Celtic’s Dedryck Boyata Shines In Brussels

Celtic produced one of their best ever away performances in the Champions League era as they swept aside Anderlecht 3-0 at the Stade Constant Vanden Stock.

It was once again a sign of progression for the Glasgow giants under Brendan Rodgers as the Hoops brushed off a nervy start to then win with style in Brussels.

A nice passing move allowed hitman Leigh Griffiths to tap in at the back post for his side’s first strike.

A fortunate deflection helped Patrick Roberts claim the club’s second of the night, after the winger tricked his way into the penalty area.

Forward Scott Sinclair then found the net with fantastic hit and that was all she wrote.

All in all, it was a fine team performance.

Defensively they looked solid and that’s a big plus at this level, especially when you consider Celtic’s poor form away from home in European competition.

I think Dedryck Boyata deserves a special mention.

The Belgian looked very composed at the back and his partnership with Jozo Simunovic must have given the rest of the Celtic team a huge confidence boost. They worked well as a tandem and rarely gave Anderlecht a sniff at Craig Gordon’s goal.

I was one of those commentators who felt it was a mistake for the Scottish Premiership champions not to sign another centre back during the last transfer window and I stand by that claim. But I did say that it would be less of an issue as long as two of Boyata, Simunovic and/or Erik Sviatchenko could stay fit. Celtic do have a good core of central defenders at Parkhead, they just struggle to keep them away from the treatment table.

Boyata’s stunning performance back in his homeland is even more remarkable given that he only played in two previous games this season, both coming in the last last week. He didn’t show any signs of ring rust and Celtic look all the better having him in the back four.

The twenty-six year old former Manchester City man also helped his side by venturing further forward with the ball and calming some nerves with his fine passing from the back. He kept the ball with a 93% passing success rate and that helped Celtic boss the game with their superior possession stats.

Defensively he made a key interception, won three aerial duels and made seven clearances against Anderlecht.

Boyata’s boss Brendan Rodgers believes the defender has the qualities to go with his national side to next year’s World Cup:

“Dedryck’s history coming through with Belgium is very good. He obviously made a move to Manchester City and didn’t play so much there, so that has hindered him. But he has come out of that now, and if he can keep a level of fitness and availability, then there’s no doubt for me that he will be in the World Cup squad.”

Last night Dedryck Boyata showed Red Devils coach Roberto Martinez that he can perform on the biggest club stage and his timely return couldn’t have come at a better time for his club side, who will now look forward to facing a deflated Bayern Munich side at the Allianz Arena next month. That game will provide a sterner test for the Belgian internationalist but it will no doubt be a game that he’ll relish to be apart of!

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