Why Ross County could be perfect introduction for Celtic signing Giakoumakis
A sold-out Celtic Park, two weeks off, and the possibility of a start: Saturday could be the best possible introduction for Giorgos Giakoumakis.
The Greek striker was brought to the club on deadline day, after weeks of speculation. For a while, it looked as if Werder Bremen had landed the ex-VVV-Venlo man. Instead, words from Ange Postecoglou and Georgios Samaras had an impact.
With injury uncertainty set to be cleared up by Ange Postecoglou tomorrow, there’s still doubt over Kyogo Furuhashi. Meanwhile, Albian Ajeti is an option, but hasn’t started a competitive fixture for Celtic yet this season.
After Griffiths and Edouard’s departures, that leaves Giakoumakis. And looking from a tactical viewpoint, the Greek forward could thrive against Ross County in particular.
So far, the Staggies haven’t impressed going forward. But at the back, there are also concerns. The Dingwall side have been conceding an average of 18 shots per 90 in their opening 4 fixtures [WhoScored?]. From the 8 goals they’ve conceded, 7 have been in open play.
Meanwhile, Giakoumakis’ own numbers are worthy of some consideration. For VVV-Venlo, who were relegated from the Eredivisie, the new Bhoy was averaging 3.2 shots per game. With attacking talent around him who can utilise the Greek’s talents more effectively, he’ll definitely have chances.
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That would be the case anyway. But with Ross County in particular, their giving away of opportunities could make Parkhead a particularly happy hunting ground.
Especially when you factor in Celtic’s chance creation. According to WhoScored?, the Bhoys have hit an average of 24.3 shots a game. That’s staggering, even for a small sample size.
Celtic strengths and Ross County weaknesses mean there’s room for Giakoumakis on Saturday
It’s the nature of the opportunities Ross County are conceding that emboldens Giakoumakis’ starting shout further.
63% of the shots they’ve conceded have been from inside the box, with 14% within six yards.
Unsurprisingly for a striker, that’s where Giakoumakis particularly thrives. From the evidence of last season, he’s a striker whose positioning allows him to pick up loose balls, and capitalise on defensive uncertainty.
As VVV-Venlo recruitment analyst Marc Lamberts told our own Hamish Carton on 67 Hail Hail’s YouTube, Giakoumakis “thrives on chaos”.
Admittedly, there are factors against Giakoumakis. With international break occurring, he won’t have had time to really gel with his teammates. The language barrier could be an issue, and he might be a bit rusty.
But the same is true of other players at Celtic who have been thrown in to great success. What’s stopping Giakoumakis making an impact on Saturday?