The Scotsman

Defending from the front, assiduous Arfield and spreading the squad: Three talking points from Rangers 4-0 Aberdeen

The Scotsman logo The Scotsman 22/11/2020 21:00:00 David Oliver

Rangers were rampant against the depleted Dons at Ibrox and it could have been more had it not been for Joe Lewis in the Aberdeen goal.

graphical user interface © The scoreboard at full time during the Scottish Premiership match between Rangers and Aberdeen at Ib...

The stats post-match said a lot for the game - where Aberdeen missed key men Lewis Ferguson through the Scotland under-21s Covid-19 isolation rules and the ineligible Ross McCrorie. Rangers had a stunning 71 percent of the possession in the match - the equivalent of holding the ball for more than an hour, with more than 700 passes made.

Goals from Kemar Roofe, Scott Arfield and a James Tavernier penalty all followed an opener from Ryan Kent and it was something special to send Rangers 11 points clear at the top of the league.

Here are three talking points to come from the game.

Defending from the front

Teams are finding this Rangers side very difficult to play against, never mind score against. So far this season only Galatasaray hae found the net at Ibrox and Rangers have conceded just seven times in all competitions, and that's with playing hat looked like an unorthodox formation in the first half.

a group of people playing football on a field © Joe Lewis' goalmouth was always the busier of the two throughout the 90 minutes. (Photo by Alan Har...

Such was the home side's dominance that Rangers looked like playing a 2-2-4-2 with James Tavernier and Borna Barisic occupying the wide attacking midfield roles and Scott Arfield and Ryan Jack dropping just in from of the centre-half pairing.

Steven Gerrard had picked an attacking line-up with both Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe - but this is a team which defends from the front and showing attack is the best form of defence.

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Scott the lot

And while on topic, Scott Arfield's versatility was shown up in abundance - like he did all over the pitch.

He might not be one of Steven Gerrard's every-week-picks but he is one of those who epitomises the relentless nature of this Rangers team - and he was sitting deep in the first half even behind Ryan Jack picking the play from the defenders, yet in the second he was linking the play in attack with Morelos and Jermain Defoe and pitched in with a goal of his own.

a man in a blue uniform throwing a ball © Scott Arfield perfomed in a number of roles for Rangers (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Having a reliable multi-tool like Arfield is a big asset to Rangers and he defies the old saying about being a Jack of all trades, because at key times he's a master in midfield for Rangers.

© Steven Gerrard has much strength in depth in his squad (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)

Sharing the load

Derek McInnes must have looked with envy at Steven Gerrard's squad options with the difficult hand the Aberdeen manager had been dealt with injuries and then two of his main men unavailable and Rangers having a plethora of options to spread minutes around the Sunday lunchtime game.

The difference in performance was negligible for the home side no matter who was on the park, as has been a trait all season, but without Lewis Ferguson and Ross McCrorie Aberdeen looked much worse off as a result.

Only Ryan Hedges and Joe Lewis performed near their capabilities for the visitors who had to be at their best to compete with the league leaders on current form and they're capable of so much more when their Scotland under-21s are eligible for a return.

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© But Derek McInnes' side struggled to compete without some key figures (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS G...
22. marraskuuta 2020 23:00:00 Categories: The Scotsman

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