Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard criticism is getting silly

By Euan Davidson

February 10, 2021

Celtic star Odsonne Edouard is getting roundly criticised this season.

A cursory glance at social media will show you Celtic supporters saying he doesn’t care enough. That he doesn’t put enough effort in on the pitch. He’s a sulker, he wants a move. And so on.

These comments are galvanised by criticism from ex-players [HITC] and his own manager [Scottish Sun].

Never mind the fact that French Eddy has, over the space of half the season, contracted Coronavirus and been injured on more than one occasion. His body language was criticised even when he was on red-hot form [Daily Record].

Has Edouard been at his blockbuster best? Probably not, no. However, he’s still winning matches with his goals. In the league, he’s scored 5 goals in his last 4. Overall, at just 23, he’s put away 77 goals in all competitions for Celtic.

When’s he’s playing, Celtic average 2.37 points per game in the Premiership [Transfermarkt]. Simply put, he makes the team more successful.

That’s remarkable going, and he deserves to be cut a little slack when things aren’t going his way.

Let’s bear in mind that, beyond the personal issues Edouard has faced, there’s been a revolving cast around him. The season started with a 3-5-2 or 4-2-3-1, depending on availability. For Celtic, Odsonne Edouard played next to Leigh Griffiths one week, Albian Ajeti the other, then nobody the next. He’s had to look around the pitch for service, with either wingers cutting inside, or link-up play being created with a strike partner.

These adjustments are difficult for any player, and it goes part of the way to explain why Neil Lennon’s side haven’t been at their best in 20-21. Regardless, Edouard has scored plenty of goals this season.

Cool as you like: Odsonne Edouard / (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Is Celtic man Odsonne Edouard playing to expectations?

Frankly, we’re expecting far too much from our star centre-forward.

As @BhoysAnalytics shows here, the stats are on Edouard’s side. The Frenchman has performed admirably according to his xG, despite whatever criticisms there are about him not doing backflips when he scores.

Despite everything barring his path, we’ve had more than what anyone could reasonably expect from our star man. For Celtic, Odsonne Edouard remains our out-and-out talisman, a striker who can be expected to deliver. Against Motherwell at the weekend, he showed exquisite technique, scoring on the turn and from distance to put the Bhoys 2-0 up.

So, any possible argument that he scores “unimportant goals” is nonsense. Let’s look at his recent form:

Kilmarnock, 2/2: scores twice. Hamilton, 28/1: scores winner, Man of the Match. Dundee United, 30/1: Scores important third. Hamilton again, 26/12: 1 goal, 1 assist, Man of the Match.

Admittedly, he didn’t score against Rangers. His total record against our city rivals, though? Played 10, won 6, scored 6 [Transfermarkt].

Edouard: loves a chip / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Edouard hyperbole needs to calm down

There’s a continued idea that Edouard just isn’t up for it this season. Despite zero information suggesting so, the prevailing myth persists, that because clubs are interested, Eddy has downed tools. It couldn’t be further from the truth.

If anything, during the period of most speculation, Edouard was more prolific. By now, he shouldn’t have to prove himself again to Celtic supporters, while Leigh Griffiths gets away with being unfit and unproductive in large spells this season.

Honestly, I don’t know what you attribute these myths to. I don’t know how you monitor something as intangible as “effort”, but Edouard ranks highly for touches of the ball and distance covered. Perhaps because he isn’t literally panting when he finishes matches, it can be interpreted as lack of effort. No, it’s just fitness.

So let’s stop this haranguing and misguided notion that Edouard isn’t pulling his weight this season. Frankly, we’d be lost without his goals in 20-21. More lost than we are, and that’s a terrifying thought. Argue and debate by all means, but it’s empirically not the case that Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard has let anyone down this year.

TRANSFER NEWS: Another underrated Celtic man could make a permanent move.