38 goals. That averages 3.8 a match or four if you want to round up, and why not. However, beyond the glorious football which has led to these strikes is the increasingly remarkable fact that not a single goal has been scored with any player’s head.
Indeed, ten matches into the season Rangers are yet to register a single headed goal, with very few attempts even made from the noggin.
Why would this be? The easy and obvious answer is Warburton’s brand of flowing football is almost entirely on the deck – low passing and movement of the ball has led to very few aerial opportunities, and, notably, a dramatic reduction in aimless crossing compared with what fans are used to witnessing.
When Tavernier, Oduwa, Wallace or McKay flank, they either cut in and drive to the box, interchange with each others’ overlapping runs or link with the central engine room of Holt, Halliday and Zelalem – this marauding turf-based play means the ball spends very little time lugged hopelessly into the atmosphere, and almost exclusively remains on foot level.
There is a very significant reason Rangers do not have a big strapping centre-forward like Kris Boyd or Jon Daly any longer – beyond the fact both were hopeless last season is the fact Rangers just do not play that way now – there is no airborne supply, because dynamic players like Kenny Miller and Martyn Waghorn cannot do much with it.
It leaves play on the floor, and crossing at a minimum. Take a look at this video from the 26 second mark:
Instead of just crossing it, Oduwa chose to cut in with skill – it won a penalty.
That is the difference. When will Rangers ever score with a header? Who cares! The fact so many are going in without one is a compliment to the low centre of gravity the ball now occupies.