In our last article on him we addressed the strengths and weaknesses of his game, a fairly balanced appraisal (which naturally some took as negative) which explored what he’s good at, and what he isn’t.
Well, last night Joe Aribo expressed only the good sides of his game, and demonstrated that if deployed correctly, and in the right mood, the lad is kind of unplayable and could become one of the club’s finest assets if he develops in the correct way.
First off, some of you reading are thinking ‘knee jerk’ and ‘doing a 180’ and that we’re changing our minds.
If you look at the history of this site, we’ve always called him out on both his positives and negatives – and the we’ve been consistent with both.
And if he was to minimise the negatives, and work on the positives, Joe Aribo could be a truly marquee player for Rangers.
His goal last night was exactly what he’s capable of – incredible close control, superb composure, and a clinical finish – we’ve seen that before from him many times, and even in the Europa League, so we can’t dismiss it as ‘only a friendly’.
And the truth is he’s done it this whole pre-season – he might not dominate the ball and dictate play – he’s not a Barry Ferguson, but he does have a very unique style that we can only loosely compare to Ovie Ejaria (but way way better) and with that style creates a similarly unique set of problems a defence struggles to handle.
He’s big, strong, and his power on the ball is fairly isolated in this team – few can get the ball off him, and when he’s on one of his Yaya Toure-esque marauds forward, it’s the irresistible force against a very much movable object.
And while pre-season is only friendlies, we’ve seen him do this stuff in competitive matches.
Joe Aribo sticks out like a sore thumb, not just for his unique appearance but his style and his play – sometimes he struggles to have an impact on matches, but there’s no question he has all the tools to go very high in the game indeed, and if one of the greatest midfielders, Steven Gerrard, is going to be his manager, Aribo has nearly limitless potential.
But it’s getting the consistency and weaning out the lesser aspects of his game – the challenge is there.