We were genuinely shocked to see an article this morning slaughtering Scott Arfield as ‘letting Steven Gerrard down’ and suggesting he’ll be dropped for the next one.
It was a sponsored article, in truth, promoting a stats site, and the author was determined to find negative stats and put a spin on them to indicate how ‘rotten’ he was.
On the lad’s 33rd birthday, this really was misguided, and plain wrong.
So at Ibrox Noise we’re going to right that wrong and demonstrate how great he was yesterday, and how his presence made all the difference in Rangers’ vastly superior performance.
For a start, he rarely wasted a pass – 88% passing rate for a mobile mid constantly linking up is a stunning return and shows how few times he lost the ball.
The article also claimed he won few duels and few aerials, when that has never been Arfield’s key strength anyway.
Furthermore, the claim was made that he was weak defensively, when in fact he made the joint top number of interceptions in a Rangers shirt, and worked hard at closing down, committing a few fouls.
He was also apparently rotten as an attacking force, despite one shot and one dribble, and not being dispossessed once in the whole 90. He didn’t waste the ball a single time.
Last but not least he was whined at for just a 50% long ball accuracy, when many in the side were way worse and only a few were better.
But the key stat here is not the numbers, it’s the intangible stat of ‘impact’.
Scott Arfield’s presence clearly lifted everyone on that pitch – even those who didn’t have such good games still looked more energised by Arfield and players who have been off the pace (Davis, Kamara) looked 10x better for his movement, his leadership, and his sheer aura.
We’re not saying Arfield is the world’s best player, but his importance to Rangers cannot be understated, and sites using stats to portray him as dreadful really aren’t showing the true picture.
No Surrender Scotty, and Happy Birthday.