If we go by the preseason games, Boli Bolingoli, finding his way past everyone on the left side of the pitch is definitely going to be a key feature of this year’s Scottish Premiership. And calling the full-back an all action player would actually be an understatement!
He has the capacity to pop in and out of any space, at amazing speeds, and has emerged as amongst the most intriguing signings done by Celtic in a long time. It’s pretty clear why he has such strong attacking attributes and why he had spent a lot of time on the left-wing while playing in Belgium. While a great multitude of football betting enthusiasts are backing him to be a key player for Celtic in the ongoing season, there is also another aspect of his game play which might prove to be the biggest weakness of Celtic. Let’s throw some more light on this below.
There is nothing denying the fact that Boli Bolingoli has the physical strength, technical ability, pace and power to be a huge success in Scotland. In the game against Nomme Kalju which they won 2-0, Boli was sent higher up the pitch, enabling Mikey Johnston to move in further inside, creating great problems for the Estonian defence, with their right-back being clueless about who to take care of first!
It reminded everyone of the amazing partnership between Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair, and how those two moved during the final third of the game, getting past the best of defences, creating an invincible season for themselves and the team.
With Brendan Rodgers at the helm of the affairs then, the team maintain the lopsided approach on the left and made Mikael Lustig, the high-quality defensive player to recede to the back three, and take care of any counter-attacking efforts. Nobody was able to work out this tactical quandary, with Celtic tearing down every other Scottish side for 18 straight months.
Neil Lennon would be hoping to create similar type of combinations and that perhaps explains the way their new right back Hatem Abd Elhamed also plays.
Although Bolingoli has impressed everyone with his technical abilities, going forward there are bound to be some questions regarding his defending capabilities, considering the advanced positions he sometimes takes.
Any savvy football manager, with Scotland having many of them, won’t mind placing a quick player in that particular area and ask his team to get the ball into that space at any given opportunity. It’s not unlikely for St John Stones’ Tommy Wright to use Michael O’Halloran to stay high and wide, covering the spaces that are left vacant.
However, it’s not only his advanced positioning which can lead to defensive problems, watching him play for Rapid Vienna during a Scouting program, before he was signed, it was pretty clear that he’s prone to giving the ball away very cheaply sometimes. This has already been seen in the Sarajevo game’s home leg when a goal was scored off a lose pass.
It goes without saying that when it comes to such lapses, Celtic Park would be a far less forgiving environment compared to Austria. Assuming that Kieran Tierney will indeed leave the club soon, it would be interesting to see how Neil Lennon harnesses the defensive and attacking capabilities of Boli Bolingoli, as Celtic go on their quest for the 9th title in a row.