The way the first two matches in the Scottish Premiership have unfolded will have shown the best starting line up for Celtic in domestic matches at least. While there is a not a lot to change, some tweaks could be still be made to this side. And that leads to an insight into how and when to get the best out of Daizen Maeda.
Ange Postecoglou has already shown it is very much a squad game and he will use substitutes wisely to change the course of matches, protect leads or test players. His substitutions in the first two league matches, against Aberdeen and Ross County, have made a real difference and helped secure a result.
The starting line ups in each game have seen Daizen Maeda start wide on the left, with Jota on the right and Liel Abada left on the bench. The changes made have typically seen the Japanese player being take off, the Portuguese star shifting to his favoured left wing position and the Israeli winger coming in to play on the right.
That’s led to more clinical finishing and goals towards the end of games to secure wins. Jota now has three assists and a terrific goal to his name, while Abada scored a great goal against Ross County. So whether it is Kyogo Furuhashi or Giorgos Giakoumakis leading the line in the middle may still be up for debate, the combination on the wings should not be when chasing a goal.
Celtic must make Maeda decision
Still very much needed and involved. Games like the one against Ross County, with a packed defence, need a more intricate style of play, slick through balls and clever feet. That’s not quite Maeda’s strength. He is at his best pressing to support the team and the more skilful players around him.
If the games are against teams where Celtic don’t expect to be as dominant in terms of possession and where they may need stronger defensive contribution higher up the pitch, then Maeda is the undisputed pick.
In that type of a game, there’s much more need for his chasing and forcing defenders into mistakes, his endless covering back defensively and of course more room too for pacy runs into space behind the defence.
Those are the type of matches where we’ll likely see more benefit from Maeda starting. Against teams who sit deep and soak up pressure though, Abada might be the one to go for.
This article was originally posted here