One thing that seems to be obvious about Celtic’s performances in the first three halves of football played against Rangers and Milan is that at the moment the team do not have the personnel to play three at the back.
Stephen Welsh, Shane Duffy and Kristoffer Ajer struggled. In a way, that was understandable. Welsh was making his first Celtic appearances since February, and even though he did fairly well, and we at 67HH believe that he should be proud of his performances, it was always going to be hard going for the trio, especially against the opponents Celtic had in the last two games.
Hoops performed much better in a back four
What was striking though, was how much better the Hoops performed when the team switched to four at the back in the second-half against Milan. The Hoops looked far more solid at the back, and as a result that helped the team going forward.
What is interesting to take into account is that playing three at the back is Neil Lennon’s favourite formation. As reported by 67HH, he disclosed that 3-5-2 is his preferred formation before the Hoops took on Ross County in September.
However, after the second-half performance against Milan, the Celtic boss needs to dump the three at the back formation. He needs to move to a four at the back system, in a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Preferred system could return eventually
That doesn’t mean that three at the back is finished though. Indeed, it can return as soon as some of Celtic’s absentees come back.
The Celtic defence will look much stronger when Christopher Jullien, Hatem Elhamed and Nir Bitton return. Then the Hoops boss could consider returning to a three at the back formation.
For the lunchtime trip to Aberdeen though, which is a game Celtic need to win to get their season firmly back on track, Lennon must move to a back four. Hopefully it should pay off, and Celtic can begin the recovery from a bad week in earnest.
In other news, Chris Sutton thinks Tom Rogic must start for Celtic at Pittodrie.