Josip Juranovic was one of Celtic’s big signings of the summer. A Croatian international right-back, it is not hard to see why expectations were high of him, and his performances with Legia Warsaw last season would have only increased the excitement surrounding the move. But the start has not been what most fans would have expected.
While a versatile player, Juranovic has never been known as a left-back. Although, since he arrived at Celtic over the summer, left-back is where he has played most of his football. There are two reasons for that. First is the brilliant form of Anthony Ralston at right-back. Second, the fact that Celtic do not appear to have a clear first-choice left-back at Parkhead at this point of time. Thus, it is possible that he could have been unhappy with not playing in his natural position in Ange Postecoglou’s team, but that does not appear to be the case at all. It does look like Juranovic is happy with the start that he has had at Celtic and the role that he is playing in Postecoglou’s side. At the end of the day, he is a regular starter right now.
Juranovic’s heat map shows that he is constantly running up and down the left side during most games for West Ham. He is strong at the back and a big part of their attack as well. He puts in important runs to open up spaces for other attackers. Celtic have played an attacking style of play, which is seen from the average positioning of the full-back, as he has spent more time in the opposition’s half than his own.
The above visual shows us the passing and progression stats for Juranovic. As seen in the visual, his passing metrics are much better than the average league value for the same stats. JJ has an accuracy of 87.50% for the passes he has played into the final third and has attempted 10.32 passes into the final third per 90 minutes.
The pass map for Juranovic indicates that he has featured more on the left flank, but at times, has also played on the right flank, which can be seen from the passes he has made. Juranovic has played a higher number of passes towards the centre of the pitch, which indicates he has been able to maintain possession of the ball. Being a right-footed player playing as a left-back, it is tough to put in running crosses into the box, but he has managed to generate a high xT from the crosses he has played into the box.
Juranovic has won most of the duels he has attempted on both sides of the pitch and is always able to recover possession of the ball for his team. He has attempted more ground defending duels in his half and more number of 50-50 challenges in the opposition’s half.
Many do feel though that playing at left-back affects a lot of his qualities going forward, and he will be much better suited to playing in his natural right-back position. But, considering the players that Celtic have in their squad right now, this might be the best system for the moment. Ralston is in brilliant form right now and is almost undroppable. On the other hand, despite not being a natural left-back, Juranovic has done a great job there and has appeared to have nailed down his spot there for the time being.