It’s a fantastic time to be a Celtic fan when the biggest problem you have is which striker starts on a Saturday.
Twitter (where most of my interaction with fellow Celtic fans occur) seems to be split almost into taking sides – ‘Team Griffiths’ or ‘Team Dembele’. It’s impossible to put my thoughts into 140 characters – so here’s how I see Brendan Rodgers options.
In theory this is the fairest way to do it. In reality it doesn’t work. Although both can link up with each other and undoubtedly form a deadly partnership this causes imbalance to the team in our current set up and this has been evident in the odd occasion we’ve tried it.
In our most recent attempt to pull this off (vs Hamilton 13/12/2016) the lack of options on the left hand side (as both played through the middle) took away a whole dimension to our attacking prowess in result causing a lot of wasted attacks through not properly utilising the space we had.
The 4-2-3-1 system that we use won’t be changed. Rodgers has made that pretty clear. and why should it? We’ve had great success using this and long may it continue. Playing both would result in dropping our attacking midfielder (usually Tom Rogic) which would mean one of the strikers having to drop deep with added defensive responsibilities.
As evident in the Hamilton game – Griffiths was given this role of dropping deep and to limited success.
We can do this in games we know we’ll dominate with little threat at the other end, but as a long term solution it’s never going to happen.
He’s seen as a hero with the Celtic fans and you don’t have to be an expert to see a player with glimpses of a player capable of playing with Europe’s best – but at the moment glimpses are all that they are.
He is a physical presence that a moment of brilliance never seems far away but he’s inconsistent.
That’s not really a criticism of him, There aren’t many (if any) 20 year old strikers around Europe who are consistent week in week out.
Griffith’s goalscoring record is impossible to argue with. He’s come off the bench a lot – not only this season, but throughout his Celtic career yet his goal/game ratio is still nothing short of exceptional.
A less physical option than Dembele, and not blessed with great pace you can see why people prefer Moussa. Pace and power is the bread and butter of the modern game.
However – Griffiths superior finishing and his rare trait of being able to create something out of nothing is what gives Brendan Rodgers a headache.
Still Undecided? Let’s compare.
Moussa Dembele has played 2226 minutes for Celtic so far this season, scoring 17 and assisting 2. This averages a goal or an assist every 117 minutes. How can you leave that out of any side?
However – Leigh Griffiths has played 1261 minutes so far scoring 12 and assisting 5.
Meaning he’s averaging a goal or an assist every 74 minutes.
I’ve no doubt that when we look back on both players careers in 15 years that Moussa Dembele had played at a higher level and amassed more money. However as a case of ‘right now’ Leigh Griffiths has the edge and is a more reliable player.
By all means, leave your thoughts.