If there’s one decision Steven Gerrard made over the weekend that puzzled us, and continues to, it’s the curious way he sets Joe Aribo up.
Against Benfica Aribo was wide right, in a slot that’s never seen the best of him. Against Hamilton he was left midfield.
And while he bagged a pair on Sunday, we do wonder what the manager’s thinking with the big Nigerian actually is.
If we look at Aribo’s heatmap v Hamilton, he ended up being a pseudo left winger, give or take, and that’s fair enough – Rangers decimated the Accies and it barely mattered where anyone played in the end.
But against Benfica his involvement on that right wing was pretty modest and only Allan McGregor touched the ball less.
We’re absolutely not telling our manager how to do his job, but we continue to be intrigued by the Aribo deployment.
The lad has talent, and Michael Beale’s comments about building the team around Aribo don’t seem to be entirely accurate any more – have the plans changed and the team adapted so well without him that the management isn’t able to fit him in adequately now?
Maybe – we’ll look at the formation in a separate piece, but Aribo, while showing glimpses of his talent, could probably offer far more if he was in the right position more regularly.
And in his case that will always be the 10 slot either behind the striker or at the apex of midfield.
For now though, he’ll just do what Stevie tells him!