After the Scottish Cup semi-final yesterday, there has been a lot of criticism towards Celtic’s Portuguese winger Jota.
Around the January transfer window and before, fans were absolutely desperate for us to sign the trickster on a permanent deal. The apparent transfer fee of £6.75m seemed like an absolute steal, and despite the club having him on loan for the full season anyway, fans were impatiently demanding that we got a permanent deal wrapped up ASAP.
Fast forward to present times, there are now social media posts from Celtic supporters saying that they would not even take Jota for FREE, never mind pay the £6.75m fee.
Through last night and into this morning, I have been wracking by brains as to what exactly has happened with Jota.
I must state that this article isn’t my opinion, because honestly I am still undecided, but merely examining one of the possible reasons for this perceived downfall from the player.
And that is maybe Jota isn’t the problem, maybe our expectations are the problem?
The first half of the season Jota was up there with Kyogo as our best player. He was showing great skill and dribbling ability, getting fans off their seats and topping that up with both goals and assists, with some very important ones too.
Now, the thing is, it seems we may be at the stage now where if Jota doesn’t score or make an assist, we say he’s had a bad game.
Look at his time at Benfica and on loan at Valladolid last season. For the Spanish team he scored 1 goal in 17 appearances. For Benfica he scored 0 goals in 23 appearances.
But now all of a sudden we are expecting him to be scoring every one or two games for Celtic?
Could it be that the first half of the season was just a very hot streak for the player, and that we are now actually seeing the real Jota?
In the game yesterday he was on the ball quite a lot, he was dribbling well and going at players and putting balls into the box, yet the general consensus is he had a terrible game.
But what if that shot he hit that went narrowly past the post, was just a few inches to the left and nestled into the bottom corner of the net? What if one of the crosses he put into the box was met with a bullet header that flew into the goal?
We’d be saying he had a great game and contributed with a goal or an assist.
But because that doesn’t happen, we class that as him having a bad game.
But are we saying that because we are being skewed by his goals and assists in the first part of the season?
Because I don’t think his overall game has dipped. Maybe it has a bit, but not to the extent that people seem to be making out.
It’s not like he can’t get by his man anymore or that he isn’t getting balls into the box, or that he isn’t working hard off the ball.
The only obvious thing that is missing from the first half of the season is his goal return.
Again, I’ll end this article by again stating this isn’t my opinion, as I am still undecided myself on just what the problem is with Jota, but I do feel this is an argument that we should be considering.