Thursday, October 6, 2022

Selecting The Rangers Midfield Combination That Gerrard Should Consider First Choice

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Nikhil Vinodh
Nikhil has been an avid Chelsea fan for as long as the concept of time has existed and rumours say that he even bleeds blue. Having lived in the UK for 3 years, Nikhil is said to have an excellent understanding of the atmosphere surrounding the English game. His role model is the greatest manager of all time - Jose Mourinho.

Premiership giants Rangers currently find themselves sitting pretty at the top of the league table. With a clear gap of nine points already in hand, Steven Gerrard’s men are currently well-positioned to break Celtic’s run of title victories. Although Rangers fans wouldn’t have expected such dominance at the start of the season, the Ibrox club have proved to the fans that their squad is good enough to not just challenge Celtic till the end, but also stand apart as the dominant force in Scottish top-flight football.

Unlike Neil Lennon’s stuttering Celtic, the Gers have been displaying strong form since the start of the campaign, and there have been no signs of that slowing down either. With quality performances coming from all parts of the pitch, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rangers give their rivals a proper run for their money come the end of the season. Having achieved relative success in the Europa League as well, Gerrard and his men already have a lot to be proud of. While they’ve been free-flowing in attack, the biggest strength has undoubtedly been their defensive stability.

What Is Rangers Current Midfield Situation?

Despite all the talk of their good attacking and defensive play, one aspect that doesn’t receive the credit that it deserves is the Ibrox club’s midfield roster. The likes of Joe Aribo and Ryan Jack, in spite of missing large chunks of the campaign, have shown their class on numerous occasions. Steven Davis and Glen Kamara have both offered a degree of balance that has added some much-needed mettle to the Gers’ engine room. Scott Arfield’s attacking play has been nothing short of inspiring, while Bongani Zungu has now gradually been eased into the picture as well. Although the South African is likely to have an important part to play, he won’t be considered on this occasion due to the lack of a proper sample size.

Let’s attempt to identify the midfield combination that Rangers should consider first-choice:

Midfield Combination That Rangers Should Consider First-Choice - Aribo celebrates
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – NOVEMBER 08: Joe Aribo of Rangers celebrates after scoring his sides third goal during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Hamilton Academical at Ibrox Stadium on November 08, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Midfield Combination That Rangers Should Consider First-Choice

Ryan Jack

The Scottish ace only recently returned from an unfortunate injury but was brought back into the starting eleven almost immediately. A holding midfielder by position, Jack offers a degree of defensive security that none of the other midfielders in their roster can, and that’s exactly why he’s such an important part of this team. Although a large chunk of his contributions do take place in the defensive phase of things, it takes nothing away from his ball-playing abilities. Capable of the odd dribble, and constantly looking for the killer pass, Jack’s professionalism in the middle of the park has been instrumental to their success.

Steven Davis

Although Bongani Zungu might well make this position his own in a few weeks, as things stand, it is Steven Davis who should be preferred alongside Ryan Jack. The other option for the role is Glen Kamara, and as good as the Finnish international is, his lack of consistency has proved to be an issue in the past. Davis, on the other hand, is arguably the most consistent player in the entire Rangers roster, in that the manager can always expect composure and collectedness when the ball is at his feet. With vast amounts of footballing intelligence and experience to boast, it would be surprising to see Kamara preferred to Davis for the bigger fixtures.

Joe Aribo

While some fans will likely argue that Ianis Hagi should be operating in this role, Gerrard’s hesitance to deploy him down the middle does indicate that he prefers the Romanian as a winger. Scott Arfield, despite his good run of form of late, doesn’t possess the same degree of intensity in the final third of the pitch. As good as Aribo is at making late runs into the box and picking up dangerous spaces, it’s his passing ability that makes him stand out. Not only does he look unfazed when faced up by an opposition defender, but he has also got the energy and drive required to go and win the ball back if and when he loses it. The Nigerian, without a shadow of a doubt, should be a first-choice starter for Gerrard.

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