Following Michael Beale’s enlightening Q&A earlier this season, one major revelation surfaced which we have already addressed, but is worth further examination.
The assistant coach described how the shape and setup is different this season, with some alterations a lot of fans might not notice, but crucially the entire structure of the formation has been built with Nigerian star Joe Aribo in mind.
Beale also pointed out that in his absence, others have stepped up to the plate, such as Ianis Hagi and recently, Scott Arfield.
But it’s the fact that, aside yesterday’s disappointing result in Edinburgh, the system built around one key player, Aribo, has instead been using others to deputise for him and to complete success.
So, Rangers aren’t built around Ryan Kent, they’re not built around Alfredo Morelos (any more) and they’re not even built around Romanian star Ianis Hagi.
It’s Aribo who is supposed to be the centrepoint of this system, and there’s no denying his pre-season and early season were mostly outstanding, with the occasional duff display when he was shunted out wide right.
And yet the Nigerian hasn’t been around for the majority of the campaign.
This demonstrates the system is flexible, and it’s not dependent on any one player to make it happen. It’s built theoretically around an alpha 10, in the shape of the former Charlton man, but it doesn’t need him to work.
Hagi has notably improved the past three matches, Arfield has stepped up, Roofe was working hard till his injury and of course Kent has been on fire.
Yesterday’s performance went south for a number of reasons, and we’ve theorised on some of them in recent articles, but the whole progress of this season cannot be undermined because of one poor day at the office.
And guys like Hagi, Arfield, Barker, Roofe and Kent have shown that despite Rangers missing arguably the most important part of Beale and Gerrard’s new system, we have the squad to compensate regardless.
Hopefully normal service resumes v Willem II and Motherwell.