Why Edouard was dropped for Alkmaar; could return to Celtic XI today
Ange Postecoglou has stated he will have “no hesitation” in starting Odsonne Edouard for Celtic as he explained his dropping of the striker on Thursday night.
Edouard managed to score against St Mirren last weekend and featured for the vast majority of the game. However, when it came to our vital Europa League playoff clash against AZ Alkmaar on Thursday, he found himself on the bench. Instead, Edouard would come on for the final half-hour and made a big impact on relieving the pressure that was being piled on.
Some will look at the Frenchman losing his spot in the XI and believe it could be transfer-related. After all, he’s been linked with transfer offers from EPL clubs as we enter the final couple of days of the window [The Sun].
However, Postecoglou has moved to rubbish that kind of theory. Instead, he explained how the move was simply tactical and that he would have no issues in throwing him into the mixer for our first derby of the season against Rangers.
As quoted by the Scottish Sun, Postecoglou said: “No one can tell me they are watching Odsonne play at the moment and say he is not giving everything. Even on Thursday in Alkmaar, I thought he came on and made a difference for us.
“We didn’t start with him because I felt they would come at us and with Kyogo Furuhashi and Liel Abada’s speed and Ryan Christie wide we could get into the space behind them and cause some problems. I had the feeling we’d need Odsonne later to hold the ball up and he did his job superbly.
“He scored on the weekend, he is in good form. You know there is no hesitation whatsoever for me to select him on Sunday.”
Odsonne Edouard not guaranteed a start for Celtic at Ibrox
If Celtic are going to be relying on those in form, you would have to admit that Edouard’s likely starting position will be on the bench.
When Eddy is on the pitch, it means that Kyogo Furuhashi needs to operate on the left-side. As influential a player as the Japanese international can be, his threat is limited when he features down the flank.
Given Rangers will likely look to get at Celtic today and put pressure on the defence, having Furuhashi play as the lone striker looks like the best possible move. That will allow him the freedom to run off one of two of the Rangers centre-backs. Throwing him on the left limits this opportunity.
Edouard is a superb option to have from the bench today. Celtic will be looking to run the Rangers defence ragged from the first whistle. For them to turn around and see Edouard coming on for the final half-hour or so would seriously drain their morale. It’ll be mentally exhausting.
Of course, perhaps the manager sees things differently. He could be working on a game plan that has Edouard front and centre.
But given the performances of the team in recent weeks, this feels unlikely. Celtic will surely be giving Furuhashi the nod to play up top. Anything else will be a major surprise.