Rangers might have made it to the Europa League main draws, but their league form had been slightly concerning. Before today’s victory, this was their worst start to a league campaign since 1989. But one shouldn’t read too much into that as the Gers were engrossed with making it to the Europa League group stages. Now that they have made their way there, they can start building on their league form.
Amongst all this, the return of Lassana Coulibaly should be a massive boost for Steven Gerrard as the 22-year-old midfielder played a crucial role in the initial part of the season before suffering an injury. Today’s performance from Coulibaly also shows what Rangers missed in the last few games.
With a tough away clash against Villareal looming large, Coulibaly would very much be required in the midfield in Spain as he happens to be the most imposing midfielder that the Gers have at their disposal.
Even though it’s just been one month since the season began, there are already rumours that the Teddy Bears would try to sign him on a permanent deal next summer after his loan spell at the Ibrox comes to an end.
Coulibaly helped the Gers evade some tough fixtures in the Europa League qualifiers, and since his absence, one can feel that Gerrard’s team has lacked a bit of steel in midfield. The likes of Scott Arfield, Ryan Jack and Ovie Ejaria haven’t done too poorly, but they have missed the Malian international’s robustness and energy in the middle of the park.
Gerrard is still trying to identify his best midfield partnership, and that is usually the problem when a manager brings a lot of new players in the transfer window. The gaffer soon needs to identify his best eleven and formation to get the best out of his players. If fit, we believe Coulibaly is a guaranteed starter in the middle of the park, and the other midfielders around him could be rotated.
Apart from being industrious, the 22-year-old also has decent ball playing abilities and has already struck one goal and assisted one in the five games he has played so far (excluding today’s returns). So the manager can also rely on him to come up with attacking returns now and then. His return should boost Rangers’ chances in the next few games, and we expect the Malian midfielder to play an instrumental role as the season progresses.
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