 48 minutes.

In total we only had a total of 0.49 xG and unlike last week Midtjylland created better chances with an xG of 1.78. Therefore a differential of 1.29 which was less than our differential of 1.87 last week.

Like last week though we had taken the lead again.

We seem to be a team that does well with possession and domination of a game when it is tied 0-0. However when we score we seem to get nervous and this usually leads to us conceding and when we concede we get deflated. We also get nervous if that 0-0 gets longer into the game. I'm not sure what the answer is.

The team was called out last year for not trying etc but I've never bought into that. At times some were just trying too hard and making mistakes because of this. The burden of 10 in a row really affected the players and hopefully that doesn't carry over to this season. The players badly need a confidence boost.

Despite having more of the ball in the 120 minutes (possession 63%) it was us that looked more tired as we went into extra time. Did psychology play a part?

Passing accuracy after 120mins was 81% (down from last week's 86% and it was actually 84% after 90mins) but even that 81% flattered. Some of the passing was the wrong choices and some of the passing was not in front of the player and making the player check back etc. It just wasn't slick. There were also more long balls this week with 10.7% of our passing long balls versus 7.7% last week.

Before the game I just wasn't confident that Edouard would produce that killer goal for us as last year he only scored 5 non penalty goals that took us into the lead. I would have preferred Ajeti to be playing and Edouard to be played wide left. I did say in my match Preview that we would score one goal and it would come from a shot outside the box from Turnbull, McGregor or Christie.

Looking at accurate passes versus the previous week the majority of players had less (I calculated as accurate pass per 90mins for a level comparison). The players who had more were Bain 39 (versus Barkas's 34 last week), Taylor 47 v 37 last week, Abada 20 v 14 last week, Edouard 11 v 9 last week and with the biggest difference Turnbull 52 versus 28 last week. An 86% increase.

Last week Turnbull contributed 6% to our total accurate passes while this week he contributed 11%. The biggest decline was Soro who contributed 12% last week and only 7% this week.

I thought Ralston had a good game and didn't look out of place versus his team-mates. That's not to say we don't need a new right back, we definitely do. I'm just recognising his performance given the criticism he has received lately. I also really like the look of Murray and from what I have seen I think he has all the attributes to become a great player for us.

Overall a very disappointing night again in our Champions League qualification journey and Ange has a big job on his hands this year.

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