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Note on last night’s game – Celtic 1-1 Sporting (Celtic win on pens)

July 22, 2010

Due to time issues there will be a delay in the publication of the match analysis from the Sporting Club game.

One thing to point out is that there was less of interest in a tactical sense, partly due to Fortune’s injury throwing a ‘spanner in the works’. From the point he went off, and the subsequent substitution, the structure of the team was a little bit… ‘messy’ (this will be shown in the full analysis).

Interesting points:

  • Contrary to the prediction in the match preview, it doesn’t appear that Lennon played his strongest team – perhaps he’s saving it for Lincoln? – and this was confirmed by his post- match comments that the games are more “fitness exercises” than anything else.
  • We did, however, start with a flexible  4-4-2/4-2-3-1. Could this be the planned arrangement for the Braga 1st leg?
  • Unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep this formation due to Fortune’s injury. It wasn’t all that clear what Lennon’s instructions were as regards field position of players.
  • Scott Brown was excellent. He played as one of the two deep midfielders and perhaps this is his best role? One reason could be that, being deeper, he has more time on the ball and so can be more careful with his passing. Having the other deep midfielder near to him gives him a simple pass whilst also giving him the security to burst forward. It is vital, however, that if he is earmarked for this role that either Ki or Crosas play as the other deep midfielder due to their better range of passing.
  • James Forrest put in another good performance. He has a very good first touch, good pace, can cross well with both feet but most striking is his general footballing intelligence. If he keeps it up then we may not have to look too far for a replacement if McGeady leaves. Of course, it’s only friendlies but he has shown plenty of signs of being (nearly?) ready. We’ll see if Lennon throws him in at the deep end next week.
  • Mark Wilson again found himself in a number of good positions and again largely failed to take advantage of them, though he was a lot better than in previous matches. His continued selection makes it seem more likely that he will play against Braga.
  • Charlie Mulgrew demonstrated his strengths and his weaknesses. Excellent delivery from set pieces and open play but not very strong defensively – pretty much the concerns that all Celtic fans had with his signing. A big problem is his extreme lack of pace and general lack of agility. He turns very slowly (not unlike Gary Caldwell) and this was what led to the Sporting equaliser.

Lineup:

Zaluska;

Wilson, Loovens (Rogne 57), O’Dea, Mulgrew;

Brown (Ferry 83), Ki;

Forrest, McCourt (Sheridan 83), Samaras;

Fortune (McGowan 33)

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