Edouard injury gives Celtic new formation opportunity

By Connor Gordon

December 22, 2018

Odsonne Edouard’s injury will finally hand Brendan Rodgers a potential plan B – a false nine in attack.

With no recognised striker available, an attacking midfielder or winger will have to play in the centre.

Relegation bound Dundee are the best team to try it on.

Who to play in the centre

Rodgers has a whole host of players available to be that false nine forward.

Young Mikey Johnston played as a striker against Motherwell successfully and scored a goal.

Mikey Johnston played in the centre against Motherwell but may be too light in the long run. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

However, Johnston will easily be picked off by large defenders who can mark him out the game.

Dropping Johnston deeper into the false nine will allow the ball to go to feet rather than allowing the slight winger to compete physically in aerial challenges.

Another player who could drop in is Lewis Morgan, whose Celtic career hasn’t really got going.

The attacking midfielder is more used to the central role and is more physical than Johnston.

Scott Sinclair has had unsuccessful periods as a forward before. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

James Forrest and Scott Sinclair can also be tried but have played as strikers in small periods before. However, they didn’t make much of an impression.

With both players Rodgers’ first choice as wingers, it’s unlikely he’d change that against Dundee.

Forrest free against Dundee with false nine

One positive of the false nine is the freedom that the wingers have with the tactic.

The middle player isn’t the focal point of the attack as they have to drop deeper into the midfield.

This allows the likes of Forrest to have a free role from the wing into the centre.

James Forrest will love to play with a free role helped by the false nine formation. (photo by Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

The on-form winger will excel with this as he loves to cut inside.

Crossing hasn’t been Celtic’s strong point this season, so without a striker that element will be taken out of it and forwards will be more direct.

With Edouard and Leigh Griffiths, Rodgers perhaps didn’t need to try a new shape in attack.

With both players out, Rodgers has the freedom to experiment.

If it is successful, it would mean Rodgers finally has a plan B.