"Falling off a cliff"; Sutton's comments on Celtic striker don't help

By Euan Davidson

December 26, 2020

For Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard, it’s not been a straight-forward 2020.

Constantly linked with a move, French Eddy has battled Covid-19 (BBC) and travelled for France U-21 games over a packed few months.

He’s had the kind of time that would unsettle anyone in any profession. However, football is not forgiving, and Eddy’s underwhelming numbers do the talking.

Chris Sutton, in his column for the Daily Record, laid into Edouard. The former Celtic man knows all about scoring goals in the Green and White, so his comments hold weight where the Bhoys are concerned.

Still, even by Chris Sutton standards, it seemed harsh.

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton / (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group via Getty Images)

Celtic talisman not finding the mark

Sutton said (Daily Record):

“I don’t know if it is because he feels as though he should have had a move by now, or if it’s because the lack of atmosphere in the empty stadiums is affecting him, or if it’s something else.

“Whatever it is, he just looks to me as if he’s sloping around looking as though he’s feeling sorry for himself.

“The dinked penalty in the Scottish Cup Final said everything about the class we’ve all seen he possesses.

“But the causal missed chances hit straight at Craig Gordon during the Hampden game, the running up blind alleys and poor touch against County and more missed opportunities said more to me about where he’s at right now.”

Edouard has made 7 goal contributions in 12 matches for Celtic this season (Transfermarkt). He’s yet to hit top form, creating 2.8 shooting chances a game so far this season (WhoScored?).

His penalty during last Sunday’s Scottish Cup Final was exquisite; an act of sheer cheek and confidence. It was vintage Edouard. Sutton, however, isn’t impressed.


Celtic’s stuttering young talents, French Eddy and Jeremie Frimpong / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Odsonne Edouard’s trying times

Let’s not gloss over the fact that Odsonne Edouard caught Covid-19.

Yes, he’s an athlete, and he recovered quickly during a mandatory period of self-isolation. Still, if Covid-19 was a picnic, we wouldn’t have the global chaos we’ve seen all year.

Eddy still doesn’t quite look fit, and it’s not hard to imagine why; the disease can cause problems after recovery, including impact on cognitive function and respiratory problems (Sky News).

Obviously, the Celtic medical team won’t have taken any risks with Eddy, but still. His form before and after catching Covid tell the story.

Factoring in the issue that yes, his head was probably turned in the summer, it’s easy to see why Eddy might not be feeling entirely right. Football players are human beings, and it’s only natural that a combination of factors have contributed to the Frenchman not being his useful prolific self.

To me, he doesn’t look like he feels “sorry for himself”. He’s not been 100%, and that’s for sure. However, claiming that the striker is “falling off a cliff” doesn’t help much.

It’s not the kind of comment Sutton would’ve appreciated in his own playing days.

Yes, he’s off the boil, but that’s it. I do agree with Chris Sutton that Leigh Griffiths should be played alongside Eddy, but we need to temper our expectations of players this season.

Ignore the last few years. I mean this, for every player: ignore much of the recent past. This year has provided all kinds of difficulties for our players. Hatem Elhamed, for example, couldn’t see his family. He is actively seeking a move. Even our players with family in England weren’t allowed to visit over Christmas (Scotsman).

With many of our players being internationals, it’s hardly surprising that many have faltered. There are more important things than football, although not many; health and family matter most.

Still a very young player, Edouard is living in a foreign country, has suffered from Covid and has spent most of the year being linked elsewhere. Curb your expectations, and get behind the players.