Impressive stat shows Celtic man is one of the most effective playmakers in Europa League

By Euan Davidson

November 4, 2021

Nobody is involved in more sequences that lead to shots in the Europa League than Celtic talent Jota.

The brilliant Benfica loanee has been integral to all the good Celtic have done in European group stage competition this season. Brought in late during the summer transfer window, the Bhoys have an option to buy Jota permanently. And according to Opta, it’s probably the best idea to do just that.

Now, we’re definitely getting into the weeds with this particular stat, but Jota is a leader in a very specific category. And it’s great news for Celtic, who will surely be building around him against Ferencvaros tonight.

Via Sacha Pisani:

What does that actually mean?

Well, Jota has been directly involved in almost every move Celtic have had that’s led to a shot attempt. Whether passing or carrying the ball in possession, the Portuguese magician has had a direct hand in creating opportunities.

This, in turn, means two things: 1. Jota is good at football. 2. Celtic are creating amongst the most chances of any team in the Europa League. Despite that, losses to Real Betis and Bayer Leverkusen have made qualification difficult.

But not impossible.

Celtic have an opportunity tonight in a wider sense. Beating Ferencvaros would put us on 6 points, with a fighting chance against either Betis or Leverkusen in the remaining fixtures.

Jota, the Creator: Celtic are utilising loanee to maximum effect in Europa League

Is it incidental or by design? Certainly, a lot for Celtic has come through Jota’s channel, on the left. The Bhoys create a lot of crossing opportunities, and of course, as a winger, Jota is going to be privy to much of that.

He’s also had two assists, one for Albian Ajeti against Betis, and one absolutely world-class pass to Kyogo against Ferencvaros.

Given the number of passes Celtic play to create moves, it’s little wonder Jota is so heavily involved. Either hugging the touchline or coming inside to keep a move going, of course he’s going to be influential.

Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

But to have been involved in more shot-creating moves than any other player in the Europa League? That’s good going.

But therein lies a frustration; were his teammates finishing chances created in part by Jota, we could’ve turned a loss into a win against Betis, or given ourselves a fighting chance against Leverkusen.

Celtic have three Europa League games left. If Jota is still the stat leader by the end of the group, it could either frustrate or delight. Hopefully, it’s the latter.

Read more: Ferencvaros manager explains exactly how he’ll set up against Celtic