Steven Davis has been a topic of debate recently on Ibrox Noise.
There have been two schools of conversation on it.
One sees him as still flawless, class, strolling through matches and every inch the consistent Davo he was last season. This side will trample over anyone saying anything else and claim, as we were subjected to, anyone saying otherwise is a tim.
The second thinks he’s not quite the level he was at, and should be used more sparingly. He is, after all, nearly 37.
Davis’ domestic stats this season are interesting. His passing average is, by his typical standards, in the Premiership, much about the same as normal – inside the top 10 at 88%. His key pass average, while not among the best in the league, is actually a marginal improvement on last season – up from 0.8 per match to 1.1.
In unsuccessful touches, he was at 121st in the SPL with 0.7 last season, which is good (lower is good), and pretty much the same this year at 117th with the same number.
The one area, and it’s quite a big one, that Davis has deteriorated a little is the actual number of passes he’s making. Last season he nailed an average of 71 passes per match, but that’s gone down by 10 to 61 this season.
And in terms of rating, his average this season is 6.79 down from 6.99 last.
So how do we interpret this in terms of performance?
He is just as consistent with passing percentage as always, but he’s not making as many attempts at passing as he used to. This can be due to quite simply not getting the ball as much as he once did, and while he’s nailing as many of the passes in percentage as he always did, he’s not distributing the ball quite with the quickness as he once did.
In short, Davo is holding onto the ball more than he did last season because he’s receiving less of it and passing a bit less quickly.
The one area stats don’t demonstrate so well is the type of misplaced pass or danger of lost ball.
Because he has had no Ryan Jack covering him, when Davis has the ball, he’s under more pressure and the losses of the ball/misplaced passes, which are actually less numerous, are in fact a bit more dangerous now with no covering DM mopping up the damage. In short, he loses the ball a bit less, but the losses are more damaging. This is a major reason Rangers’ defence has been more vulnerable.
Kamara doesn’t do that work, and Lundstram hasn’t played enough to really be judged.
That all said, aside stats, Davis’ age means he simply can’t play as much as he used to and there’s nothing wrong with that.
And we’re sure GVB will manage him correctly.