Rogic the No.8

Updated: Mar 3


We had an unchanged team versus St Mirren which I was disappointed with as I had hoped that Christie and Soro would have come in for Rogic and Brown.


I had mentioned pre-match why I thought Rogic shouldn't play. This wasn't because I am not a Rogic fan. I've loved Rogic during his time with us. It was for 2 reasons. 1) I don't think he has been anywhere near his best recently, and 2) it was more a team structure opinion as we are giving away goals too easily and Rogic as a No.8 is not great defensively.


If he was coming into the team as a No.10 then I would be against this for only point 1 above but the biggest issue for me was the defensiveness needed from a No.8. Especially with Brown currently back in the team. I was even concerned with Turnbull as a No.8 due to Turnbull's defensive attributes but Rogic is an even bigger risk.


In a team with a trusted defence, goalkeeper and defensive midfielder (No.6) the football romantic in me would love Rogic as an 8 and Turnbull as a 10 but it was my worry about us defensively that didn't want Rogic in the team as a No.8. And even with a trusted defence and playing both I'd have had Turnbull as the 8 and Rogic the 10.


At times, like us all, I've been frustrated with Christie this season but when looking back at games I think it seems to be forgotten how well he can be when on his game. At the start of the season he had many stats man of the match performances (Kilmarnock away, Dundee Utd away, St Mirren away, Livingston home, Hibs away, St Johnstone home and Ross County home), he was the top player for key passes in the team at 46 (until recently overtaken by Turnbull) and he has the most assists this year at 8. He still has a role to play and with the current players available (and set up of our team) I believe he is the best suited to be the right sided No.8 due to his workrate and mobility. (However maybe Forrest will be considered for that role when he returns).


Some were very quick to say I was wrong about Rogic and told me so from 16mins onwards because he scored a goal. I wasn't wrong about Rogic because he scored a goal. He scored 1 goal in 85mins of play while the player I suggested should play (Christie) got 1 goal in only 22mins of play. However I was wrong about Rogic because of his overall contribution as he had a better game than I thought he would.


- I was surprised when Rogic came into the team versus Motherwell

- I was then even more surprised that Rogic was the No.8

- I was then gobsmacked that Turnbull was taken off while Rogic was still on the pitch

- I was then in shock as Rogic played then 90mins which is just unheard of. He's never lasted 90mins as a 10 and now lasted 90mins when playing in the more demanding No.8 role???


Rogic's possesion (in graph below) versus Motherwell was 4.7% and quite a bit off Brown, Turnbull and McGregor. He did have a great effort near the end of the game but other than that he was very unconvincing.

Against St Mirren Rogic had 4 shots at goal and scored a quality goal which gave us the foundation for the rest of the match. He had 6 box touches, 3 key passes and looking at his 63 touches 23% of them were in our own half (compared to 13% v Motherwell) suggesting Rogic was tracking back (as a No.8) more than I anticipated he would/could. According to @JucoJames https://twitter.com/jucojames?s=20 and @BhoysAnalytics https://twitter.com/BhoysAnalytics?s=20 Rogic had an xG of 0.2 and an xA of 0.79 versus St Mirren which is very good output.


I've heard many talking about the last 2 games saying things like Turnbull shouldn't have been pushed back to No.8 and Turnbull was better when he went back to the No.10 position in the 2nd half v St Mirren. Turnbull played No.10 for both matches and Rogic played No.8 for both matches. The only possible time there may have been a switch was between 68mins and 80mins in the Motherwell game. This may have been a tactical decision or something that happened by accident. However all the other time in the 2 games Rogic was an 8 and Turnbull remained in the hole.


Below are the touch maps for both players for both games and also average position maps for both games and you can clearly see Turnbull was central and Rogic was right (as No.8) although Rogic playing a bit further forward as an 8 more than McGregor was.


Rogic versus Motherwell Rogic versus St Mirren


Turnbull versus Motherwell Turnbull versus St Mirren


Average positions versus Motherwell Average positions versus St Mirren


Conclusion;

- @JucoJames had Rogic as MotM and this guy knows his stuff so hard to argue. So a far better performance from Rogic than I expected as a No.8 and credit to him for that.

- However I would still have the opinion that Christie is a better option at No.8 and @BhoysAnalytics has a good review of the game that recognises Christie's contribution as a substitute with a 0.39 xG and 0.16 xA.

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