Saturday, 20 April 2019

Steven Gerrard now has a massive problem

As we alluded to in our last entry, Rangers have been, frankly, a different beast over the past few matches. While it’s not vintage 9IAR stuff of course, it’s a notable improvement on the miserable March Steven Gerrard’s men suffered following not a single win recorded.

But then the low point of the entire season seems to have given Rangers a new lease of life, changed the system, and provided impetus, gumption, and a totally new mentality: Alfredo Morelos’ red card.

There is absolutely, unequivocally no doubt that Rangers, bizarrely, have benefited from the Colombian’s absence, from the loss of his baggage and red cards, and the emergence of the hyper-clinical Jermain Defoe in the past three outings has blessed a completely new approach to matches.

Gone is the wasteful passing in midfield which goes nowhere, gone is the Morelos circus up top and his wasteful and selfish use of the ball in the box – in its place a more intelligent Rangers, using the ball clinically, not passing it to death – tackling more sharply and harassing opponents rather than standing off them and waiting for something to happen.

When Jon Flanagan’s excellent midfield tackle led, ultimately, to Defoe’s opener at Tynecastle, it was a goal which just didn’t happen with Morelos in the team.

Defenders weren’t defending in midfield and stealing the ball, midfielders weren’t using the ball sharp and playing in strikers quick, and Morelos given that amount of time through on goal would 70% of the time have wildly wasted that chance. There wasn’t a single second we feared Defoe wouldn’t score.

And that difference, that edge, that more ruthless Rangers of the past three matches, in Morelos’ absence, is a refreshing change. Defoe has been excellent, pure and simple – he’s a predator, and by and large when he shoots he scores. He is one of the most clinical and natural finishers we’ve had at Ibrox in a long, long time, and Rangers benefit hugely from this killer edge.

The question now, clearly, is when Morelos returns from suspension and becomes available again, should Gerrard select him?

From Ibrox Noise, 100%, absolutely not, and as far as we are concerned, Morelos’ time at Ibrox is over. If Stevie brings him straight back in, then he risks angering a lot of people.

Do you agree?

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