Why cautious Brendan Rodgers should stick with new shape

There has been a lot of noise surrounding Celtic since the return from the winter break, with a lot of negativity concerning some of the club’s recent performances.

The team were booed off the park following a 1-0 home win over struggling Ross County, points were dropped at Pittodrie against a lacklustre Aberdeen side, and Celtic narrowly escaped Easter Road with three points thanks to a pair of penalties from Adam Idah.

The performances were stagnant and lacking in ideas and inspiration, but the main criticism from supporters was the lack of involvement for last season’s star man Kyogo Furuhashi.

The Japanese international has looked a shadow of his former self this season, often cutting an isolated figure in Celtic’s attack, and his goal scoring tally this season pales in comparison to the numbers that saw him sweep the player of the year awards the previous season.

With performances not getting better, Brendan Rodgers decided to change things up for Celtic’s Scottish Cup fifth round clash in Paisley against St Mirren, and to good effect.

Change of Shape against St Mirren

As previously mentioned, Kyogo Furuhashi hasn’t been at his best this season. He has looked isolated, with a lack of quality service from Celtic’s wide areas really limiting his play.

Rodgers opted to remove Paulo Bernardo from the fold, making room for another striker in the team with Irish forward Adam Idah partnering Kyogo in the middle to form a classic big man/little man partnership.

Kyogo was sitting a bit deeper than Idah, something we had seen previously under Ange Postecoglou on the rare occasions he would fit the Japanese and Giorgios Giakoumakis into the same team, and it paid dividends on the day.

The Japanese forward opened the scoring on the day as he arrived on the edge of the box behind Idah to prod home Luis Palma’s early cross and fire Celtic in front.

Kyogo was a lot less limited against St Mirren as he was given the license to roam free in their final third, a tactical tweak that if Rodgers persists with it, could see Furuhashi return back to his brilliant best.

Reverting to old ways in the second-half

With the introduction of Paulo Bernardo on the hour-mark in place of Adam Idah, Brendan Rodgers’ side reverted back to the usual system that the manager has deployed this season, a 4-3-3.

Unsurprisingly, this tactical tweak also saw Celtic revert back to old ways as the performance levels on the park began to dip.

St Mirren grew into the game and saw more of Celtic’s final third than they had seen in the first hour of the game, with the change inviting unnecessary pressure on the Celtic backline in a game that they had been dominating.

It was a cautious reversion to the old way that could have been costly. Brendan Rodgers freshened things up heading into this game and it sparked some life back into this Celtic team whilst also getting the best out of one of the club’s best players once again.

Rodgers should persist with this new system in the coming weeks, a change of style that could be massively beneficial for the rest of the season.


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