We at Ibrox Noise have been getting a torrent of criticism from Rangers fans over our 6 rating of Fashion Sakala, after his performance at Ibrox was lauded by almost everyone. Apart from us.
And we stand by that, just like we stood by our assertion Scotty Arfield should have started, something the majority objected to, but were crying for after 20 minutes.
We stick by what we believe here on Ibrox Noise, and we’re not just going to change our mind because we’re being abused for it.
And we’re going to explain why Sakala was not the MOTM but had far from a rubbish match.
See, some media outlets and most fans reckon he was the MOTM, which just goes to show how standards have dropped among fans who once upon a time expected Brian Laudrup on the wing or even Nacho Novo back in the day, where now a man lambasted by supporters every other week for absolutely chronic performances is suddenly lauded for an Old Firm.
So let’s look at it objectively.
Sakala was the counterpart to Ryan Kent on the wings, so let’s have a look at their numbers on the day:
Touches: Kent 43, Sakala 39. Kent fractionally more involved.
Passing accuracy: Kent 90%, Sakala 80%. Kent the clear leader.
Shots: Kent, 3, and 3 on target. Sakala, 4, 0 on target.
Assists: Kent, none, Sakala one.
Goals: Kent, one, Sakala, none.
Penalties won: Kent, none, Sakala, one.
Dispossessed: Kent 2, Sakala, 2.
Offside: Kent, none, Sakala two.
Dribbles: Kent 2, Sakala 3.
Passes: Kent, 22, Sakala, 15
Long Balls: Kent, 3 (3 accurate), Sakala none.
Overall, Sakala had two game-defining moments while Kent had one. But the game contribution stats strongly favour Kent, particularly positive ones like shots and long balls. Sakala led for negative stats like offsides.
There isn’t a single attacking stat, aside dribbling, in which Sakala beats Kent. His two big contributions were the penalty and the assist, and those are big deals, but no one complained about our low 4 score for Tavernier who also scored the penalty brilliantly. He was rotten aside this.
There is something odd going on with Sakala among fans – he lacks composure, awareness, intelligence, and generally he’s very, very wasteful with almost everything he does, and yet Rangers supporters either overly love or overly hate him at any given moment.
Sometimes he gains a tonne of favour by having a big moment or two in a match, other times, most times indeed, he doesn’t have those moments and is derided as terrible.
But Kent? He’s just smeared no matter what he does, simply because he isn’t seen running as wildly as Sakala, even though what he does is more considered and infinitely more composed. He does a tonne of work off the ball and raises the games of those around him.
Sakala seems to be the new Marmite for our supporters – he’s either excessively loved at any given moment or absolutely slaughtered.
We’re keeping out of that, and we’ll continue to rate players based on the facts, and what we see as well – mixing them both.
If Sakala has a clear blinder, and in the past, he has, he’ll be rated for it. We’ve happily given him high scores when he produced quality performances.
As for Kent? He seems to have permanently lost his goodwill among fans, the same ones who were chanting his song at Ibrox on Monday for about 10 minutes.
And no matter how well he plays, he is not going to be recognised for it. Even the stats in this article will just be rejected out of hand.
It’s a sad state of affairs in a sense, that fans aren’t willing to see Kent’s input, but laud massively Sakala because he does work hard.
It’s selective support at times.