Sunday, 2 August 2020

Has Stevie revealed his SPL 'hand'?



As we discussed earlier, Scott Arfield appears to have become a bench player now, and while we can debate that one plenty, there’s a wider implication of it all:

Steven Gerrard, 100%, appears to have settled on his final choice first XI, and he’s been building up to this for two years.

As we alluded to in pre-season, the only two slots in contention were Connor Goldson’s defensive partner, and Alfredo Morelos’ position up front.

Well, the attacking slot is just waiting to be replaced, and it is clear from yesterday’s display that new signing Leon Balogun has been an instant hit partnering Goldson, and while defence was pretty untested, it looked like the most convincing pair we’ve had in a while.

Which leaves us with a pretty much confirmed first XI looking something like this:

Allan McGregor in goal, a back four of James Tavernier, Connor Goldson, Leon Balogun and Borna Barisic, a midfield of Glen Kamara sitting, with Ryan Jack and Joe Aribo ahead, while Ryan Kent and Ianis Hagi work the flanks, sandwiching Rangers’ number 9, who for now is still our Colombian forward.

Injuries and suspensions aside, that’s the team Steven Gerrard views as Rangers’ final product, saving for any new additions.

We know Bongani Zungu is incoming imminently, which may be a replacement in midfield for Glen Kamara for Ryan Jack to withdraw a little, but aside that, Gerrard has pretty much ironed out all the creases in his XI and he seems fairly content with what he’s built, give or take.

The bench too is strong, and has a wealth of good options, but it’s that XI which hasn’t conceded a goal since the immaterial Hamilton friendly weeks ago which seems close to Gerrard’s final image.

It’s now whether it’s good enough to take the fight to Celtic.

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