Celtic host Rangers live on Sky Sports this Sunday – but how do the teams’ current styles and form compare ahead of the blockbuster clash?
Both teams have played 34 games and six points divide the titans of Scottish football. Rangers drew first blood in August before the Hoops responded in style with a 3-0 win in February. Since then, Celtic made it two successive wins with a 2-1 win at Ibrox before losing by the reversed scoreline in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.
Watch highlights of the Old Firm match between Rangers and Celtic as the away side come from behind to win 2-1 at Ibrox.
However, three points for Ange Postecoglou’s side this weekend would send Celtic nine points clear with only three games to go.
Sunday 1st May 11:00am
Kick off 12:00pm
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So what are the teams’ styles, strengths and weaknesses and where could the game be won or lost?
It’s one of the greatest rivalries in world football. Steven Gerrard guided Rangers to their first league title in 10 years last season, ending Celtic’s nine-year streak of dominance – which spanned a period after the Gers were demoted in 2012 and climbed back up the tiers before returning to the top-flight four years later.
The interactive table below includes every derby dating back to the very beginning: a clash in the Glasgow Cup third round in October, 1888, with Celtic running out 6-1 winners. However, it has been the blue side of Glasgow who have primarily reigned dominant in the fixture over the past two-and-a-half years.
What’s the style?
Collectively, Celtic play higher up the pitch than Rangers. Typically starting in a 4-3-3, Postecoglou pushes his wide midfielders close to the central striker, while there is far greater emphasis on width and forward-endeavour from the two wingers.
Van Bronckhorst has increasingly deployed a 4-2-3-1, in addition to the preferred 4-3-3 used under Gerrard. The average positions below highlight how full-back James Tavernier pushes high down the right flank with wingers adopting inverted roles.
Do the league standings lie? Well, the stats reveal table-topping Celtic are leading the way in almost all attacking metrics: goals, shots, shots on target, open-play expected goals and assists. The Hoops’ wider style has also generated 28 goals from a league-topping 1,010 crosses or corners this term – in addition to 16 shots from fast breaks.
But the Gers are considerably dangerous from set-pieces, with Tavernier’s notorious delivery frequently punishing opponents from dead-ball situations. Meanwhile, frontman Alfredo Morelos’ immense aerial power has also contributed to his side netting 15 headed goals – matching their upcoming hosts.