Back in October when I last had the time, motivation, and inclination to write a blog piece, the focus was mainly on Celtic’s striking options. I proudly exclaimed that, like many, I thought that John Guidetti would go on to become a goal scoring machine for Celtic this season. He was on a run of 4 goals in 6 appearances and averaging a goal just over every 90 minutes that he was on the pitch. Since then, Guidetti has scored 7 goals in 17 appearances, including a hat-trick against Partick Thistle; worryingly however, he has not scored in his last 10 games for Celtic and has now gone 775 minutes since his last goal, against Hearts back in November. Worse still for the Swede, it has been 864 minutes since his last goal from open play and he has now been outscored in the league by Anthony Stokes.
Guidetti is clearly a striker going through a major crisis in confidence. He knows he has the ability to succeed in Scotland and, from the outside looking in, it looks as though his ego has taken a battering by his recent inability to find the net. Several times in recent games he has let his frustrations rise to the surface with outbursts at match officials and a few questionable challenges on opposition defenders and goalies. We are regularly reminded of his great season with Feyenoord a couple of years ago, but seem to have forgotten that since then he has overcome a career threatening illness and hardly kicked a ball in anger before signing on loan in the summer. Perhaps, John Guidetti has forgotten this himself or perhaps he is just too eager to make up for lost time and wants too much to pick up where he left off at Feyenoord. Either way, we currently have a frustrated centre forward in our ranks.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. As previously stated, Guidetti has the ability to score goals, there is no question of that. Not only has he the ability to goals, he has the ability to score goals on a regular and consistent basis; all he needs is that first goal to start the run going and to stop believing the hype surrounding him built up in the press. Ronny Deila recently alluded to the point that Guidetti may have gotten carried away with the hype after his great start and may now be struggling to live up to it; the pressures associated to being the ‘goal scorer’ and the expectation of scoring in every game may have been too heavy a burden.
But in Deila, Guidetti has a manager who trusts him and has given him time to realise that football is a team game. While it is the strikers the job to score goals, it is not the end of the world if he does not, so long as the team wins and Celtic have been winning. Stefan Johansen, Leigh Griffiths, Anthony Stokes, and Kris Commons have all chipped in with goals, hell, even Mikael Lustig and Adam Matthews have got in on the act. With the burden and responsibility of being the ‘goal scorer’ partly removed, Guidetti can now relax into games more and concentrate on scoring, rather than worry about it.
It won’t be long until John Guidetti is scoring again and who knows, Deila’s man-management of him may just entice him to prolong his stay at Celtic a bit longer. There’s still a place in Celtic folklore for him if he wants it. I’m not much of a gambler (I don’t have the money to lose) but it might be worth sticking a fiver on John Guidetti first goal scorer tomorrow.