Back on footballing matters, and Ibrox Noise has been hearing a lot, and we mean a LOT, of calls from our readers for the head of Ryan Kent.
Poor Ryan has been the fall guy for a lot of supporters, and while it’s true his current form ‘visually’ isn’t the lively and electric stuff of earlier in the season, is his contribution really as bad as fans are making out?
Let’s have a look at his stats v Kilmarnock (compared with earlier in the season when he hit form) and see if the quality was below what we expect.
Passing average v Killie: 78%
V Aberdeen (4-0 22nd November) – 91%
Dribbles: 2 v Aberdeen, 1 v Killie
Shots: 3 v Killie, all on target, 3 v Dons, 2 on target.
Key passes: 3 v Aberdeen, 1 v Killie
Fouled: 3 times v Killie, 0 v Aberdeen
Goals/assists: 1 goal and 1 assist v Aberdeen, 0 v Killie.
Now we look at the goals and assists pattern for the season:
Up till new year: 5 goals, 6 assists.
2021: 1 goal and 2 assists.
Overall the numbers, while not dramatic, show that his subtle contribution in games is much the same, but his big moments have completely faded.
But the one key moment actually reveals Kent isn’t working quite as hard as he did.
His heat map, as you can see, for Killie (above), demonstrates he spent the bulk of his time on the left. Same formation as Aberdeen.
But for Aberdeen (above), he was roaming all over the pitch evenly, picking up the ball on both flanks and in midfield.
And this shows that as time has worn on he’s got less mobile and he’s remaining in single areas more. To show this isn’t a fluke, his heatmap v Hamilton (below) was the same, this time mostly hanging around outside the box.
Kent’s contribution isn’t bad, and he’s not become a poor player overnight, but forensic analysis shows that while he’s still working, it’s not as hard as before, and he lacks confidence right now to do the dynamic bold movement he was carrying out earlier in the season.
Most of his shots miss the target, and just the one goal in 2021, and even more tellingly since November, shows how off the boil he is in that sense.
However, he is still shooting, still trying, and he hasn’t given up.
Is he worth dropping?
Kent on form is utterly electric, we’ve seen how good. But equally, Stevie wouldn’t drop Tavernier despite fans demanding it and he’s been ludicrously good this season (till recently).
So Gerrard believes in trusting his players to come good when he really needs it. Think Braga last season when Kent was a little off form – that winning goal repaid the transfer fee alone and repaid his manager’s trust.
So while there’s no harm in a little competition for him, Kent really isn’t as bad as you (probably want him to be).
He just needs a little spark and a little confidence.