Rangers have started this season with greater consistency than the last. Indeed, in twelve games they have registered 10 wins and 2 draws. With the international break looming, Gerrard must look for an emptying of the tank against Celtic in the first Old Firm clash of the season.
Despite ten new summer signings, Rangers’ strongest starting XI appears to closely resemble that of last year but with the key additions of Joe Aribo and Sheyi Ojo. Gerrard talked about “increasing numbers” and as a consequence, the likes of Daniel Candeias left the club with first-team opportunities about to be limited.
Gerrard managed to get the upper hand at Ibrox last season and will once again look to play with the same aggression, pace and intensity but this season with an added quality.
Allan McGregor is Rangers’ undisputed number one, with his performance in the first leg against Legia Warsaw highlighting his importance to the team, as he received an 8/10 from The Daily Express.
Rangers’ first choice defence, in bigger games, appears to be the one that started against both Midtjylland and Legia Warsaw. Jon Flanagan getting the nod at left-back scoring 7/10 v Legia Warsaw in the first leg, although it may be a closer call given Borna Barisic’s performance against St Mirren. The Croatian’s winning free-kick earning plenty of plaudits and a 7/10 from Rangers News UK. Indeed, captain James Tavernier will surely continue at right-back, with Nikola Katic and Connor Goldson possibly edging out Filip Helander due to their previous Old Firm experience, having featured against Celtic four and two times respectively.
Steven Davis, Ryan Jack and Joe Aribo could take up the deeper midfield positions with Aribo given the license to push forward into the left-hand channel to make up for Flanagan’s lack of contributions (0 assists in five games so far this season). Aribo adds goals to the Rangers midfield with four goals in 11 games so far.
In a similar vein, Sheyi Ojo should get the nod over Jordan Jones on the left-hand side of the attack. Four goals and three assists in nine appearances speaks volumes. Indeed, Jones, who is valued at £675k (by Transfermarkt), has only managed to produce two assists in nine performances this season.
Arfield has man of the match experience against Celtic and this could be key in Rangers stopping Celtic play and orchestrating attacks from the inside right channel.
The enigmatic Alfredo Morelos will start up front for Rangers and his hold-up play will be essential to keeping them in the attacking third. With 10 goals and three assists in 11 games so far this season, few would back against him breaking his duck this weekend as he’s due a goal against Celtic.
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