Celtic won their first away game of the Scottish Premiership season against Aberdeen on Sunday. This was Celtic’s first away win in two hundred and thirty-one days which is why they relished this victory so much. Celtic have played nine away domestic fixtures that have racked up six defeats and three draws – while also conceding 12 goals. Three of those six defeats have come in this season, as Celtic lost their first away game of the season to Hearts and then suffered back to back defeats against Rangers and Livingston.
No team has scored more goals than Celtic in the season so far. They have scored 19 goals till now which is five more than the second-highest tally in the league. Celtic have only conceded six goals so far with only Hearts and Dundee conceding lesser goals than them. While the defence has not been such a huge problem for them, there have been some instances where they have been loose in the defence and have conceded goals in some of the matches. Celtic have been able to score a lot of goals and have played really well in the matches they have won, but the one thing Celtic have lacked is the ability to find a way to win a game when they need it the most.
Let’s take a look at their stats from their win away win of the season:
Joao Filipe attempted the most number of shots for Celtic and also scored the late winner for his team. Despite dominating the possession of the ball, Celtic had a lesser number of shots on target. Celtic had only two shots on target but were effective with those two shots as they converted both chances. Celtic have been able to create a number of chances in their earlier games, but have always lacked the clinical finishing required in front of goal in their away games. The xT and xG timelines indicate that Celtic dominated the first half of the game as they created better chances and also opened the scoring. It was a much evened out battle in the second half as both teams posed a threat on the opposition defence. Aberdeen equalised in the second half and it looked like Celtic were about to drop points away from home but they were patient in their build-up towards goal and did not rush into attacks as they have done before.
Celtic have been extremely lethal when they are in the flow and can easily outscore the opposition team. As seen in the above visual, there are four Celtic players in the top six of the list for highest expected goal contributions. Celtic have scored six goals in a single match on two occasions this season and have out on top when they have scored the first goal in the match. Celtic have not been able to respond when the opposition scores the first goal and have lost all their games in similar fashion. There have been two types of performances by Celtic this season, one is the team that scored 12 goals in two league matches at home while the other side that has looked helpless in the final third and are unable to break the deadlock. Celtic looked more confident in the game against Aberdeen and even after the home side had equalised, they showed great character and showed their ability to be able to score goals.
Celtic have played every game with a high match tempo which indicates that they have focused on passing the ball around quicker than most of their opponents. This allows Celtic to create quicker attacks and leaves the opposition unsettled because of the quick passing and direct approach towards goal. Although, this has also proved to be a disadvantage for Celtic as they are seen rushing towards goal at times and fail to make the right move or ass when they are in the most threatening positions.
Playing a quicker style of football includes pressing the opposition players higher up the pitch and trying to recover the ball. Celtic have been doing that well and have a PPDA of 6.313 which indicates that they perform a defensive action after the opponent complete approximately six passes. They also have a high challenge intensity of 8.39.
Looking at the stats we can say that Celtic have been doing most of their actions according to their game plan, but their only concern has been trying to find an equaliser when their opponents have scored first. Celtic were not exactly at their best against Aberdeen, but they showed a mental toughness that has until now been rarely witnessed and they hope this is a turning point in his side’s campaign.